If The Cape Fits…

This weekend we celebrate fathers and I get to share the story of Superman. My wife’s dad was killed in a car accident when she was just six years old. Russ left behind a wife and four kids including Polly. Her only real memory of her father is of him rubbing her back in front of the living room fireplace. “I can still feel it today,” she says with a smile. Her mother eventually remarried. Tim became Polly’s stepdad. A few short years later, the unthinkable happened…her mother died of breast cancer. Four kids; both parents lost. Tim was all they had. Polly couldn’t have known it at the time, but her life was at a crossroads. Her future in …

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 …