Monthly Archives: February 2011

Graham Cracker Life Lessons

My son’s deep-seated need for symmetry and consistency can really infuriate me.

I’m very messy. I understand why you’d think journalists are very detail-oriented people who sit in offices filled with color-coded and alphabetized file folders, but my desk is ridiculously cluttered. My office is littered with hundreds of small, thin notebooks full of my scribbles. Some of them are years old. Yellowing newspapers are stacked against every wall, some of them toppling over and leaking down to the floor when the piles get too high. AP Style books, source books, calendars and a bevy of public documents make up the rest my office’s interior design scheme. There’s no system or method to my madness. I just do what I do and find what I need. And I don’t make a big deal out of it.

But not Will. No sir.

If he’s playing with dinosaurs they all must be accounted for. T-Rex? Check. Stegosaurus? Check. Iguanodon? Iguanodon?? Oh shit. Where the fuck is that Iguanodon?! Hell, even when all the dinosaurs are present in the living room there are still rules. They have to be lined up in a row directly in front of him. The dog can’t be anywhere near him. His stuffed monkey has to be within arm’s reach, with its face directed towards the action so it doesn’t miss anything.

But as bad as the toys are, his OCD when it comes to food is exponentially worse.

Will likes chicken, never red meat. Chicken nuggets are his favorite (preferably McDonald’s), but they CANNOT be cut up into pieces. Chicken nuggets must be eaten whole. However, if I cook chicken tenders, those absolutely need to be cut up. I made the mistake one day of asking him about this double standard. He looked at me with his brow furrowed and his nose scrunched up in disgust, and simply said “Are you serious dad?” He made me feel like such an idiot, I never brought it up again.

He prefers his drinks in a sippy cup, but we’ve essentially nixed those at this point. So he’ll grudgingly accept a big boy cup. But you need to let him choose between blue and green. God help you if you make that decision for him. And when you present him with his food it can’t be touching on the plate. Chicken is separate from ketchup which is not touching the broccoli. Fork on the right side of the plate. Drink on the left. On a placemat.

This is diametrically opposed to my affinity for mixing everything on my plate together and shoveling it straight into my pie-hole.

But that’s fine. I get that kids are picky, especially when it comes to food. So I’m used to the routine by now. That’s really saying something because at first I refused to bend to my son’s rigid demands. But I’m better now. Except, of course, when it comes from out of the blue and results in whining.

A few days ago Will asked for a graham cracker. I obliged. And because I’m in the know, I gave him a whole cracker without any imperfections because I know he likes to break them perfectly in half along the designated lines on the cracker. But after I gave it to him and went back to the kitchen, he started screaming his face off.

He broke the cracker, but not in the right place. Instead of a smooth and even break down the middle, this was jagged and split the graham into unequal portions. And Will was not pleased. At all.

Not to mention it was the last cracker. Of course it was the last cracker.

I tried to tell him it still tastes the same and how you break the cracker is irrelevant. I attempted to calm him down and make him listen to reason. But in the end that proved about as ineffective as trying to wrestle a briefcase of cocaine away from Charlie Sheen. Eventually I lost my temper and told him to stop whining and toughen up.

A couple of hours later, after Will had gone to bed, I thought about what just happened. I was so frustrated by what I considered a very silly reason to be so upset. The damn graham cracker tastes the same whether you eat it whole, break in half or crush it up. His dinosaurs are still fun to play with even if they’re scattered all around the room and not lined up like prehistoric British soldiers gearing up for battle. His dinner gets mixed up together in his stomach after he eats it, so what’s the big deal about having it presented ever-so-precisely on the plate?

And then I realized I’m a cynical and jaded adult, and Will’s predilections are based on a child’s innocence.

He wants it to be perfect because perfection is still his norm. A collection of toys eternally at his disposal lined up as he sees fit. Three meals a day prepared by loving parents just the way he likes it. Graham cracker snacks neatly broken in half much to his delight. Some might say Will is spoiled, I don’t see it that way. In my mind, he’s just got two parents (and a network of friends and family) who love him like hell, and do whatever they can to make his life as perfect as possible.

The sad part is thinking of kids, even as young as Will, who wouldn’t bat an eyelash at these small flaws because they’ve never had anyone work to make their world perfect. They don’t complain about their toys being out of place because they only have one. Or none. And they’re certainly not whining about how their food is presented because maybe they’re lucky just to get food. Same with toys.

Eventually Will will learn, as we all have, that life is not perfect or symmetrical. He’ll be fully aware the pot of money isn’t always equal to the pile of bills. That life is messy and filled with jagged edges . He’ll be fully aware that’s the way the graham cracker crumbles.

But right now all he knows is perfection. How things should be. So the next time he’s crying about some little inconsistency in his life, I’ll be smiling. Because every time he gets upset about that stuff, it means he hasn’t yet succumbed to another one of life’s inevitable letdowns. It means he’s not yet used to disappointment as the norm. It means we’re still doing our job as parents.

Or he just really hates uneven graham crackers.

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The Dark Side of the Internet

My  “Confronting Life” article went viral over at the Good Men Project on Oct. 23, 2010. It currently has 775 comments and 678 people “liked” it on Facebook. It’s the most widely read piece they’ve had on the site and even today—four months exactly after it was first posted—it’s third on the “most popular articles today” list. It was featured over at Salon where it garnered more than 200 comments and 11,000 Facebook likes. And finally on YouTube, the video of me engaging the anti-choice protesters currently has 791,053 views with over 8,000 comments.

What does that all mean? It means for the last four months not a single day has passed when I haven’t gotten a comment or e-mail about what happened.

And for the most part, that’s been a good thing.

I’ve gotten hundreds—possibly thousands—of uplifting and supportive comments and e-mails from people all over the world. The ones I treasure most are the extraordinarily personal e-mails from women who said they were in similar situations and needed an abortion, but no one was there with them when protesters tore their world apart. They described how they wished they had the strength to say something at the time, and how grateful they were that someone finally did. I kept every one of those e-mails and I read them from time to time to remind myself that what I did was worth it.

I’d say 95% of the responses I’ve received have been positive, which is an overwhelming number for which I’m eternally appreciative. But I have to admit, that 5% has really pissed me off.

I knew this would garner a lot of attention, both positive and negative. So I knew I had to prepare myself to let the ignorant comments from fundamentalist Christians and pro-life zealots roll off my back. But for someone as opinionated as myself, that’s not easy. And when they’re attacking me personally, as well as my family, it gets even more difficult.

For the most part I ignored them, but sometimes they just got me so worked up I jumped back into the fray. I regretted it immediately and I know that’s exactly what they want, but these people are just so nuts. And so wrong. Here are a few examples of what I’ve been dealing with.

You didn’t HAVE to abort your dying infant. You CHOSE to. You could have tried with all of your heart to save the baby, you could have at least given it a chance. Most fathers would do anything to save their child from disaster or disease, but you and your wife decided to murder your baby without even giving it a chance at life. So what if the baby was dying, there was still some chance that it would have lived. Maybe it would have have been disabled, but it would have lived.

and

Even though your baby was most likely going to die you should not kill it..let life run its natural causre. And maybe with some faith and prayer your child might survive. And you wouldn’t regret later killing your child. And what those women were doing was just telling the truth..its not their fault that your baby has that disease dont yell at them.

Forget the fact that renowned doctors gave Alex a ZERO PERCENT chance at life. That she had no kidneys, no bladder and no anus. We weren’t worried about our baby being disabled, we were devastated she would not survive. People like this would have us pray for a miracle that somehow medical science will find a way to spontaneously grow vital organs for a still-developing fetus within five months. Their advice is don’t listen to the doctors, but instead I should talk to the an invisible deity in the sky and ask him for help. Riiiight. But here on Planet Earth, MJ and I knew there was no point in her carrying around a dead baby for five more months just to avoid the stigma of having an abortion. And anyone who can’t see that is dumber than rocks.

Speaking of dumber than rocks:

I don’t doubt that you and your wife had a very hard decision. But you wimped out. That child was living and didn’t deserve to die regardless of your religious beliefs, regardless of your lack of heroic virtue in caring for those who needed it most. If a thug attacked your wife and the baby miscarried due to the attack, you would have had every right to prosecute him for attacking both your wife and your unborn. It’s a double standard that you refuse to acknowledge. And you should have looked beyond the faults of local protestors to see that you and your wife compromised your values and deprived your unborn the right to exist. I find this whole charade deplorably lacking and see you as someone who is not manly enough to shoulder heroic responsibilities.

