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.

Quackers

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.

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.

Daddy Passes Another Cori Check, Fingerprinting

He can chaperone field trips

Brave Daddy stops his yardwork long enough to address adoring public upon
hearing news of his latest successful CORI check. (Photo: Brave Daddy)

Brave Daddy, renowned for humorous parenting stories, has passed his fourth CORI and second fingerprinting, according to local sources.

Local school staff reported the results. As a result, the parenting pundit can accompany his children on field trips and participate in other school activities. Brave Daddy’s wife also passed CORI and fingerprinting, allowing her to chaperone.

The need for background checks was deemed necessary given the desire to chaperone previously mentioned field trips. He has previously undergone two checks for sports and one for foster parenting.

“I’m very happy with this latest check,” Brave Daddy said during a break from cutting grass.

Pivetta is on the mound for Sox against Texas, Dunning.

Brave Daddy’s lawyer, Dewey Cheatum, said he was glad but not surprised with the results. He hoped his client would no longer need to prove his merits to the community.

“My client has met and overcome a crucible of tribulations. This should certainly provide an example and inspire parents everywhere,” Cheatum said. “His Herculean efforts are extraordinary.”

Another piece of the acquitting evidence

An unnamed source called the needed fourth check, “a clerical error on a bureaucratic level.”

What Lies Ahead

In addition to being excited to see new things with his family, Brave Daddy also expressed interest in investigating the offerings of snack bars and food trucks in the vicinity of the field trip sites.

“I hope I find some barbecue or ice cream,” he said hopefully.

The elation of the news does not stop at Brave Daddy. His youngest daughter, The Oppressed, voiced her approval of the results and is looking forward to a full list of activities as the school year enters the homestretch. Brave Daddy’s youngest son, The Boy, wants to go to a friend’s house and could not comment. Older children Slick, Slugger, and Lovie are campaigning to have final exams cancelled and could not be reached for comment. Finally, The Gaggle is sleeping.

Celtics are hoping to stay alive in Milwaukee.

Finally, Brave Daddy’s wife declined to comment on the matter, citing, “the ridiculousness of the story and subject matter.”

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 getting 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.

Quackers

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.

Boys Throwing a ball, and Boys Catching a Ball.

“Better teach this kid some control before he kills somebody.”

Major League

Trees are budding. The snow has melted. The calendar has turned another page. It is now April, and that means it’s time for baseball season.

I have made the transition from player to coach, and, in my humble, unsolicited opinion, I think I’ve made a rather successful transition from student to teacher. There are a number of players who have been under my tutelage, and I would like to think they have honed their skills, developed new ones, and found a new appreciation for the game I love. Of course, none of these children who have found a new love for the game are living in the same house as me, but there are children out there who appreciate my efforts.

Slugger has found an appreciation for our National Pastime. He played a year for his school, and he likes watching baseball games on television. The family has gone to a couple of Red Sox games. He told us at the very beginning he is a New York Yankees fan, but we still love him.

Boys Playing Catch

Both Slugger and Slick can be found in the backyard playing catch in the spring and summer. It does my heart good to see the boys out there during the day. Of course, they’re teenage boys, and they really don’t have much regard for form or easing into things. Baseball novices and sages alike know that when you get ready for a game or practice, you loosen up like you do in all sports. My last baseball manager, Coach Donahue, called it, “Loosening up the soup bones”.

For these boys, showing their strength and superiority is more important than getting loose and avoiding an injury. Instead of easing into a friendly game of long-toss, Dizzy and Daffy would rather pump their arms, rear back, and see how hard they can throw and how fast the ball can reach the other. This usually results in a bit of “Olé” on the part of the boy who is supposed to catch the ball.

It’s Catch. Who Needs Advice?

I haven’t played baseball in a while. Actually, it’s been decades since I last played organized baseball. However, I do know a few things about the game, things I knew even before I started coaching kids. These are things that are considered to be basic and fundamental, like not needing to throw a ball as hard as you can if the person is only a few feet away from you. Or keeping your glove in front of you to protect you from the oncoming throw. Things you learn in the backyard when you start playing catch, let alone play an actual game of baseball.

But, hey! What do I know? Not much, obviously. Jackie Bradley, Jr. and J.D. Martinez have everything figured out and they don’t need any advice on what they’re doing or should be doing. The boys continue to throw as hard as they can. One of the baseball brainiacs throws the ball and the other gets out of the way.

Olé!

