A Child Finds her Stuffed Animal

There was an absolutely stunning event that occurred at our home this past week.

Brave daddies and mommies are aware of the tragic turn of events during our trip to Washington D.C. last spring. The Oppressed was distraught and heartbroken when she wasn’t able to find Quackers. Quackers is one of her animals and she was selected to accompany us on our journey. She was inexplicably missing when we returned home and began to unpack and put away clothes and souvenirs.

There was trouble at the house that week and The Oppressed made certain that everyone was aware of it. She went to work, snapping a picture of Sir Duck-sa-Lot from a distance. Quackers is smaller, so a picture of a duck that looks smaller than he really is would help everyone in their job to recover the lost, scared, (stuffed) hungry duck.

(Ahem) “Quackers”

Days turned to weeks. Weeks turned to months. Vigils we’re held. Sad, agonizing thoughts of an abandoned duck being found alone in a checked-out hotel room filled the child’s mind. What would happen to him? If housekeeping needed to get our room ready for new guests, what would become of the little, helpless (stuffed) duck?

One recent afternoon, Lovie and I were en route to her college orientation. I was mentally preparing her and myself for the afternoon ahead. We were discussing the events that lay ahead of us when my cell phone rang. But I may be getting ahead of myself. Here’s The Oppressed.

The Oppressed

My parents told me that I had to clean my room. So, I got to work, but when the time came to clean the drawers of my vanity. I had to clean the last door which I hadn’t opened in months. I opened it and was so overjoyed. A small yellow fluffy “something” was sitting there. I sat there in shock. I cried tears of happiness. It was quackers! I adamantly grabbed quackers and hugged him and got Sir Duck-Sa-Lot and put them on my bed. I ran and called Dad.

“QUACKERS!” I said.

“What?” Dad asked.

“I found him!”

“Really?” dad said.

“Yes,” I said. I was so over-overjoyed. I had done it. I found quackers!

Back to Dad

So, there you have it, Brave Daddies and Brave Mommies. Another stuffed lovie has made it back home safe and sound. Of course, he was always safe in my daughter’s room. She just needed to (ahem) pick up a few things and square away a few more things. Let this be a lesson for your children, keepers and caretakers of little stuffed animals big and small. Take care of your things and keep things organized, and you will be able to easily find them.

Together again

Check out “Gray Rabbit’s Odd One Out” for a good book to teach your children about organization and finding lost things.

When Your Child Loses a Stuffed Animal

We’re still trying to get back into the swing of things after our Washington D.C. trip. Laundry and dishes have piled back up. The children have moved on from days of walking and sightseeing to days of reading, writing and ‘rithmetic. I’ve moved back to my regimens of reading and writing.

Eight people returning from vacation means a lot of laundry. Lovie and The Oppressed are doing everything they can to stay on top of things and attend to the mountains upon mountains of dirty clothes.

The children brought their luggage and souvenirs back to their respective rooms and all of us, including me, are still going through what we brought home with us and making sure it’s in their proper places. This brings me to the crisis at hand. You see, The Oppressed is the very proud owner of two stuffed ducks, Sir Ducks-a-Lot and Quackers.

Missing Duck

Well, as she brought her stuff back to her room and got re-adjusted with her life at home and school, my youngest daughter noticed that one of the ducks was missing. The one that was missing just so happened to be the smallest of the two.

Sir Duck-sa-Lot

This bothered The Oppressed, who was immediately concerned for Quackers’ welfare. I explained to her that things would be alright. We’ll find Quackers. This is also an excellent opportunity to square things away in her room. I told her I was certain that Quackers would turn up as we put things away and tidied up her bedroom.


She was upset with me. I didn’t understand the gravity of the situation. I certainly didn’t understand what needed to be done. Time was of the essence, and we can’t waste it moving things around her bedroom (like she was supposed to do before Quackers went missing, anyway).

The Oppressed immediately went around the house asking all siblings if anyone has seen Quackers. Alas, no one has seen her precious duck. I wish to point out that Quackers is one of the newest additions to the bedroom of The Oppressed, so not only is Quackers new and not totally acclimated with the room or the rest of the house, Quackers is also small and scared, as mentioned before.

