March DADness

The call came on Wednesday; two tickets are available to the NCAA Sweet 16 — the Midwest Regionals in St. Louis. Two games on Friday and the championship game on Sunday. My immediate reaction was: The tickets are too expensive, work is crazy, I only have one day to make plans, I’d have to find a hotel, and St. Louis is a five hour drive. But then I thought of my dad. What if we could spend a couple of days hanging out together, away from the office, away from the wives (sorry honey), and away from the routine? Next thing you know, Dad and I are inside the Edward Jones Arena watching some of the greatest basketball talent in …

Thoughts From Mt. Crumpit

One day I awoke feeling as though I was high atop Mount Crumpit. I stared down from my cave with a sour, Grinchy frown. My shoes tightened around my toes as I stood in the snow hating what I saw below; my daughters are growing up too fast Megan and Emily haven’t quite reached ten, yet they’re turning into young ladies before my eyes. The very thought of this made me turn green. My eyes started to yellow, my pupils turned red. I growled, my new grinch fingers nervously drumming, “I must stop this whole thing! I must stop them from growing, but how?” Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny have all been exposed. After only a few …

Under Construction

If I could address a room full of recent high school or college graduates, I would decorate the stage like a construction site. It would be lined with orange cones and those big barrels with blinking lights on top. Behind me there would be a huge yellow sign that reads “UNDER CONSTRUCTION.” Wearing a hard hat and one of those fluorescent green road crew vests, I would approach the podium and tell kids what no one ever told me: that it’s okay that you’re not sure what your story is going to look like. It’s not written yet. You are under construction. We’re all drawing our lives with a pencil without the benefit of an eraser. The results aren’t always …

Smudges

The truest of statements appears in a fiction book. In The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom writes: All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Five words that absolutely stunned me; all parents damage their children. As a father, my first reaction was to pound the table and confidently declare, “Never! Never would I damage my daughters!” But then I read on: Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair. Wow. If that doesn’t challenge parents I don’t know what will. It’s not fair, but the situation we’re born into goes a long way to determining how hard …

Laughter-soaked Walls

Steve Johnson, one of the truly great people in my life, once wrote on his Facebook that years of laughter have soaked the walls of his home. What a beautiful sentiment. This Thanksgiving season I’m thinking about all the fun and the love that goes on at our house and I’m thanking God for it. I imagine what it must sound like from just outside our front door. The priceless girly-giggles when the tickle monster rears his goofy head. The ear-piercing screams and the stomping of little feet as Emily and Megan dance to the blaring sounds of Hannah Montana; two precious girls enjoying their innocent childhoods. Their worlds are filled with fairy tales, butterflies, and dollhouses — just as …