One of the great things about fatherhood is how my son often reminds me of the vast number of things we take for granted each day, what we look at as “old hat.”
My wife was giving our little guy a bath in the sink last night, something that he always seems to enjoy. The latest marvel at bath time, though, is how intrigued he is by running water.
As he sat there in the water, Meg took his small cup and poured the water down from above, and into his open little hands. The water poured over and through his moving little fingers, as his face and eyes lit up with an expression that can only be described as awestruck.
He’s teaching me a lot of things about the world,this little guy, many of which have been in front of me all my life. I just forget how to open my eyes to them.
Thanks to him, though, I get to see the world through a whole new set of eyes and realize just how wondrous these “every day things” as we look at them, can be.
I have to give credit where credit is due.
If you noticed the cool “dorky daddy” graphic at the top of the blog in the past month, that comes courtesy of a really talented artist and friend of mine named Tom.
Tom is a terrific illustrator and even better friend whom I’ve known for many years.
He was kind enough to offer to create an illustration for the blog, and I’m very very grateful to have it proudly greeting readers.
Like all good things, vacation too, must eventually come to an end.
I’ve had the pleasure of being on vacation for a little over a week from the day job, and I’ve been loving it. From that extra time to run an errand or two at all the places that are normally closed before I go into or get out of work each day, to working on long-dormant house projects, and of course, spending some extra time with the family, it has been wonderful.
It’s sort of become a bit of an unofficial tradition for me while on vacation not to shave unless I absolutely have to. Not for any particular reason, mind you. I’m not fond of having facial hair or anything. It’s just that it acts as a small reminder that I don’t HAVE to shave, that I can be scruffy without the worried need of having to cut off the whiskers before showing up to work.
I refer to it as my “beard of defiance.”
Naturally, that makes “the shaving” at the end of vacation a symbolic return to routine.
It was a good run, vacation and I.
I worked on this blog, I did some writing on other projects that I’ll eventually be shamelessly plugging on here, I’m sure. Between my wife and myself, we started Phase One of our long overdue bathroom renovation, which included seven coats of white paint to cover up the Crayola Brown (or Poop Brown) color that the previous owners slathered over the fine woodwork of the bathroom. We did some cleaning, some organizing, sorting through outfits the baby has outgrown these past few months (a more emotional process for us than I would have thought at first).
Best of all, though, I got to spend those times during the day laughing with my little boy, helping my wife around the house, or just plain kicking back, watching a classic film, or working on some creative projects that have been out of reach with the everyday workload. It’s been nice, and I will be sad to see it leave my life on such a full-time basis.
However, if vacation does anything, it generates a sense of rejuvenation, reminding us of what is important in our lives, why we do what we do, and what our goals ultimately are.
Yes, I’ll return to work today and I will do my best to make it a bright, clean slate. To not let the Negative Nellies that make it their routine to criticize and pick everything apart get to me, to be a little nicer whether they deserve it or not, to treat every day with a little more sunny of an outlook, and remember that just like vacation, everything in life is temporary and to enjoy every moment of it while we can, whether it be a week at a time, an evening after work at a time, or those few moments in between.
Because, while we may shave off the whiskers of the vacation beard, you know sooner or later they will be back. 🙂
For some, it’s about making sure they’re at the right party, with the right person, and the right drink in their hand.
For others, it’s a time to reflect on the past and look to a future yet to be written.
These past few years, my wife and I have developed our own New Year’s Eve tradition, which doesn’t include a ball drop, but does include a couple of timeless boozehounds solving a murder or two.
A few years ago we unknowingly began what has become this New Year’s Eve tradition of ordering (yes, we know how unhealthy it is for us) Chinese food and watching a movie from “The Thin Man” series.
For the uninitiated, “The Thin Man” was a series of films starring the great on-screen duo of William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles, a married couple with sharp tongues, sharp wits, and a love of alcohol that they often put to use as they solved crimes across 1940s American night life.
The second film even takes place on New Year’s Eve, with a brilliant performance by a young James Stewart in a supporting role. Chinese restaurants also play a role in that film, which added the food portion of our tradition and has carried over ever since.
This year, we’re on film #4, “Shadow of the Thin Man” from 1941.
These films encompass so much of what we love about that era – the style, the architecture, the atmosphere. The time when a man wore his suit and hat even to travel to the market, and when a vacation was just a train ride away.
As the film series went on, Nick and Nora became parents and their son, Nicky Jr, would begin going along with his parents on their adventures. So, it’s even more appropriate that as our tradition has carried on each year, our own family has grown along with the Charles’.
Our little guy enjoyed some oatmeal and apples before going to bed (and falling asleep relatively quickly for a change) and mommy and daddy enjoyed ringing in the New Year with classic Hollywood at its finest.
It may not sound too exciting to some, but for us, it’s like re-visiting old, classy friends as we leave another year in the books and begin writing our own adventure for the next.
Happy New Year to you all. Whatever your traditions, resolutions, whatever, enjoy them.