The “Missing” Poster

The Oppressed wasted no time in getting to work, not on picking up her room, of course, but in getting to work. She immediately made a poster to make everyone fully aware of the situation at hand, including a hand-drawn portrait of Quackers. She took a picture of Sir Ducks-a-Lot. More on that later.

She put the poster up on the refrigerator and pointed out the drawing of the duck to remind people what Quackers looked like, as well as the reward being offered for finding Quackers. That reward, originally $5, has since been raised to $5.50 and two snacks from her very own Easter basket. Again, if you are not aware of the gravity of the situation, my daughter will enlighten you.

“Missing” poster of Quackers. Note the increased reward and reminders of how scared and hungry he is.

The Picture

Back to the picture of Sir Ducks-a-Lot. Quackers is just a smaller version of SDL (I’m getting tired). The Oppressed has used this to her advantage. My daughter took a picture of SDL just in case the drawing of Quackers isn’t enough for people to go on. Also, the child has directed everyone’s attention to the refrigerator where the drawing and photo are. We hope everyone will study the drawing, the picture. She hopes everyone will take their own pictures and share them with friends, with neighbors. She hopes anyone who can help will join in her mission to bring a scared, lost duck home.

There is also a chance The Oppressed will be making a guest appearance on this website, as she is not confident that I can fully convey the magnitude and immediacy of this dire situation. Stay tuned for her message and for further developments on this story.

If you need help finding your child’s lost toy, or a replacement, visit lostmylovey.com to see if anyone has found it, or where you can purchase a new one. You can also visit multiple pages on Facebook for help with a lost friend.

A Fun Field Day at My Children’s School

There have been more exciting events and experiences as the school year winds down. Some events were a field trip to the zoo. This time, there was a Field Day held right at the school.

I volunteered at The Oppressed’s field day. This was a great time for students, parents, and faculty alike. Not only did I get to play some games with my youngest daughter, but I also got to talk to the teachers and get the real lowdown on what’s been happening at school.


Field Day was a learning experience for me and the children. I manned the kickball station and got the rules from the coordinators before my first group of cherubs descended upon me. Apparently, you can’t throw the ball at the runner anymore. I’m not sure when that rule came about but here we are. No throwing at people.

I’m not sure exactly what it is the children do with themselves nowadays, but this is why I weep for the future of our country.

Another situation I needed to adjust to was actually needing to explain kickball to the little Field Day warriors. Kickball was almost a rule for me and my friends at recess. Apparently, that was then, and this is now. I’m not sure exactly what it is the children do with themselves nowadays, but this is why I weep for the future of our country.

This used to happen every day at recess.

After explaining the rules of the game, we are ready. Games last about 15 minutes before the signal to move to the next station. Children excitedly move on. A new group of eager, active students arrive. I explain the ins and outs of kickball to a new band of children. Each time I introduce the game to a new pack of participants, I hope I’m passing on a love and appreciation for the great game of kickball. As the students leave the field and the glorious games, they tell The Oppressed how much fun they had at my station. The Oppressed passes the approving remarks on to me later that day.


The week brought another Field Day. It’s nice to see the school sending the children outdoors for activity. This time, there are more grades involved than just my daughter’s. The Boy will be there, but a prior commitment prevents me from being there when it’s his turn. I’m there for The Oppressed, though. There is no kickball for me and the children this time. Instead, I am running the cornhole station.

There was a slight faux pas committed by Yours Truly on this fine and glorious day. I awarded two points if the beanbag went in the hole. You’re supposed to get three points in Cornhole. I apologize to all children who were cheated out of that extra point. Besides not awarding the proper points, I also took another liberty with the game. Teams were given a chance to tie the game. An overtime format was created. Was that a thing? Who knows, but I made it a thing.

I oversaw the matches, cheered when points were scored, got excited when a beanbag got in. I got nervous when a team got close to winning and wondered if a team would get a chance to tie. Out of respect for the losing team, I did not celebrate with the winning team. I’m not even sure they would allow it, but I stayed away nonetheless. If time allowed, we played another game.

The end of the Field Day brought a Tug-o-War tournament. Students watched as they waited their turns. Students screamed as a team got close to defeat, then found it within themselves to give a heave and stay in the contest. A team emerged from all the others for the ultimate bragging rights that would soon be forgotten, as the end of the school year is upon us.