Really? You’re comparing this to a mugger attacking my wife? You’re comparing my sick child with no chance of surviving outside the womb, to someone who mugs a living person on the street? Just checking. And the part about MJ and I “compromising our values” is hysterical. Unlike most “pro-life” people, I actually do value life. But I can’t turn a blind eye to the fact that Alex had a condition incompatible with life. So instead of making the baby suffer along with my wife, we simply decided to speed up the inevitable. If anything, I look at it as an act of kindness. Was it difficult? Hell yes. But making the right choice can be hard.

This guy is not a hero, nor a winner. He’s a malicious big mouth loser.

I actually agree with some of what this person is saying. No one won in our ordeal, so I’m certainly not a winner. And I’m also not a hero. Not by any stretch. I even went out of my way to avoid the use of that word and corrected anyone who labeled me as such. And yes, I have a big mouth. But one needs that in order to properly battle back against even larger malicious losers such as yourself.

Perhaps the most vociferous commenter has been trolling my YouTube account for four solid months. He is relentlessly pro-life and unabashedly Catholic. Which is fine. I don’t agree, but to each his own. But the problem arose recently when he suddenly stopped arguing about abortion and the video, and then stated that I faked the whole incident and that I beat my wife.

These women, when confronted with an angry guy who obviously beats women but runs away when men appear, were more non-plussed than anything. They have no idea who Angry McScreamy is, doubtless because they’ve never seen him before, because he made the whole story up.

I wrote earlier that he scrams at, and beats his wife, on a regular basis, for no reason at all. I’d like to apologize for that. What I should have written was that he screams at and beats his wife on a regular basis, but when and only when she deserves it. I regret the error.

That’s when I fed the troll.

You can say a lot of bad things about me. That’s fine. But to claim I beat my wife is ridiculous. Not to mention libel, since it is totally untrue. Had those protesters been men, I would’ve confronted them the same way. Nothing would’ve changed. I never swore at those women. I kept my distance from them so they wouldn’t feel threatened. I engaged them on a public sidewalk in a nonviolent manner. But because these people have no valid argument for the despicable behavior of the protesters, they need to try to invent some kind of wrongdoing on my part to shift attention from the real issue. But it won’t work.

And as for the domestic violence allegations, all I can say to the person who made that comment is you better hope you get me in a fight and not my wife. Because you might be able to take me, but MJ will destroy your ignorant ass.

Lastly, speaking of fighting, I got this e-mail a couple of days ago from a truly idiotic man who highlights the level of moronic thought from the opposing side.

So, I saw the video where you act like a real man an attack a couple of older women protesting. Do not even ATTEMPT to claim it was out of an emotional response since you a)filmed it and b) put it on the internet. Where do you get off screaming like a lunatic at a few protesters at an abortion clinic? What did you expect at an instituion where the chief motive is to kill babies? And yes, I said babies, and if you ever saw the silent scream you would agree. I’m sorry for your loss; I couldn’t imagine how it would feel to lose a child. However, the fact that you ripped into those women and put it online makes me want to fight you, like any man walking by should have. So my proposal is a one on one, no weapons or anything dirty, me vs. you. Just squaring up and proving to you that a loud voice does not make you a man.

Where to begin with this lunatic jackass?

By his rationale, no men should ever be able to publicly challenge older females. Even though said women are standing in a public place screaming across a crowded city street. Even though they’re holding asinine signs and drawing attention to themselves. By his deluded rationale, these women should be allowed to say whatever they want without consequences, simply because of their gender and age.

Furthermore, any man who does challenge them in a nonviolent way should be pummeled by any other “good” men who might be in the area. Because violence is always the best answer.

But I agree that having a loud voice does not make one a man. Similarly, winning a fistfight doesn’t make one a man either you pathetic excuse for a human being. These women verbally accosted my wife and made her hysterical before surgery, on one of the most difficult days of our lives.

So, Mr. Tough Guy, let me ask you this: What’s more manly than standing up for your wife and defending her against the people who hurt her? Because that’s what I did. And I did it on video to show people how hurtful these protesters are, and how much damage they cause. If you want to fight me for that, well…that’s your issue. I’m not that tough, maybe you’ll even win. But that’s not going to stop me from doing the exact same thing if I’m ever in a similar situation in the future. Because I did the right thing. The necessary thing.

And none of your threats or piddly little e-mails are ever going to change that. And in the meantime, I smile as I watch the YouTube hits climb higher and higher, because it means more people are getting a first-hand glimpse at how cruel and ridiculous the people who sent these e-mails really are.

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Our Toy Story on Ice Experience

Pixar images and characters ©Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

I’m not a fan of figure skating or most musicals. As big of a sports fan as I am, I don’t even like hockey since I can’t skate a lick. Basically if it has anything to do with ice I’m probably tuning out.

But on Saturday, the Boston Bruins’ home ice was transformed into a living, breathing, triple-toe-looping rendition of Toy Story 3.  And Will LOVED it.

I had no idea what to expect because I can’t remember attending anything like this as a kid, and certainly not as a parent. First of all I wondered if Will would even sit through a two-hour performance. He’s not even 3 yet and I feared a meltdown halfway through. I also wondered if all the lights and hoopla would scare him. And finally, I wondered if I’d be able to get through such a performance without copious amounts of Sam Adams.

Turns out my worries were moot.

First of all, we took the train into Boston and that was almost as exciting as the show for Will. The kid loves trains and all he kept saying was “Subway train take us to Boston Garden!” As an added bonus, we got to go with our good friends Alicia and Vic, and our godson Vic III. They were absolutely enthralled by the subway and could barely contain themselves.

When we got to the Garden it was a madhouse! There were kids everywhere and the noise dwarfed even the most rowdy Celtics and Bruins crowds. Although the amount of vomit and errant urine on the floor remained the same.

Our seats revealed a spectacular view of the ice, but we still hadn’t told Will exactly what was going on. That’s why what happened next was so cool.

As much as he loves Toy Story, Will’s first love is Mickey Mouse. So when Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy made a surprise appearance on the ice before the show, he was floored. He didn’t like it very much when Mickey went away, and he wasn’t too impressed with Andy figure skating around the ice to open the show. But then the lights dimmed, the music started to crescendo and suddenly the main cast burst out onto the ice with a roar.

But I wasn’t watching that. I wanted to see Will’s reaction. I was hoping for that picture-perfect moment when he sees Ham, Rex, Woody, Buzz, Jessie and Bullseye and flips out with happiness. That didn’t happen though. Instead, he was stunned. Happily stunned, but absolutely overcome with sensory overload. Basically his expression looked like mine would have if the Swedish Bikini Team walked into my house naked while telling me I won the lottery and presenting me with a check for $20 million.

For the next hour he didn’t move. He just stared. The kid who gets distracted by shiny (and even not-so-shiny) objects was GLUED to the action on the ice. The costumes were part of it (did they have midgets skating in the two-man Bullseye and Slinky Dog outfits??) but the other part was the skating. It was like a mini Olympics out there, with some truly skilled performers gliding, leaping and even flying around the ice. I was impressed.

The Woody’s Round-Up segment was a big crowd-pleaser, and I really liked the collection of Green Army Men who displayed some impressive synchronicity. I thought the Barbie and Ken part lasted too long (and was more than a little suggestive), but it probably went over the kids’ heads.

But as great as the show itself was, the second half was ruined by two of the rudest people on the face of the Earth sitting behind us.

Two women and a young boy, about 4, sat behind us after the intermission. I heard them coming a mile away, thanks to their loud and obnoxious entrance. And as the performers came out for the second act, one woman screamed a loud “WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!” that caused Will to cover his ears and gave us all a whiff of the Bloody Marys she was consuming prior to the show. The next 10 minutes consisted of her and the other woman giving an ignorant running commentary of every single that happened.

“Yeah Barbie, you go girl!”

“Oooh Oooh Oooh, I love this song: I’m walkin’ on sunshine…WOAH OH!”

“Ohmygodohmygod, Potato Head lost his eye. YOUR EYE FELL OFF POTATO HEAD!”

Alicia and Vic were sitting farther down the row and eying them with just as much contempt. But when Alicia turned to give them a stern look, she was floored. Apparently these two women were a couple, which is fine. But what wasn’t fine was the fact that they were inappropriately groping each other’s lady parts during the frickin’ show!

My wife, who hadn’t seen the public display of affection, finally turned around and asked them to quiet down. But because they were quite obviously white trash morons, they started jawing back at us. At which point I turned around and joined in the argument. That’s when they dropped this doozy on us:

“What’s your problem? You have issues with lesbians sitting here and enjoying themselves?”

First of all I hadn’t even realized they were gay. Second, I didn’t give a shit. Which is why I said “I don’t care if you’re gay, straight or have sex with farm animals. Take a cue from your well-behaved kid and shut up and watch the show. Because right now you sound ridiculously dumb.

But they didn’t quiet down. Instead they got a little louder and wouldn’t stop making comments about me and MJ. And then, I heard one of them not-so-quietly whisper “I bet their kid’s a real brat.”

