Silence is a particularly difficult ask of an 8-year-old boy.
Until I had children, I didn’t understand Mass as an athletic event. Before we even get to the homily, a point when many Mass-goers get to sit and relax, I have perspiration on my upper lip and forehead. My arm muscles burn from balancing an ever-curious baby on my hip and wrangling a 3-year-old who would like very much to escape the pew and race down the aisle to the altar. While these two Littles keep me and my husband hopping, it’s our 8-year-old whose constant pursuit of distraction makes me feel like I’ve run a marathon by the time the recessional hymn begins.
What does ‘until death do us part’ mean for those left behind?
After 75 years of inimitable companionship—not to mention inspiration and children—my wife Kay said, “Enough,” (though not aloud) and started tending to last things. With her typical low-key demeanor—you know, that “thy-will-be-done” reticence common to certain women—she responded to the final summons from the author of life in a manner suggesting she was privy to the script. This was a couple of long years ago.
Sometimes I don’t get my son, with his rough-and-tumble play and love of wrestling with his dad.
Thwack. The kickball ricochets off the front of our house and the arguing begins. “Safe!” yells Henry. “Run to second!” yells Thomas. “I got you out!” yells Nate. “You’re all cheaters!” yells my son. Each declaration ratchets up to earsplitting levels. I watch from the window as they abandon the kickball and start to circle each other like lions weeding out the weak. By the time I finally throw open the door to intervene their passions are running so high and their fits of opinion are so strong only dogs can understand their shrieks.
Some things you can’t find at Bed Bath & Beyond.
I basically lived at Bed Bath & Beyond in the weeks before moving to college. From memo boards to mini fridges, shower caddies to twin XL sheets, the home goods giant had everything I could possibly need—or at least everything my school’s residential life office told me I needed. Most of it turned out to be helpful at one point or another. (The pink toolbox was a lifesaver on move-out day.) But the items I treasured most in my dorm room were not made of colorful plastic. Instead they pointed me towards something even more important than a college degree: my faith life.
Time never stops moving, so take a few minutes to celebrate the things that make life feel full.
I don’t know how old I was when I was first introduced to Henry David Thoreau’s admonition “to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life,” but it must have been fairly young because it stuck to me in the rudimentary way of childhood when you accept fully the premise of a thing, when you swallow it down wholesale and it becomes you.
Taking vacation is a vital part of our spiritual life.
I should take them to Utah.
Like all of my crazy ideas, this one popped into my head while I took my morning shower. As a divorced dad who lives six hours away from his kids, I’m constantly looking for new and creative ways to be in their lives.
A huge fan of the West, I wanted to see my kids’ faces when they first saw the rolling plains of Kansas, the towering Rocky Mountains, and the strange rock formations jutting out from the desert floor near Moab. Seeing their faces would be worth whatever meltdowns we might face on a 20-hour drive.
I’ve started praying to God father to Father, instead of child to Father.
Although my wife isn’t sure a man can be a feminist, I’m a male feminist. I got to be this way both through conviction and self-defense—I live with three women (the other two are ages 9 and 5). As a male feminist I’m aware that God the Father is not male. Or female. Maybe both.
God isn’t a “Wait until your father gets home…” dad, but rather unconditional love.
Setting the table is about more than etiquette and proper manners.
As Agnes Meehan’s first granddaughter, I had the distinct honor of being selected to help her prepare for her annual Christmas Eve party when I was about 8 years old.
When my 2-year-old grabbed my chin to pull my eyes up from my phone yelling, “Put down your phone!” I knew I had reached rock bottom.
In the early ’80s, when home computers were first widely available, my family plugged in early. My dad took a corner in the large room my brothers shared and made an office where we all took turns playing 2-bit graphic games or writing code in DOS that translated into a noisily printed image on our dot matrix printer. After that it was Atari, then Nintendo NES, and annual computer upgrades as we shot from the floppy disc era into the present era of all-consuming internet access and digital cloud storage. I came of age in a simpler time but not one without a reliance on technology.