Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Doors only close if you let them

Sixteen years ago, I met a guy and decided that my life needed to finally move in the direction it was supposed to. I needed to be the man I really was. It was the best decision I ever made.

But in doing so, I closed a door I figured would never be opened again.

I never understood how I could be so paternal if I wasn't going to have kids. It was what I had wished for all my life. People always said I was great with their children. A good friend at that time made me godfather of her son. My favorite line of all came from my friend Karen, "Steve's the only gay man I know who carry on two conversations at a restaurant and still cut my kid's food up."

If that was as close to fatherhood as I could get, so be it. The cards were dealt and who was I to question things.

And then 6 years ago today, the call came. Two wonderful women who had asked us to parent with them, were on the other end of the phone announcing that our son was born.

Regardless if you are at the end of a telephone line or an umbilical cord, to hear you've become a parent is the greatest thing life has to offer.

My son, you constantly amaze me with the things you say and way you think. It scares me to think you trust me enough to be your dad. You should only know how important I take this responsibility. You are the greatest gift I have ever received.

May this year be as happy as the previous five. I hope you be feel challenged, rewarded, exhilarated and loved. I know I do.

Happy Birthday, Corey.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A rose by any other name

Parenting is always about lessons; sometimes they are given and sometimes they are learned.

Corey and I were in the bathroom at my folk's house. I was shaving and he came in to pottie. As he finished, he grabbed a wad of toilet paper and wiped his penis.

"Dude, you should shake your penis when you pee. Don't wipe it with toilet paper."

"Why?" he asked.

"Well, because most boys shake it. Wiping is for #2 or for girls."

He immediately turned into a 6 year old and began shaking his whole body like he's doing a hula dance. "Look at me. I"m shaking my wiener."

I tried not to laugh as I corrected him. "You only need to hold it with your hand and shake it. Don't move your whole body. And by the way, it's called a penis, not a wiener."

He looked over and sighed. "Daddy, your wiener IS your penis."


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Oh, the Places You've Bean

One of the highlights of our trip to Chicago was a visit to Millennium Park downtown. If you haven't been, you definitely should make a stop the next time you are there.

The park has an enormous concert pavilion, a lavishly planted garden, a crazy fountain that kids (and adults) can play in. And there is the bean.

The bean is this giant ..well, bean that is entirely covered in mirrors. The whole surface reflects the entire city skyline. You can walk under & around it and at every angle you can see all that surrounds you.

This was Corey's favorite activity. He would run around it and try to wedge himself as far under it as possible. He made my dad try to see if they could push it over. And he just loved admiring himself any chance he could get. (Yeah, genetic material is a mighty powerful thing, isn't it?)

We stayed for about 40 minutes and could barely pry him away. It was only the promise of getting to run around in the fountain that made him move on.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Best Question to Get

This morning, Corey came out of his bedroom and joined me in the family room. Larry and I were the first ones up and watching TV with our coffee. He looks around and notices that we are the only two people there.

"Where's your dad? Can he play with me this morning?"


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Back in Cambodia

We were downtown Chicago today enjoying a trip along the river on the famous First Lady Architecture Tour. Since we arrived a few minutes early, we got a pleasant surprise.

Next to where the tours depart is the Chicago Tribune Building which has an interesting history. As the building was being built in the 1920's, the architects incorporated some of the rocks and stones that reporters had brought back over the years from their various trips.

Stones came from the Alamo, Notre Dame, the pyramids, the Parthenon and even the great wall of China.

And sure enough, there was one from...


The Adventure (people) Begins

How do you explain to a child about time zones? I'm sitting here blogging at 5:50 am because Corey is wide awake at 7 am...Eastern standard time.

He and Larry arrived yesterday to join me in spending some time at my folks in Chicago. Corey slept most of the flight and promptly called me upon landing to say "Pop-pop and me are ready for you and Grandpa to picked us up. And my tummy is hungry too." He's a pretty good traveler and an even better guest.

The first thing he did when he got into the house was run to the basement where all the toys are kept. We had to remind him to hug and kiss his grandparents first and then he promptly brought out all our old Star Wars figures and Adventure People.

I spent my whole childhood doing imagination play. My first love as a child had been the wooden Fisher Price castle, barn, airport, etc., but those we replaced by Adventure People in the early 70's.

Since these were reasonably inexpensive, it was not uncommon to get 1 or 2 each holiday. My brother and I owned at least 15 of the sets including the rescue helicopter, Wilderness Patrol, Sea Explorer, Motorcross Team, Safari and Northwoods Trailblazer. And in my crazy imaginative mind, all of them interacted and it was not uncommon for me to get lost in play for hours.

I was always pretty good about not losing many of the pieces even though I played extensively with these. Since my parents saved many of our old toys, most are in good enough to snag $40-50 on eBay.

It is sometimes scary to see the characteristics your child takes from you. Corey is certainly blond, left-handed, easily frustrated and sensitive, but to watch him get lost for hours in play makes me happy to see him enjoy the same things I did 30 years earlier.

Part of me always thought we'd sell these toys after this generation grew out of them, but I think it would be fun to save them for my grandkids someday.

Hopefully, that is along way off.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Feel the Magic

Hi Blog,

Remember me? Yeah, I know...it's been a while. Nothing personal, I swear. I just sort of tired out and didn't think I had that much to say. But I've returned and will try to keep more connected.

I'm actually in Chicago. My company's annual meeting is here in my hometown. It is great when you get a free trip to visit people just because you have a business trip there as well.

I'll be staying downtown until Tuesday and then head out to my parents. Larry & Corey will fly out Wednesday morning and then we will visit through the weekend.

The meeting has gone well so far...given that it really only started this morning. I was at a convention center at O dark thirty this morning to set up for a meeting that would take place 2 hours later. However, the job wasn't too bad; I was running the 'green room' for Magic Johnson.

I'm not a huge a celebrity person. They are great but I don't get all worked up if I know they are coming or I get to meet them. (Christopher Meloni and Mike Rowe however...I would wet my pants to meet either of you.) Out side of both of them, it's not that big of a deal.

But it turns out my boss is a HUGE star-fucker. He LOVES meeting famous people and was in heaven to spend the morning with Magic.

Mr. Johnson (as he likes to be called) could not have been nicer. He's now involved with his own non-profit foundation that works to improve low income communities. He spoke to a bunch of community college administrators about the contribution of higher education to their communities back home.

I 'hosted' the VIP photo shoot prior to his speaking event. He took pictures with some of the administrators and of course, my boss. A few other staff got their photos taken as well. When they finished, my boss offered me the chance to get my photo taken. I politely declined figuring that Mr. Johnson was tired of the photos.

"You don't want to get your photo taken with me? Why not?" Magic turned to me and asked.

I looked up at this 6'9" giant towering over me.

"I'll be right there."