The baseball hits the fence and takes out a piece of the panel. They look at each other, then one leaves the yard and goes next door to retrieve the ball that ended up on the other side of the fence. He returns to the yard, and they continue their game of catch. I refrain from any further advice and let the boys proceed as they were.

The result of an errant throw.

We were Ready for my son’s Birthday Party Until…

Life is a special occasion, right? There is always something to remember and celebrate. At our house, with six children, there is usually a milestone to celebrate. We had a little celebration recently for The Boy’s birthday. I was in charge of putting together a special celebration to mark the latest spin around the sun.

It took The Boy a little while to actually make up his mind. He kept going back and forth between rock-climbing and jumping on trampolines. Trampolines won out. I went to the indoor trampoline park to book the party. After the venue was secured, we informed friends of the The Boy and their parents of the celebration. I implored fathers to attend the party so I would have friends to talk to.

Before the party, I needed to make return trips to order more pizza and make sure the guest count was accurate. The Oppressed and I went to the store to buy decorations and party favors. Pokémon was the theme of the party, and we travelled to the store to collect the appropriate favors. The Boy did not join us. He was too busy attending to the social demands of his schedule.

I need to recognize the efforts of The Oppressed here. Her vision regarding the party led to one of the signature items of the day. We had found some goodie bags to store the favors when my youngest daughter spotted plastic containers that resembled Pokémon balls. The balls were the perfect size to hold the favors and resembled the very item handled by characters in the Pokémon cartoon. Favors were prepared. Pizza ordered. Everything in place… Or so I thought.

A Birthday Cake

I had a birthday cake ordered for the party. The nice people in charge of the cake kindly requested 24 hours’ notice for the order. They got 72 hours. My kindness and benevolence are known throughout the area.

I asked to pick up the cake two hours before the party was scheduled to begin. Everything needed to be in place for the party. Alas, there was no cake to be picked up when I arrived and no humans around to answer my questions.

I look around. There is no one to rectify the situation. Time is running out and I need to find the cake. It’s getting desperate. Luckily, I recently read a wartime spy novel and was able to glean some basic skills. I just need to subdue an employee, secure their credentials, and make my way behind the bakery to find my son’s birthday cake. It seems a little involved, but I love my child and it is his birthday party.

I make my way around the store to find the necessary items to subdue the employee and secure their credentials. An employee with everything I need is in sight. They approach me and catch me off-guard as I am ready to jump into action.

“May I help you?” they ask.

“Why, yes,” I reply.” I ordered a cake and I’m here to pick it up.”

The nice person retreats to the back of the bakery and retrieves my cake. I bring the birthday cake to the front and pay for it. I discard the items I thought I would need to subdue an employee and continue on with my mission.

Party Balloons

It is now time to pick up the balloons for the party. We had ordered large, gigantic red, yellow and white balloons in keeping with the Pokémon theme. The party is scheduled to begin at 5:15. The balloon store is conveniently across the street from the venue and balloons are scheduled to be delivered at 5:00… Or so I thought.

I arrive at the venue with the cake and receive grateful cheers and adulations from parents and children alike. The cake is placed on the table in the rented room. I look around and admire the decoration and placement of the procured favors. I can’t help but notice a lack of balloons. A lack of large, Pokémon color-themed balloons. I ask Wife if she has seen the beautiful balloons. She hasn’t. I ask the nice people behind the counter if they have seen any beautiful Pokémon color-themed balloons. They have not. Something seems amiss. I call the nice people at the party goods store. Apparently, there was some miscommunication.

When they said the balloons would be delivered at 5:00, I didn’t know 5:00 actually meant the beginning of a two-hour window when we could expect the balloons. Considering we have the room for about an hour, this obviously doesn’t work with our schedule. I get in my car and drive across the street (it’s a fairly busy street and I don’t want to get hit by a car since I haven’t had pizza yet) to the store to get the balloons.

Balloons are Ready. Now it’s a party

I return with the Pokémon color-themed balloons, and I see the pizzas have arrived. After leaving the balloons in the room, I see two fathers who have brought their children to the party. I rejoice at having fellow fathers to commiserate with. We talk until it is time for pizza.

Pizza is about to be served. Note the snazzy Pokémon-themed balloons on the right.