Tug-o-War capped off the day.

Thank You, Volunteers

Students assembled at the end of the day. Teachers congratulated the events’ winners and thanked the volunteers for all their work and contributions. I was happy to be there and spend some time with my child. Not only that, but it was nice to be outside and work on my tan.

I picked up my kids at the end of the day. It was a fun day. We talked about the games played and what their favorite activity was. The Boy was glad he got out of the classroom. The Oppressed was glad to be outside with her friends. I was glad I could spend a little time with her.

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The Exciting End of The Boy’s Baseball Season

The weather has warmed up considerably since the first pitch of the baseball season was thrown back in April. The Boy and his teammates have faced down opponents two days a week since the start of the season.

It has been a season of multiple surprises. Some have been pleasant; others have been not so pleasant. It all depends on who you ask. The Boy was very disappointed with one development of the 2022 baseball season. When he was told (by me) that the season was going to end two weeks ago, no one realized it was the end of the regular season. There’s still the playoffs.

This slight miscommunication was a major issue with The Boy, who was told he wouldn’t have to (that’s right, “have to”) play baseball after the final out of the season was recorded on that pleasant evening that included chicken fingers and french fries from the concession stand.

Instead, The Boy was upset, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the regular season was a way to determine seeds for the playoffs. All of the teams at this level make the playoffs, and my son’s team, the second-place team in the league, was the number-2 seed in the tournament. The Boy understood the final game of the season to be the FINAL game. There was not talk of playoffs beyond that.

This past week brought us to those playoffs. This team has had good hitting all season. Fielding is a little suspect. Pitching? Well, they’re not far-removed from T-ball, so I’ll let you figure that out.

Taking the field for Game 1.

The Playoffs

Game one was an absolute anomaly for our diamond defenders. Our usually competitive team got spanked, making game two a critical “must-win” in the best-of-3 series.

Game 2 went back and forth. The Boy’s team went ahead, fell behind, and ultimately came up short, eliminating them and saddening many baseball bairns, just not the boy.

Postgame Words and Celebration

After the game, the manager gave players and parents alike a speech thanking everyone for their dedication to the team and the season. He invited everyone, players and families out for pizza immediately following the game.

The Boy and I graciously accepted his generous offer. We met coaches, children, and families at the restaurant. Boys were frantically moving from one table to another. I stayed at one table most of the night eating pizza and keeping an eye on the television carrying yet another baseball game while conversing with other parents.

The Boy and I then went home for the evening. We thanked the manager for his help this year and his generosity that night. While we drove home, The Boy told me how glad he was to have played baseball this year and even hinted that he MIGHT want to play next year. This, of course, did my heart good. We drove home with another season in our rearview mirror.

Lessons Learned

It’s tough when your kid doesn’t make it to the next round of playoffs. I am glad to have been able to watch my youngest son play baseball again. It wasn’t from the bench of the dugout where I can impart knowledge and savvy to the youngsters. Still, it was nice to be able to eat popcorn and Cracker Jacks and talk to other adults without worrying about eight or nine kids fighting over who’s playing first base or what the batting order is.

This year, I just got to watch baseball and talk to him about the game after. Of course, I had a little advice to give after the game and of course he was in no mind to hear what I have to say. In the meantime, I have 10 long months of nurturing that small ember of interest in baseball and make sure it doesn’t die out before sign-ups for the ’23 season start. A special thank you to Coaches Mike and John for their work and patience this year. Thank you for teaching everyone to be brave, play brave no matter what the score or situation was.

Follow me on Twitter @bravedaddy.

I Chaperoned a School Field Trip to the Zoo

The Boy went on his first ever field trip recently. It happened later for him and his friends than it normally would thanks to Coronapalooza. One of the advantages of being a stay-at-home dad is being able to accompany the children on said field trips. Before I could prepare for this trip, however, I needed to complete yet another background check. Loyal daddies and mommies everywhere remember that momentous day I learned I had yet again passed.

There were many details to tend to before the big day. The Boy and I went to a local sandwich shop where we bought sandwiches, drinks and a special dessert.

