Things have been tough around the world lately. Lots of shouty words, lots of hurt feelings. And, sadly, lots of tragedy. Just something I've been thinking about.
Monday, June 20, 2016
I'm holding my daughter's hand.
She asks for my dad's hand: "Papa, can I see your hand?"
She examines the scars and freckles and protruding veins. He wiggles his fingers to make the veins move like worms, and she giggles.
She's clenching my hand on one side, and his hand on the other, and then she places my hand on top of his hand.
"Hold hands!" she demands. So we hold hands, while she traces veins and scars and freckles over both our hands.
I realize it's been decades since I held my dad's hand. I mean, I like the man. We hug each other (briefly) in greeting. I've shaken his hand here and there, sometimes in jest, sometimes on the way to that half-shake, half-embrace that men do. But it's probably been twenty years since I held my dad's hand the way I hold my daughter's hand.
It was a little strange. Strange because it had been so long, strange because grown men don't usually hold hands. Strange because I felt like I was six again, my hand clasped in his, and his hands were still just like I remembered them - strong, calloused, warm, and gentle.
Sunday, May 8, 2016
I admit it, I'm preoccupied by the way life comes into our Universe. I don't think I can understand its inception from a merely scientific perspective. But for that matter, I can't understand how the religious explain it, either. It's a miracle and a mystery that defies whatever intellectual or spiritual lense I endeavor to view it with.
All I can say is that the existence of life is amazing.
Setting aside, for a moment, the question of where it comes from, I'm equally floored by the way living things tenaciously refuse to be squashed by a supremely lethal, merciless Universe. That delicate creatures of any species can survive for any length of time in a reality that sprouted, as far we know, from a pinprick of ferocious heat and energy that defied even the laws of physics - - well, it's just too much to internalize. These are dots that I do not know how to connect, but that obviously, somehow, do connect.
Which is all to say: Mothers, I don't know how you do it. But keep up the good work.
Monday, February 29, 2016
I just returned from my second Dad 2.0 Summit (Dad 2.0 2.0, if you will). Last year I spoke on a panel about creativity and parenting, which was both horribly intimidating and exciting. This year I was able to skulk about a bit more, unobtrusively slipping in and out without quite so much pressure hanging over me. It was good to see a bunch of upstanding dudes intent on participating both at an intimate level in their own family, and on a larger scale in society, as men who value fatherhood and resolve to be better fathers and encourage others to do the same. I don't usually get sucked in by pop cultural movements or icons, but my wife shared this song by Kelly Clarkson the other night, and it tugged at my heart:
I have a great dad, so the song isn't specific to my own family life . . . but Lindsay and I have been talking a lot lately about what we can do for kids in need. It's a topic I'm sure I'll treat in more detail in this space in the future.
Meanwhile, during my free time, it was cool to walk my old haunts. I stopped by my favorite Smithsonian museums, and snapped a picture of the Andy Goldsworthy installation at the National Gallery for my friend Bill:
And the night before I returned home to our California mountains, I planned an 8-mile walking route through the monuments and back to my old neighborhood and alma mater.
And I took a picture of the tree beneath which my wife and I first kissed.
There's something special about revisiting origins, and I'm glad my family supported me in doing so. Thanks guys.