Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

May the Force Be with You, Brother

"Now we're in the hotel room, Daddy," said Beatrice, smiling.

"Yes, Beatrice, you are."

I sat in our cuddle chair, at home alone, while my girls jumped from bed to bed at their hotel and the Mama held the iPad, FaceTime fired up.

Usually it's me traveling with one of their stuffed animals in two and talking back and forth virtually. But this time the travel beams crossed. Actually the light sabers crossed. Literally. (This I loved, since I had just watched Star Wars episodes 1-3 again while away on my latest work trip.)

Unfortunately the circumstances for this time-continuum swap were stark. My brother-in-law, the Mama's sister's husband, had a massive heart attack last Thursday night, then after a brief emergency diagnosis in the hospital, had immediate surgery -- a quintuple bypass surgery.

Quintuple, as in five. This volleyed back and forth in my head like a molten lava tennis ball all Friday morning as I ran through the woods behind my mothership office in Waltham. No Yoda on my back, though. No, high blood pressure and heart disease is the genetic monkey on my back. Every stride and heart-pumping thump got me one step closer to my girls; each one reminding me of why I need to be here today and tomorrows to come.

Stubborn like my wife and adamant that the healthcare system sucks your soul and pocketbook dry, my brother-in-law initially didn't want to go to the hospital, until ironically my wife helped her sister convince him to go.

And then the Mama, the girls and Nonna packed up and headed to Carson City to help my sister-in-law and family while I headed to the airport to fly home. I got home late Friday night to an empty house, but for good reason.

I miss them terribly, of course. The good news is that he's stable, but will have to be in the hospital for at least a week to ensure there are no complications. I'm glad they're there with him and the family.

May the force be with you, Brother.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Missed on Mama Day

Dear Mom,

Guess what? I take a lot of family pictures and video, just like you always did.

And now I truly understand why -- you and Dad are missed.

We love you. Happy Mama Day.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Embody the Dreamer Virtue

It sometimes starts with a playful ruckus. The dreaming that is.

A ruckus of jumping and squealing from upstairs. The Mama pulling out our snorkeling gear for the curious Bea and Bryce, both happily strapping the molded plastic to their faces and feet.

That's when their pretend underwater adventure began...

Based on childhood research I read this morning, being called the noun and not the verb -- for example, a helper instead of "can you help" -- makes kids feel like they're embodying a virtue (said a psychologist at the University of California, San Diego and one of the researchers behind the study).

Even today, the modern (and still third) world can be an unforgiving place, and there's enough toxic hate and horrid acts in real life, in person and online, the latter a place our girls will most likely spend a lot of time personally and professionally as the ever-connected world becomes the status quo of life.

And it's not enough just to disagree with a point of view, especially a positive, hopeful one -- now some folks have to bully it by pinning it to plywood with a staple gun and poke it with a cattle prod, cynicism dripping from their lips like alien acidic goo.

Unfortunately debate these days is based on personal attack and much less about strong counterpoints; it's no longer the fringe, but the mainstream reaction. Critical thinking development desperately needs to be a renewed priority at an early age. And it doesn't mean we avoid experiencing and talking about failure either. That's an important part of the critical thinking dreamer conversation.

So to our girls we say, "Don't just dream, always B a dreamer." Embody that virtuous ruckus.

A little joy can trump a lot of sorrow and hate. But hey, I'm always open for honest debate.