We adjourn to the room where everything is laid out beautifully for our guests. You would never know there was a SNAFU with the cake, or a slight logistical error with the balloons. Children and adults alike sit down to pizza and then cake. I mingle with the other adults who got sucked into another child’s birthday party. After eating, everyone leaves and someone else cleans up the mess. That may have been the best present of all, and it wasn’t even my birthday.

Check out more on my Facebook page.

Pizza Bagels, Video Games, and Batteries

I needed to drop one of my children at their friend’s house last week. I know the father, so I stayed for a bit and talked over a beer. We were in the living room, where one of his kids was playing video games.

Video Games

I’ve met a lot of kids over the course of parenthood, foster parenting, coaching, school pickup and drop-off, and a variety of other circumstances and duties. I think teens are the funniest, and this encounter with another life expert who is still in high school was no exception. Loyal daddies and mommies are familiar with our friend Wilt. Wilt was a child of another friend who seemed to know everything about life, especially basketball. Check out the link I so generously provided. If you have teenagers, you’ll understand what I’m telling you.

I think teenagers are the funniest, and this encounter with another life expert who is still in high school is no exception.

My child and I arrive at the house and the younger children quickly disappear upstairs. I remain downstairs, where “15” is dealing with one of the many challenges you face when trying to assemble a team on a video game. Dad is also in the living room finishing up work before getting ready to go out for the evening. It’s not an easy time for “15”. He’s playing a soccer game on his console, and he’s trying to assemble a national team. Apparently American soccer players are few and far between, and the good ones are even harder to find. I would like to help him, but I know nothing about who plays soccer, let alone where they hail from.

My friend and I watch “15” scroll through lists of players and their attributes. I offer whatever advice I can, but nothing works. The game works in a certain way, and you can’t just create a player and place him on your team. I literally haven’t played a soccer video game since last century, so I’m pretty much useless.

The Smoke Alarm

It gets harder for “15”. Not only does the field of available players lack what he needs, but the battery in the living room’s smoke alarm died, and there is an annoying “chirp” signaling the need for a new one. Each shrill call for a new battery is grating on the virtual general manager, who is having enough headaches with his lacking roster. He’s finally had enough, and he marches to the smoke detector, pulls it from the wall, and then the real struggle begins.

“15” has the smoke detector in his hands. The battery needs to be replaced, but first the old battery needs to be extracted. The Chinese water torture is getting to be too much for the lad, who can get the compartment open, but can’t get the battery out. Dad is enjoying this and so am I, to be honest with you. Finally, I show mercy to the poor child and take the battery out for them. After said extraction, I hold up the 9-volt nemesis and sing, “Ta-daa!” Now it’s time for a new battery, but there is no 9-volt battery in the house. So, the smoke detector sits on the end table sans battery for the time being.

A New Battery

I return home to take care of some chores and duties while my child is away at her friends. My friend has plans that evening, so I am sure to be there promptly to take my child home. I arrive at the house with a gift for “15”. A brand new 9-volt battery. To this day, I am mad at myself for not putting a bow on it.

Loaded and ready

I proudly present the lad with the gift and the life lesson. He installs the battery and places the smoke detector back in its proper place. Dad and I are proud of the child for doing his part to keep the house and his family safe and secure. Now, it’s back to video games where he has moved on from soccer to basketball. Dad and I are watching him scroll through teams and players. “15” makes some comments about Larry Bird, causing Dad to educate his child about Bird and Bill Russell. Meanwhile, we continue to watch him play.

“Hey, Auerbach,” I say.

“What?”

“I called you ‘Auerbach’.” Dad laughs. The child has no idea what I’m talking about, nor does he understand the reference to his basketball personnel moves.

Pizza Bagels

It’s time for a break in the action. “15” needs food. His dad follows him to the kitchen for a beer. “15” wants to make a pizza bagel. Dad and I watch the child struggle to slice a pre-sliced bagel. We remind the child it’s already pre-sliced, but this doesn’t matter to him because it’s not, “pre-sliced enough”. He gets the bagel sliced and prepares with sauce and toasts it. When it’s done, he has enough grated parmesan cheese for a dozen pizza bagels.

“Hey, Fieri,” I say after a sip of my beer, “Do you want some bagel to go with that cheese?”

One of the beers I received.

He tells me he has a solution and carefully shakes some cheese from one slice of the bagel onto the other slice. He then proceeds to eat the bagel while standing up, back turned to the counter. Crumbs fall to the floor. I tell him I’m willing to bet Dad has invested in some plates for the house. Dad tells me he needs to constantly remind him to use a plate when eating. I had no idea it was so chronic.