The Boy and I were at the school on the day of our trip. Students and teachers took the bus. Parents lit a candle and said a prayer for the teachers. Five of the parents piled into a mommy’s minivan and made our way to the Franklin Park Zoo. It was a nice ride. There were adults, no kids, riding in a climate-controlled car. No kids yelling. Nothing being thrown.

Arriving at the Zoo

We get to the zoo and get out tickets from the teacher. It’s a small group for me, just The Boy and two of his friends. We are told there is a little time for us to check out some exhibits on our own before we are to meet for a presentation.

Walking around the zoo, I’m disappointed to see maybe half of the exhibits are closed. Animals are being moved, or at the vet, or maybe they’re just on vacation. I don’t know. What I do know is that after walking around the zoo for a little while, it’s time for us to attend a show put on by zookeepers. This is a welcome change for the grown-ups because it means someone else can deal with their questions and statements regarding zoology.

The zookeepers are very nice and patient with the children. That’s probably because they only have them for a few moments before they can dump them back on us and get out of there. We walk around for a couple of minutes. Some kids are hungry and start to eat their lunches. Kids eat while we walk. We see zebras. We walk into the bird sanctuary. No food is allowed in the sanctuary, and the kids put their snacks away while we are there.

This is when we get to the highlight of the day. There’s a playground at the zoo. The children’s eyes light up. We travelled miles to see this place, and the children stop at swings and slides that are at their school every day. I think there were some lions who were a little insulted at this.

Lunch on a Quiet Afternoon

I took advantage of the children’s distraction to eat my own lunch. In between bites, I survey the playground, making sure all three boys in my charge are still alive. There are normally six kids for me to check up on, so three is a nice little downgrade.

After expending some energy at the playground, I convince the boys to walk around the zoo and look for some more animals. We see some more, and then I check my phone. It’s time for the children to get back on the bus and head back to the school. The children board the bus. I board my minivan. We all go back to the school where I read a book and wait for the bell to dismiss the cherubs and I can bring home The Oppressed and The Boy.

We get home and they go upstairs to see Wife, who asks The Boy about the field trip and the fun he had. He said it was good and he did nothing. I fill in Wife on the animals who were on vacation (or break) and the playground, the highlight of the entire day. It was nice, but we can’t just hang around. The Boy needs to get changed. He has a baseball game.

How we Celebrated Mother’s Day Weekend

Our weekend was a busy one. It usually is. This one just happened to be Mother’s Day Weekend, so there was a little more excitement packed into our short respite.


Friday began with me taking The Boy and The Oppressed to school. In the midst of me making sure they had everything they needed for their day, I was trying to figure out what to get my mother for Mother’s Day. It’s a special occasion, my mom is a special lady, and Mother’s Day comes only once a year, so I wanted to do something nice for her.

I talked to my dad, who suggested Mom might enjoy a nice historical novel. One of the nice things about being a writer is that you know other writers and your familiar with many books to choose from. This familiarity with such nice people comes in handy in a situation like this. After dropping the cherubs off at school, I check my phone for a local bookstore that carries a historical fiction book that just happened to carry Brave Daddy’s Seal of Approval. I’m willing to go anywhere for this book. It’s a gift and time is running out. Alas, after looking and searching bookstores from Pittsfield to Provincetown, from Falmouth, Massachusetts to Falmouth, Maine, there is not one that carries this book, and I am forced to resort to buying online. A win for the Wife and children, who remind me this is where things are going. Defeated, I make my online purchase.

The evening brought us Lovie and Slick’s Senior Prom. This was the end of weeks of running around and making sure everything was in order for Lovie, Slick, and The Gaggle, who was Lovie’s +1 for the evening. Wife was an absolute champ helping the ladies with dresses, nails, hair, and nerves that come with the big night. I looked for a limousine and was able to find a 7-seater Suburban for five teenagers for the night.

Prom, of course, coincided with the many other things that need to be done every day. To help lessen the burden on Slick, I went to the store to pick up his suit for the evening. Slick and Wife picked out the suit at a shop nearby. It’s a great place. I should know, I picked out a suit there last summer for a wedding. While I was there waiting for them to bring out the suit, I found a sharp-looking vest that I thought would come in handy sometime in the future. I walked out with Slick’s suit and my new vest. I was very proud.

