This is love, yo (a Poem for my kids – but not yet)

18 07 2017

dad-comforts-son

I recently posted this to twitter and reposting it in an easier-to-read format.

I wrote this about being a dad to two teenagers. Maybe you’ll recognize something familiar.

This is love, yo

Me on the chair

Reading a book

With you at the water’s edge

It’s ok

Pretend

I am a stranger

Yes, you may be too old for this

Me, too

But this is how it has to be for now

One and three quarters eyes on the page

A quarter on the base of your feet

The only thing I can see in the bottom periphery

As I try to maintain attention

On the biography I am reading

Because this is love, yo

And certain to the touch

Is the odd teenage reaction

Of bending your neck so I may receive the back of your head

Sweaty, matted hair

As a surrogate hug to say good night

I will continue to comment

“Is that all I get?
Because this is love, yo

Encapsulated by a love that is beyond romance

As if it existed before you were born

Before I was born

When the universe was born

Streaming through our bloodstreams

Like quarks and stardust

Crossing paths again

For the first time

In 7 billion years

Because this is love, yo

That maybe only a parent can understand

Though understanding is a falsehood

Does an addict understand the pull of the drug?

Does a mother goose understand the urge to attack an innocent runner

Passing by knowing that

Time is finite?

This is love, yo

And when I pull up that phone for a photo

For the thousandth time

I know the rolling eyes

And guttural objections

Are only a way of expressing what is a disturbance in your day

And painstakingly

Here you are

Because I had to only endure a slight glance at a camera with a flash

That my mom never adjusted as I grew taller

For a handful of photos that all ended at my bottom lip

And now I can’t help but chronicle every glimpse in passing

Though a smile from you in just one of them

May cut down on my need

This is love, yo

And when the trying turns to hope

And the talking turns to prayer

And the seeing turns to memory

All we have is what we had

And all we had is what we were

To each other

Me to you

You to me

Us to each other

Because this is love, yo





Don’t Come In

28 10 2015
When else am I going to be able to use an image like this?

When else am I going to be able to use an image like this? It’s a mother, not a father, but we do have the same hair.

I feel like the fact that there are technical difficulties right now as I sit here with my boy watching the World Series is a higher authority telling me to not let myself off the hook for writing tonight. So here it goes.

Tonight, I wanted to write about a text that I got from my daughter yesterday after dinner.

She plays field hockey, which just ended today, and on a weekly basis, a different parent sponsors a “pasta party” where the girls all gather to celebrate field hockey, friendship and homework procrastination.

I usually pull up with the other parents and walk to whatever opening I can find – a garage door, a front door, the back yard – and look for my daughter and her ponytail amidst a sea of other middle school girls with ponytails.

Yesterday, I was given strict notice by my daughter that she would text me when she needs to get picked up, rather than the agreed upon time of 7:30 unless I hear otherwise. I relented since it was the final party and they were celebrating her coach, who was very, very good.

We started our text exchange at 7:35 PM:

Her: “can u pick me up?”

Me: “On my way !”

Her: “k…..tell me when your outside. dont come in” (lack of punctuation excused)

Me: “Here”

Her: “don’t come in”

I’m not sure if you got it but she really, really did not want me to come in. I get it but I had to ask her why? She told me what I already knew – she didn’t want to me to “embarrass” her. (Who? Me?) I get it.

The irony was not lost on me that she and I are on different ends of the spectrum. She is defining herself, setting boundaries as any good teenager should and deciding who gets past the velvet rope and who stays behind. I, on the other hand, am finally taking the step to define myself as I am but saying “everyone come in and see because this is how I roll.” It’s an age thing and for us to take each other’s approach would be more like “Freaky Friday”.

It’s hard as a parent to see your kids silo off where, when and how they want you in their lives. It’s growth and it’s expected. It’s healthy but it’s hard. For me, I have been framing it in a different light, though. It seems that this is another force out of my control that is telling me that I have to think about myself and my needs more, too. It’s too easy for me to distract myself from my insecurities by relying on my role as a father. Being a dad is difficult but it’s also an easy distraction from facing who I really am sometimes. Believe it or not, it’s easier to get all the kids’ games, practices and rehearsals on a calendar than put it aside and force myself to write or anything else that I need to do to move the other parts of me forward.

I am not sure if this makes sense or not. I truly am figuring this all out in real-time, day by day, sometimes minute by minute. I miss those moments of parenting that escape as kids grow up. I am no less close to them, perhaps closer. It’s just the normal independence that all parents hope to see comes with the price of loosing both time with them and those long-lost parts of you that may have existed before they did. Maybe long down the road, we will merge again and when I’m visiting my kids in college, I’ll get that text that tells me where their apartment is followed by “come in.”

Until next time,

Marc





Oh Captain, My Captain!

20 01 2015

dps-2

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.” – Whitman

This is my favorite quote recited in Dead Poet’s Society. The way some women describe that they are addicted to Romcoms is the same way I am addicted to movies about guys who wear their passion on their sleeves, don’t give a crap about what people think and follow their heart – Dead Poet’s Society, Moonrise Kingdom, The Fighter, hell, even Tootsie.

My kids are close to 14 and 12 and are at the perfect age for me to introduce them to some of the movies that really made an impression on me. I try to be careful because these “old” movies take a little persuading but as I build up my credibility, they inherently know they might like them and give me less of a hassle.

Lately, we have been on a Robin Williams kick so this fits right in. I also like to do my Mike Brady thing and talk about the “message” or “lesson” afterward, which lasts about 90 seconds before they are back on their iPhones. But, hey, 90-120 iPhone free minutes watching a movie together – I’ll take it.

The best comedians are poets. Poets are people who, when done beautifully, have imaginative and powerful ways of expression and conveying a message. The poem and the comedy set both are the tip of the iceberg. They serve simply as the part you witness, see and experience. Underneath it all, it is darker and murkier and has taken time to craft and produce what most only get to see from the surface.

The DVD (from the library, of course) of Dead Poet’s Society was sitting on my counter for about a week. Maybe it was a subliminal message to “Carpe Diem” but I finally decided to sign up for a boxing lesson this morning. Coincidence? Maybe. I am not a fighter as anyone who knows me can attest to. I am not athletic either and have found moderate success in sticking only to those pursuits where no one has to depend on me in a team environment – running, swimming, piano. (Yes, piano playing does make me sweat sometimes so I’m counting it in as this is my blog.)

That being said, I was always intrigued by boxing – the strategy and sheer resilience that it takes to physically and mentally keep yourself going. I hear it’s an amazing workout, too, so I figure it can’t hurt.

More than anything, I want my kids to know that it is ok to keep growing and learning. It is ok to not have it all figured it out. It is ok to decide that you want something different or find your own path, even later than others may have. It is ok to seize the day.

Until next time,

Marc








%d bloggers like this: