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Posts from the ‘Parenthood’ Category

My dad’s stunning response when I told him off

A few weeks after my first child was born, I told my dad off. At the heart of my complaints was one central failure: Ever since I was a kid, he had failed to show up. Read more

The last three words I said to my dad

Last summer, my dad was in crisis.

He was in the hospital after another near miss with death, and based on his track record, it would kill him if he went back to his old apartment and tried to live independently. And while I couldn’t imagine sending him to a nursing facility, we didn’t have a lot of options. Read more

I couldn’t believe these were my father’s final words to me

Last autumn, my brother Caleb and I knew our father didn’t have much time left. He had been in the hospital intensive care unit three times in one year and although his mind was clear, his heart was failing. But he refused to admit it – and that presented a minor problem. Read more

That time my dad beat up the neighbor: a lesson in masculinity

When I was five years old, I was playing outside one day when a wild man in an old truck sped into our driveway and slammed on the breaks. Thank God my dad was there.

“Get your boy out here!” yelled the middle-aged man, who threatened to assault my 12-year-old brother, whom he accused of something. I couldn’t hear what the accusation was –all I knew was that the man was serious. As it turned out, however, my dad was more serious. Read more

The terrifying moment my daughter thought she was going to drown

I stood in the shallow end of the swimming pool waiting for my sobbing 5-year-old daughter to jump in. This had been going on for almost 15 minutes.

“I’m scared,” she cried. Read more

What happened when my daughter saw me kiss my wife

The day my oldest daughter was born, I held her in my arms in the hospital and made two promises: “First, I promise I will never leave your mother; and second, I’ll show up. I’ll do everything I can to be at your recitals and ball games and dinner around the table.” Read more

One thing my son doesn’t need from me

I had a plan yesterday morning. When I got back from the gym at 5:30, I was going to write until 7:00 a.m. But it was not to be. A baby and his dirty diaper was going to ruin it all. Read more

I Still Hear My Dad Saying These Words

When I was seven years old, my dad took my brother and me on a hike around our small town in south Mississippi. That hike would turn into one of the most terrifying moments of my life. Read more

A Painful Apology to a Kid at Church

I did not enjoy going to church last Sunday.

I took my three kids to the service by myself because my wife wasn’t feeling well. The journey started out well enough — we were in the car and only running 12 minutes behind when we pulled out of the driveway. But it was all downhill from there. Read more

10 Things My Parents Got Right

A lot of folks like me hit their 20s or 30s and suddenly realize all the things their parents got wrong. The blame rolls in. Our insecurities, troubles with romance, inability to develop healthy friendships, whatever — all of it comes back to mom and pop. If only they hadn’t done this or that, we would be healthy and whole.

When my parents divorced after years of trying to keep it together, I didn’t know what to do with their relationship. In the back of my mind, I knew there were bright moments, but I simplified things by seeing their relationship as one big mistake. Read more