I returned home with the suit and proudly showed off my new vest to Wife, who was helping the ladies with everything necessary for a night of dancing. Slick’s girlfriend hadn’t shown up yet, and everyone was looking at the clock. It was getting close to “Go” time. Slick put on his suit. He just needed a little help with his tie. He sure looked different wearing something besides sweatpants and Crocs.

The Suburban arrived, Slick’s girlfriend had not. Everyone was checking the time. Wife and I were quickly formulating a Plan B. It was getting close to the beginning of prom. We decided to snap some pictures without her. It was looking like Slick and his date would have to be driven to the prom separately. We decided to take some pictures without his girlfriend in case she never makes it. After pictures are taken, Slick gets a phone call. His date is two minutes away. Relieved sighs are exhaled. She arrives and more pictures are snapped. Slick, his GF, Lovie, The Gaggle, and a friend of Lovie’s load into the Suburban and are whisked away to a magical night of music and dancing. Wife and I see them off with visions and memories of our own proms still fresh in our minds.

The Oppressed and I get into our own car and drive for the mall. We still need to make final preparations for Mother’s Day. She has her present picked out, and there’s a nice little project that said gift is a part of. I would like to get something for Wife to mark the occasion. My youngest daughter is glad to help out with this mission. We arrive at the mall and look around at the stores to see what the perfect gift for a mother of six would be. We find a store and, with her help, find a great gift that would help celebrate the day to celebrate mothers. The Oppressed feels we need to celebrate our shopping success with pretzels and a cold drink, but first, it’s off to Newbury Comics for a Taylor Swift CD. We arrive home with everything we need for Wife and Mother’s Day, a Taylor Swift CD, warm pretzels and a cold drink. I just need to find something for my own mother. I knew exactly what to get. My father mentioned getting a historical fiction novel. I can grab that in the middle of the madness on Saturday.


I was up and ready to go on a beautiful, glorious Saturday morning. The Boy had his baseball game. From there, we were on our way to the North Shore for my nephew’s first communion. To save time, The Oppressed went with me to watch The Boy’s game. It’s a little chilly on this glorious morning, and I suggest to my youngest daughter that she may need a jacket. She insists she’s fine. We get into the car and make our way to the baseball field, my refuge from deaf teenagers who are too busy for their chores. The land of peanuts and Cracker Jacks1.

The Oppressed and I take our seats while the young players warm up for the game. I was ready to go with Cracker Jacks in hand. Two innings into the game, The Oppressed tells me she’s cold. My mind immediately went to the conversation we had before the game regarding the weather and the potential need for a jacket. I give her my jacket and unlock the car for her. The wind is a little too much for her to handle, and she needs shelter.

“I’m fine.”

Every child who has been told to bring a coat with them
Postgame slushie

The game ends. The Boy’s team is victorious. The three of us continue on to the next part of our day. A glorious celebration of my nephew making his First Communion. We arrive at the house and see friends and family; aunts, uncles, cousins. We congratulate “B” on the day. I see my mother and give her a card. I won’t see her on Sunday, but inform her a nice little something will be arriving at her house on Mother’s Day. She has strict instructions to not do anything with the package until she calls me. Mother agrees to comply.

At the end of the day, the three of us head home. We’ll stop for food on the way and Wife has asked us to pick up some butter and chocolate chips on the way home (Lovie must want to bake again) … and ice cream… and milk… Just a few things we need.

After buying “a few things”.

I have ideas for a great place to eat. It has all of the things on the menu that meets the requirements of my two youngest children. Of course, no drive through the North Shore is complete without me stopping somewhere for beer. When I stop, the cherubs see a pizza place and my well-laid plans for dinner are suddenly torpedoed.

Beer purchased. Food procured. We’re back on the road. We make a little more time and progress before stopping at a grocery store for the “few things” we needed to pick up. We’re finally ready to go and finish our ride home. We get home. I talk to Wife, who was home with the children who slept in after prom, then retire for the evening.


Mother’s Day had arrived! Wife received cards, flowers, and gifts. After that, there was no time to relax. We needed to be at my in-laws for a Mother’s Day brunch.