Driving home with my child, I ask how things went for them. I get home and enjoy one of the beers my friend sent home with me. My daughter and I watch some important, informative video on Harry Potter. While sipping my beer, I wonder if parents of teenagers were really meant to survive.

My new book, “A Collection of Short Stories” is now available on Apple Books.

A Busy Day of Celtics Basketball and the RMV

There was a particularly busy day for the family. Of all days, it was on Wife’s birthday. The day started like any other day. I dropped off The Oppressed and The Boy at school. From there, I was off to the RMV to get an ID for one of my older children who were going to take a trip. There was one small “problem”: We needed the ID fast and the only branch that would give us an appointment when we needed it was on the other side of the state.

That was fine with me. I love driving. A chance to take a ride with one of my kids makes it even better. We made our way across the fair Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I asked our child how they were doing. They responded, “Great.” I told them I was excited to spend the day taking a drive them. I asked if they were excited. They answered, “Oh, yeah. Totally.”

Mass RMV 🚗 🚙

While we were driving, I told our child about a fun, exciting time I had at an RMV a couple of years ago. I needed to conduct business at a local RMV and saw a quasi-altercation between a customer and a nice lady behind the counter. A policeman had to get involved and said customer was escorted from the premises. For a moment, it looked like they were going to be arrested. They weren’t, and everyone continued with their day.

“Who knows?” I said to my child. “We may see some excitement today. Then again, we’ll be in Western Mass. People there tend to be nicer and more laid back, but there’s always a chance.

A policeman had to get involved and said customer was escorted from the premises. For a moment, it looked like they were going to be arrested.

We made good time getting to the RMV. The Boy and The Oppressed were dropped off late enough in the morning, so we didn’t hit traffic on the Mass Pike. We got to the RMV with time to spare. We sat in the car for a couple of minutes, as it was not time for our appointment yet. I decided we should take a shot and go in. Let’s see if someone cancelled and we can be seen early.

We walk in and check with the nice people at the front desk. They look at our paperwork. Everything looks good. We wait for our number to be called. When it’s called, we go to the assigned window. Paperwork checked and stamped. Photo taken. Alas, there were no altercations to witness. We walked out of the RMV with an ID at the time our appointment was scheduled to begin.

Shopping for Gifts

We pull out of the lot. My child asked if we could do some shopping. There are some things they would like to get for a friend. We find a nearby mall on the GPS. My child isn’t sure what they should get their friend. I ask questions to try to help them get some ideas.

We walk around the mall. They find a store. FYE. We walk in. Child walks around looking for something for their friend. I look around the store for a CD. I think I’ve done a good job parenting today and I’m worth it. They walk out with gifts for their friend. I walk out with a new Doors CD. I listen to the CD on the ride back. My child hears nothing but what’s playing through their earbuds. Their loss.

Boston Celtics Basketball

We get home. I drop off the child with their new ID and continue on to school where I get The Boy and The Oppressed. I tell them about my day and the fun I had driving across the state.

There’s plenty to do. I bring the children home and help them with their homework. We need to make sure things are finished earlier than usual. Remember when I told you it was Wife’s birthday? Well, it just so happens that Wife was able to secure tickets for all of us to see the Celtics.

Slugger just happens to love basketball, so we decide to have an early celebration of Slugger’s birthday on Wife’s birthday. We make sure the children are ready to go. Preparations are made. It’s been quite the day for me. I went into Western Mass during the day, and I’ll be in Boston that night. I don’t remember the last time I was at a Celtics game. Rick Pitino may have been the coach the last time I saw the Celtics. I don’t think he’ll be walking through that door tonight.

It’s a close game. The Celtics trailed but were able to pull it off. 108-102 over the Denver Nuggets. It was an exciting game. I think Slugger and I enjoyed it the most, which is the case when we go to sporting events.

After the game we stop at a restaurant for something to eat but before we exit the TD BankNorth Garden, I notice a mural of the Rolling Stones on the wall. I explain to The Oppressed that one night in 1999, my dad and I travelled to the Garden, then known as the FleetCenter to see the Rolling Stones perform. I don’t know if the picture was from that night, but I had her stand in front of the picture and sent it to Dad

From the restaurant, we drive home. It’s been a long day. I collapse into bed. There was a road trip with one of my children. I went to a Celtics game. We celebrated two birthdays. Jealous? You should be.

A long night, but a good one

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.