It’s been a long week and one with many tribulations (Boston Marathon bombers, neighbor’s personal tragedy, sickness, etc.). But we know the night has passed and the morning sun brings a new week of utter joy and gratefulness to God as we introduce Benjamin Rodriguez III, born this day at 11:38 am.
Today is my oldest daughter’s fifth birthday. Wow, that’s not really a long time, but quite a bit has happened since then. When Brinley was born our parenting life was born too. She’s taught us so much in a short time and it’s a good thing too, because the twin girls turn two soon and we will welcome our first son, Ben any day now (due date was last Saturday). If you asked me in 2003 (10 years ago) where would I be and how many kids would I have, I would have answered married with a child or two. Though I knew Jen was out there somewhere and that I would be with her was of no doubt, but four children? No way would I have envisioned me being so lucky. Before she was born I bought a library full of books on raising daughters, and they gave me some good tidbits. But the learning she’s provided for me has been priceless. As much as we want to teach our kids (the Golden Rule, proper manners, skills, etc.) it is inevitable that they are our teachers as well. Though some things I’ve learned are almost common sense, here are a few items I’ve picked up :
- If changing diapers were a martial art I would be Bruce Lee. With three (4th is eminent) kids running around, the words “I don’t do diapers” doesn’t cut it. Besides, it’s better to get rid of the mess than try to ignore it and stinking up the house.
- A little crying will help the soul. Kids learn to manipulate very early and sometimes kids should get their way (good advocacy skills), other times letting them cry and learn to adjust to not getting what they want is a very good thing.
- The small stuff-When arguing with Brinley about getting dressed and you want to scream, I’ve realized that letting her put on non-matching socks isn’t the end of the world. After learning that this is the cool thing with some youngsters, I learned to take a breath, let her exercise her initiative and move to something more important.
- Give them things to do-Kids need to be engaged and the more items we arrange for them to do, the better (crafts, chores, sports, games, etc.)
- Kids need to understand the responsibilities of life, but this has to be balanced with letting them know they are the most important thing in our lives.
- They learn by observing and doing, not verbal commands alone (I’ve tried). Brinley and all of the kids have watched and learned from watching me, Jen, their Abuela, Nana, Grandpa, Abuelo, Titi, Uncle…
- Most importantly, seeing yourself through their eyes gives you the most important perspective you can ever have.
There’s more to learn in the future (God help me for the teen years) but it’s been a great five years. That’s my take.
For the second time in my life, I’ve witnessed a tragic terrorist (Political agenda or no, indiscriminate killing is terrorism, either foreign or domestic) event from the lens of a city I love, and lived in for over five years, Boston. On September 11, 2001 I worked in a high-rise in downtown Boston. Patriots Day is one of my favorite local holidays. The holiday celebrates the battle of Lexington and Concord and is marked by historical re-enactments, the Boston Marathon and the annual Red Sox game at 11:00 am. It’s truly a day of celebration throughout the city. My favorite book as a child was April Morning by Howard Fast, telling a fictional depiction of a boy experiencing the beginning of the Revolutionary War and it has stuck in my mind since yesterday.
Yesterday, terrorists shattered this day with bombs, killing three and injuring many more. One of the dead is a boy, running to hug his father at the finish line. The boy’s sister and mother are alive but badly injured. I felt helpless and sad, seeing the stain of blood and hearing the statistics as the news reports came in. My immediate reaction was to call family/friends that live in Boston and everybody I know was fine. I debriefed with a friend since boyhood and that was also my roommate during the 9/11 attacks and still lives there. Just like 2001, we shared feelings of anger and sadness.
This is still new and we’re all still processing this. But what stands out are three things:
1) What gutless bastards did this? How long before we string them up? I have a hunch it will be soon.
2) The acts of heroism are still being heard. I take pride, through the tears that I write this blog, in how many people ran into the danger, rather than ran away from it. Joe Andruzzi, former New England Patriot is pictured carrying a girl to safety. The EMT’s, police, National Guard, first responders, average citizens that helped others without hesitation all are in my thoughts today along with those killed or injured. The scum that did this are a joke next to our heroes.
3) Whatever the intent, Boston is angry, not intimidated. Boston is as blue-collar a town there is. Will Middlebrooks, third-baseman for the Red Sox stated on Twitter “Wrong city to mess with… #Boston”. That’s my take. More to come on this.
Since the advent of TV on DVD (and even more so since the creation of Netflix's instant streaming service), I've been a shameless proselytizer for the many excellent TV programs of the last, say, decade and a half that I've caught up on once their original audiences moved on or well after the original audience arrived, anyway. The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, …