Oh no no no you didn’t.

I turned around and asked them if that was their kid. They said yes. Then I got heated:

“Well I was just wondering, because he seems extraordinarily well-behaved. Certainly better than his ignorant, loud-mouthed parents who are making fools of themselves at a kids’ show. My kid has been covering his ears and turning around to ‘shoosh’ you because even he’s got better manners than you do. So why don’t you do the rest of us a favor and crawl back to the uneducated hole you came from.”

As you can imagine, the rest of the show wasn’t so pleasant. I know I could’ve called security, but their kid was really sweet and he was enjoying himself. Kids shouldn’t be punished because of how stupid their parents are.

Anyways, the show was fantastic despite the distractions. And anyone who lives in New England should make it a point to visit Disney on Ice and check out showtimes. It’s running all this week (school vacation) through Feb. 27. For $25 per ticket you get Lower Loge seats, which are great, but if you want to upgrade you can pay $55 for VIP floor seats or $90 for front row.

Also, I recommend doing what MJ did beforehand. The amount of ridiculously overpriced toys that light up and spin around are endless. And your kid WILL want one. But MJ went out and bought some inexpensive Toy Story toys at the store before the show, so Will already had a new toy to play with. Granted he still wanted the “cool” toys, but we avoided a full-blown meltdown because he already had something to play with.

But it’s definitely worth the money and your kids will flippin’ love it!

DISCLAIMER: Our tickets were provided free of charge by Feld Entertainment. However, as always, my opinions are my own.

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No Apologies

from www.parentszone.com

I was picking Will up from preschool yesterday when I turned the corner and saw him and another boy pushing each other.

Normally this would be no big deal, but this has been an issue all week. When we ask him what he did at school, he says “(Name of kid) punched me.” Then he says he punched him back. I talked to the teachers but they haven’t seen anything like that going on. Toddlers have a tendency to lie sometimes, or at the very least stretch the truth. But when I caught him red-handed, I got ready to dole out some fatherly pearls of wisdom.

I walked over to Will and the other boy and I told Will hitting is wrong. I told him he should always try to use his words. And then I told him to apologize.

That’s when the weirdness started. Will’s teacher came over and I filled her in on what went down. But I told her not to worry because I already addressed it and Will had already apologized to the other kid. And that’s when she dropped a bombshell on me.

“Oh. Well we don’t have kids this young say ‘I’m sorry’ to each other.”

The quizzical look on my face prompted her to continue.

“The philosophy at this school is that kids this age don’t have a full understanding of what ‘I’m sorry’ means. So if we made them say it, they wouldn’t understand it and essentially they’d be lying.”

I love our preschool. It’s done wonders for Will and I’m appreciative. But that shit is just ridiculous. My son is 2 years and 10 months old. But dammit he knows the difference between right and wrong. And more important, he knows what it is to be sorry and when he should feel guilty. Like the times I catch him grabbing the cat’s fur. I don’t even have to say a word—I just give him a look—and he immediately stops and says “Sorry Dad.” Because he knows it’s wrong to do that. Just like he knows it’s wrong to hit.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Our preschool also avoids time-outs because they think they’re unproductive. I disagree. I think when used properly, time-outs are very effective. I’m also not opposed to spanking my son under extreme circumstances. Not that I would ever want any school doling out corporal punishment on my son. I’m just saying I think going soft on the kids all the time with no fear of real punishment is counter-productive.

It’s just disheartening that the wussification of our kids starts this young. Instead of a stern talking-to, time-out or a mandated apology, now we have “redirection” and positive reinforcement. I can just imagine these kids sitting around in a “Circle of Feelings” or some other such bullshit. Instead of getting all new-agey and ridiculous, just make them apologize and shake hands. And perhaps a time-out and some loss of play time would deter them from doing it again.

Kids this age know what’s what. If they hurt another kid, of course they should be made to apologize. Hell, we taught Will manners before he could even talk by teaching him sign language for “please” and “thank you.” He had no friggin clue about those concepts, but it’s a good habit to get him into. Just like apologizing when you do something wrong.

I get the distinct feeling the feel-good, everybody’s-a-special-winner mentality of today’s educational philosophy is going to rub me the wrong way for years to come.

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We Lost the Baby

“Oh please, not again.”