“Muskets and Minuets”
by Lindsey Fera

After the brunch, The Oppressed was excited to get home and help Wife with her gift. Wife had received a home spa kit from her youngest daughter and The Oppressed couldn’t get home fast enough to give her mother an evening of pampering. I received a phone call from my mother. An Amazon package had arrived, and she wanted to open it in front of me. She did, and she was excited when she saw a copy of “Muskets and Minuets”, a book that followed a girl living in colonial Massachusetts on the eve of the American Revolution. When the spa session had ended, The Oppressed joined me and The Boy, who were in the backyard sitting in front of a fire. The children made s’mores, and I poured a beer I bought the previous day. The fire was nice. It would be a few short hours before I had to get out of bed and get the children ready for school.

“Muskets and Minuets” is available for sale at your local bookstore and multiple websites, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


There were no Cracker Jacks at the concession stand. I had to bring my own. I let the nice people working the concession stand know how displeased I was about this.

Saying Good-bye to my Grandmother


My grandmother passed away recently. This wasn’t shocking news to anyone. She was 94 years old, and her health had been failing, which is often the case when you reach 94. I’ve said it before, and I’ll tell you now: We are born, we die. Enjoy the in-between.

Wife, Mother, Grandmother

No one lives forever. That’s common knowledge, but with some people, you wonder. My grandmother, “Grammy”, who went on to become known as “Great-Grammy G” when the next generation made its appearance, was the stuff you read about and see in movies. Grammy raised 11 children. My dad was the oldest. I think my aunt, the youngest, was in elementary school when Grammy’s husband, “Bud” passed away.

(L-R) Santa Claus, me, Grammy

My house has five, sometimes six kids. I think a basketball team in my house is a hassle. I can just imagine what a football team could have been like. Grammy took care of them all. She took care of them while working full-time. I was grateful for all the aunt and uncles I had, especially when Christmas came along and there were no other children. My brother, sister, and I had a great racket going until said aunts and uncles ruined it by having kids of their own.

A Not-so-Easy Life

Holy Family Church. Where Grammy (and sometimes, me) attended mass. (Photo: facebook.com)

It wasn’t easy for her, but she never complained, and she never quit. She woke up every morning and did her thing. She read. She did puzzles. On Sundays she went to church like all good Irish Catholics. Grammy was there for anyone and everyone through thick and thin. I remember her taking care of my uncle after a car accident. Another uncle, her son-in-law, died in the beginning of 2005. I don’t doubt she was there for my aunt offering whatever support was needed. Another aunt, her daughter, died in 2006. My grandmother was with her at the hospital making her as comfortable as she could. After the memorial service, I mentioned being concerned about Grammy after burying her daughter. My dad said, “Grammy’s a tough old bird.” So, she was.


Grammy, for the most part, stayed in Lynn, Mass, where she raised her family, worked, then retired. I was one of the first people who found out about her retirement. At least I think I was. I was riding my bike one evening in the summer of 1993 when I decided on a whim to visit. We were sitting at the kitchen table drinking Lipton Iced Tea, a drink I always associated with her, when she told me she was retiring. That fall, Grammy, her children and grandchildren got together to celebrate her retirement. As usual, it was a raucous, fun-filled event that was packed to the rafters with relatives, friends and other well-wishers. It was always an exciting time when my family got together.

My confirmation. Fall, 1993. Grammy was my sponsor.

It was exciting with the family or just with her. All of the grandchildren remember the day they became taller than Grammy. That meant lunch at the now-defunct Porthole restaurant. A rite-of-passage that celebrated our literal growing up. Years ago, she took my brother and me to a Christmas party hosted by her boss. I don’t remember if my sister had been born, yet. I forgot her name, but I remember her boss walking around the house with a light-up Santa hat, greeting visitors and talking to guests. The house was small, and the crowd was big. It was hot that night in that house.

The Christmas Pageant. Look closely and you can see my head over the podium.

Love and Prayers

Speaking of Christmas, I had the honor of narrating the Christmas pageant in kindergarten. Thirty-five years later, Grammy still talked about the day I narrated the Christmas pageant. There was a part where shepherds and wise men weren’t where they were supposed to be. They were probably following the wrong star. I was reminding them where they needed to be, totally oblivious to the hot mike in front of me. My grandmother always made sure to mention that part, too. I told people if I wrote a best seller or won a major award, someone, Barbara Walters, Lester Holt, anyone would find her and interview her. She would tell them about the time her grandson narrated the Christmas pageant and directed people to their right place.

Luckily, we had our chance to say our good-byes. People at one time or another visited, said hello, and said good-bye. We thought we were going to lose her during the height of Coronapalooza. She beat that, too. Like I said: No one lives forever, but sometimes you wonder.

So, that’s it. Grammy has left us. She’s left the mortal coil to see “Bud”, Wayne, and Patty. She’ll say hello to Charlie and Janice and scores of other friends and relatives she hasn’t seen in years or decades. Her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren will come together again and again Grammy will be the central reason for us coming together, just like we did on all those Sunday afternoons to celebrate her birthday. Just like we did on those Christmas evenings. I now leave you with the words written by Norma to everyone and anyone who ever saw her or received a card from her at any time in their life:

Love and Prayers, Forever and Always.

Follow me on Twitter @Greg_the_Brave

Smart Technology and Parenting in the time of Uber Eats

The children in our house, all of them, like to remind me from time to time how old I am. Apparently, people over a certain age are called “Boomer” by the future of our country. The traditional “Baby Boomers” no longer have this special term exclusively. If you are out of high school, or college (I’m not quite sure how it works), you are a “Boomer”.

Whatever. These are the people who need to be reminded to take their jacket with them when they leave the house on a cold and frosty morning. These are the same people who “forgot” to close a car door. These Miracles of Christ do amazing things that leave you guessing and wondering. You have children. You understand what I’m saying.

Uber Eats logo
Savior of my children.

These misinformed malcontents tend to delight in the fact that I can’t understand, won’t embrace technological advances. Uber Eats is an example. People can’t leave the house anymore for fast food. People are this lazy. I am jealous of whoever thought of this, and I think about the people who utilize this and wonder how I’m not rich yet.

Math work done on a piece of graph paper.
Old-school schoolwork.

Another example of the generation gap is homework. You, a loyal reader, are aware of “The Homework Wars” that occur at our home. The Oppressed will occasionally ask for help with her math. I will go over the problems with her. We will come to a step, and I will ask her what the answer to this problem is. She will ask our smart technology what the answer is. Meanwhile, I will do the work on paper in the old-fashioned way.

Sometimes the technology will short out, sometimes it won’t hear her. I usually get the answer first in my old, “Boomer” way. Sometimes it will be a tie. It doesn’t matter. My early-adopting children know what they’re doing, and we have the technology. My kids are ready to utilize that technology, and I would be well-advised to adopt it, embrace it, and use it.

I still say people are misinformed. There’s being an early adopter and there’s rushing and getting ahead of one’s self. Recently, I’ve been getting emails from AARP. You and I both know I’m nowhere near eligible for that lobby.

Some people think the email is accurate. It’s spam, of course. Someone is pretending to represent this fine organization hoping to steal personal information. I’m not falling for it. I know how young I am, and I know this is either spam or an actual mistake.

Back to the children. There are constant debates about methods, styles, and different tastes in all kinds of things. Whatever it is I’m reading, watching, listening to, children like to give their unsolicited opinion. Sometimes I will engage and explain to them why they are so misguided, other times I’m just too busy doing what I’m doing to tell them why they’re wrong. Even if I did have the time, I don’t think they would listen, anyway. Which is too bad, because they obviously need the help and guidance.

An email inbox with a message from AARP.
What the…?

Walking to School with the Kids

We had a special day at the school of The Oppressed and The Boy. We had our annual “Walk to School Day”. Allow me to explain to you why walking to school with the kids is a special event in my town. Sidewalks are few and far between. My neighborhood has no sidewalks at all, and we share the road with cars. It’s fun. Once you get out of my neighborhood, there may or may not be a sidewalk on one side that people walking in both directions can share. New York is a walking city. Some say Boston is a walking city. My city? Not so much.

I walked to school every day from the first grade to the eighth. I went to high school in a different town, so walking would have taken a while and proven a little difficult. When my kids started school, I couldn’t understand how kids couldn’t walk to a school they live so close to, but here we are: Unable to walk to school every day.

Houses in a suburban neighborhood with walkways shoveled after getting 30 inches of snow.
The 30 inches of snow we received. Luckily, some was gone before our walk.