That was my initial reaction after MJ called me late Friday morning to tell me she was having cramps. It’s funny, because despite never having been pregnant (and obviously lacking the anatomical requirements for such a feat), I believe I have an unbelievable handle on women’s cramping. The ones in her stomach and back are par for the course. But these cramps were different. They started in her stomach and went into her thighs. The same cramps she got just before she went into labor with Will. Not good.

Our doctor told us to head immediately to a diagnostic facility in Falmouth. The same place we received our not-so-tactful news about Alexandra eight months ago. As if it wasn’t unnerving enough to be reminded of that awful day, my heart sank into my feet when they led us into the exact same examination room where we got the fateful diagnosis.

With a passing glance, MJ and I simultaneously gave up hope right then and there.

The uber-chipper ultrasound tech squirted out some gel and began searching the contents of MJ’s uterus. She searched for a while. Then a few minutes more. But there was nothing there. Just an empty sac. Three weeks ago MJ  housed a tiny blob with a flickering heartbeat, for which I had been so grateful. But now there’s no flicker. Of life or of hope.

We filed out of the office without looking at one another. I’m usually good with words, but what do you say to someone after four lost babies? It’s all been said. The tears have all been cried. We hit rock bottom last summer with Alexandra and the hateful protesters, and I think both of us truly believed this pregnancy would be some kind of Karmic reward for having endured that hell. After all, we just want one more child. We’re not John & Kate. We simply want our son to have a brother or a sister. And this baby was going to complete our family.

But it looks like our family is done growing.

I don’t know why neither of cried on Friday. Maybe we were in shock. Or perhaps we’re used to this by now. Four miscarriages in five years will do that to you. And it could be this will all hit me like a ton of bricks in a few days, but this weekend something pretty miraculous happened.

I fell in love with my wife all over again.

There are all kinds of bravery. Soldiers who fight to protect us. Firemen who rush into burning buildings to save lives. But then there are ordinary people like my wife, who—as it turns out—are anything but ordinary. One miscarriage is hard enough. Two really sucks. The third was Alexandra, and that ordeal was enough to push most people right over the edge. But MJ stayed sane. And not only that, she mustered up the courage to try again. To put herself in a situation with a fairly good chance to have her heart crushed again. And yes, unfortunately that ended up happening. But that shouldn’t take away from how brave it was to even try for another child after all this shit.

It’s easy for us to whine about “why us?” There are unexpected and unwanted pregnancies that yield healthy babies everyday. There are women who are crack addicts who miraculously give birth to babies without health problems. These women don’t want their kids and probably won’t treat them well. Meanwhile we’re desperate for a second child who we can love forever, yet we are treated to nothing but heartbreak.

But there are people out there who have had more miscarriages than us. And some of them don’t have a Will. Those poor couples don’t have a beautiful, kind, miraculous baby boy to adore and squeeze and love until it hurts. We do. And I’ve never been more grateful for that.

But the fact remains, I’m feeling pretty jilted.

I’m writing this from the hospital waiting room. It’s Valentine’s Day. Instead of roses, chocolates and dinner, MJ is having a D&C. It’s a day created solely for recognizing the love in our life, and my wife is literally having the life sucked out of her. It’s not right and she deserves better.

The silver lining is the reaffirmation of my feelings for my wife. My hero. Some couples have it easy. They get married, buy a house, get pregnant and have perfect children in a Barbie dream house. Am I a little jealous of them? Sometimes. But we have something they don’t. MJ and I are battle-tested. Our relationship has hit landmine after landmine, but we’re still here. And not only that, we have a deeper appreciation for each other than ever. It would be so easy to resent each other and throw in the towel. But as I gazed at her Friday night, taking it all in stride, the only explosion I felt was my heart expanding to an unprecedented level to accommodate all my love for her.

Not to mention my love for all of you. My in-laws and my parents for helping out with Will. Alicia for coming out on Friday night, as well as Dave and Amanda for keeping us company, keeping us laughing and literally fighting me to pay for the bill. All of my friends who called, texted and e-mailed. And last but certainly not least, hundreds of you who dropped me a line on Twitter or through the blog. Make fun of the Internet all you want, but the support you have provided us is real. Tangible. And we are eternally grateful on a level you can’t possibly comprehend.

In a few hours I’ll pick up my groggy and worn wife, and I’ll spend the rest of the day caring for her. I’ll pick up my son and bring him home from preschool. Then I’m going to hug them until they can’t stand it anymore. Because as much as I’d love to complete our family, the family I have has already completed me.

And that makes me a lucky man.

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