That’s alright. “Walk to School Day” gave me a chance to do something with my younger kids. One, like me, wishes we could do it every day. Another is happy to take a car to and from school. I tell both children we can’t walk to school if everyone doesn’t agree to walk. I don’t like taking the car, but it’s what I can do to keep everyone happy.

The Big Day

So, the day we walk to school finally arrived. Police were stationed at various points to make sure there was some type of demarcation between cars and pedestrians. One of my children had band practice. I carried their instrument for them so they wouldn’t be burdened too much. We made it to school. Hearts beating, blood pumping. Luckily, the day wasn’t as cold as it had been and some of the 30+ inches of snow we got had been cleared enough for us to move our legs. Our children were happy to be at school. The Oppressed was very happy because it meant the walk was over and she was promised we could drive home.

Children and parents in front of school in the morning.
Arriving at school. The end
of an arduous march.

That was fine. I was happy to walk home that morning and get a little more exercise. On the way home, I ran into someone who felt the need to bend my ear about something. I honestly don’t remember what, but they had a lot to say. I guess I forgot to remove the sign from my face that says, “Tell me Your Life Story”.

So, that was our morning walk. I went about my business and did what I needed to do after our morning constitutional. That afternoon, I went to pick up the children. As we were walking away from the building, The Oppressed reminds me I said we were driving home. I reminded her I never said what afternoon that was. You ever see hope leave a child’s face? It’s hilarious. I wish I had a camera. It reminded me of another day.

“A Collection of Short Stories” is now available on Apple Books.

Reading Bedtime Stories to Children

The end of the day is always something Wife and I look forward to. The children go to bed and we can unwind, read, lay down in bed, fall asleep and recharge our batteries for the challenges and battles we’ll face the next day.

Before I can slip into Dreamland, however, I have a few obligations I must honor with the cherubs. Every night, I am expected to provide a story. The Oppressed and The Boy want a story before they fall asleep, and they want different kinds of stories.

The Boy is first. There is usually some negotiation on which stories we’re going to read. I’ve bought some books for his room that I thought he would enjoy. He hasn’t enjoyed them and we read something else. If I try to read something he doesn’t want, he’ll get out of bed, take the book out of my hands and replace it with a more acceptable book. If I try to read something else, he will get back out of bed and fix my transgression and make sure it remains fixed. We read his selection(s).

This is where I make my nightly selection with the boy. He thought the Tom Clancy novel looked nice so he added it to his bookcase.

He’s chosen some novels and novellas for story time. We haven’t finished them, but we certainly started a few. Again, I try to recommend those books we’ve started. I get into them and would love to see what happens next. Alas, his heart and attention span have moved on, and we’re going to read something different.

Reading to my Daughter

I read until he falls asleep. Once I hear snores, I make my way to The Oppressed’s room. It’s time for another round of Story Time. This time, though, I don’t read. This time, I am expected to make up a story, usually about a princess. It has to be a new story every night. It can’t be the same as one I told earlier. Variations are acceptable, but no duplicates. Different night, different story. She likes to test my creativity.

When this is done, I get to power down for the evening and rest until the next day’s demands require me to be vertical again. I’m not needed until then… Or so I think.

There have been a few occasions where I have been derelict in my duties. As mentioned before, I read to The Boy until he falls asleep, then proceed to The Oppressed. There are times when The Boy will be standing at the door of The Oppressed, insisting I left while he was still awake (never happened) and informs me I must return to his room to continue reading the book I never finished.

The Oppressed is a good sport about it and lets me return to finish the book I already read. Once that is done, I return to The Oppressed to finish my story obligations. She doesn’t mind because usually I start the routine over, which means an extra story for her.

My reading nook with The Boy.

Daddy can go to Bed

Stories are finished. I can go to my own bed and put another day behind me. The morning will call with its usual duties, some of which include telling another story, like the one you’re reading now. At least this time I don’t need to wait for anyone to fall asleep before I can walk away.

Stories finished. Children sleeping. Daddy can now end the day. I go to my room and climb into bed. I don’t need a story because I have enough drama in my life, and it tires me. It doesn’t take long for me to fall asleep until duty summons me again.

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