Category Archives: Holidays

Mother To Our Children


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The Cinnamon Girl is a mother to a blended family. I brought two, she brought one. That was ten years ago and I can say having been closer to the situation than anyone, that all three of our children have known The Cinnamon Girl as a mom.

What would a kid want in a mom if they could design her from scratch? Here is what I think:

I think they would want a mom who supports them in all that they do, who lets them know how special they are. I think they would want a mother who encourages them. The Cinnamon Girl has seen our children through freshman football and trumpet playing and softball tryouts and student council and job searches, college searches and homework assignments. And everything in between.

I think they would want a mom with a terrific sense of humor. The Cinnamon Girl does not only know how to laugh, she knows how to make our kids laugh.

I think they would want a mom with shoulders on which to cry. Each of them has had reason to turn to her in sorrow. Each felt better for doing so. The Cinnamon Girl makes the small hurts go away, the big hurts small and the impossible hurts easier to manage.

I think they would want a mom who is smart. I have seen it, time-and-again, seen The Cinnamon Girl give our children wise and wonderful advice. She gives them knowing advice. She gives them the advice they need. And she does not do this unless they ask her to do it.

I think they would want a mother who has their backs. Um, yeah. The Cinnamon Girl Has. Our. Kids’. Backs. Of that, there is no doubt. Do not cross a mother who is a lawyer. Do not do it.

I think they would want a mother who does not take the small stuff too seriously and who knows that the big stuff is not always as serious as it seems at first glance. The Cinnamon Girl has been so wonderful with our kids in these sorts of situations – the kinds that arise when you are a mom. They cannot be avoided. The Cinnamon Girl does not avoid them, she handles them with grace and confidence.

I think they would want a mom who loves them. If my children doubt this about The Cinnamon Girl, they have not been paying attention.

Happy Mother’s Day, my love.

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Mother’s Day 2017


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The Mater is a terrific mother. She has been for my entire life and I know that kind of thing does not just happen. I know that more now that I have been a father for 20 years. Being a good parent means being engaged, working at it, knowing it is a role that does not go away.

It has never gone away with my mother.

When I think of her now and what her legacy is, it is impossible not to think of her grandchildren who love her and adore her. And she loves and adores them.

It seems to me that they can do no wrong in her eyes and, likewise, she can do no wrong in theirs.

They love their grandma, no doubt.

But remember, kids, my sisters and I were here first. She’s our mom before she’s your grandma!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. You have been all a kid could ask for…

… and so much more.

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20/20 Vision – Happy Birthday, Stretch


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MatthewStretch turns 20 today. 10 x 2. 5 x 4. 2 decades.

I do not know how this happened so quickly.

I do not know where kid went, the one who, as a toddler, would wake up incredibly early – we are talking before 5:00am here – and drag me out of bed to play with his “guys” (his little plastic football players).

I do not know where that same kid who wanted to play every sport imaginable for as long as the days, weeks and seasons would last has gone.

I do not know where the boy who would sit in front of a computer screen playing “Backyard Football” hour-after-hour has run of to or where the kid who was sure he was going to be an NFL wide receiver or tight end has flown.

I have been looking for the guy who sat next to me at the conclusion of a frigid cold, heartbreaking Denver Bronco loss with a tear literally freezing running down his cheek.

Likewise, I have been searching out the student who sometimes asked me to read his papers and asked for help on his homework.

High and low I have sought the 6 foot 7, red robe wearing graduate I hugged as he walked across a special stage.

What I have found in these searches – what I have found with this new 20/20 vision of Stretch  now that he is 20 – is a young man on his way to adulthood. Well on his way.

I have found a young man upon whom others rely.

I have found a young man who cares deeply about his world and those around him.

I have found a prayerful young man, a passionate young man, a smart young man.

I have found a young man who it is both honor and privilege to call “son.”

And I have found just how lucky we, his bonus mom, his brother and sister and I are that he is in our family.

Happy birthday, Stretch. Many, many, many returns.

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Link’n’Blogs – 4.14.17 – Good Friday


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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

Good Friday and Holy Saturday (and all of Lent, actually) lead to one place: Easter Sunday and, even today on Good Friday, we are a resurrection people. Hey, even Times Square gets it! Take a look at the videos and praise God.

 

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20 Memories… 20 for HJ jr.


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It’s HJ jr’s 20th birthday today.

Twentieth.

He’s 20.

20-years-old.

To say this is difficult for me to believe is something of an understatement. See, I remember when he moved into his teenage years and now he’s moving out of them.

I remember when he had a collection of sticks and toy guns…

when he tried to remember every piece of chocolate cake he’d ever eaten…

when he walked proudly across the graduation stage…

when he had a walk down a certain path and dropped his cell phone…

when he and I would sit at the dining room table and work though algebra problems…

when he has hugged me…

when he was named outstanding junior of the year…

when we went to see any number of movies that no one else in the family wanted to see (I still didn’t enjoy Elysium)…

when he almost slipped, once, and said something more than “good night” to me…

when he showed me at each-and-every stage of his life that he was the master and I was the learner by telling me about string theory or the Russian economy or any one of a number of things he knew more about than I did……

when he hugs that stupid dog we have (he loves that dog)…

when he texts The Cinnamon Girl … I am glad to be in touch even when he’s away at school…

when I think about his incredible dedication to what he wants…

when consider all the teachers at the school he transferred from lamenting that he was leaving … “he’s the kind of kid we need at this school” they said. They were right…

when I watch him in conversation with “adults” and see how he handles himself with poise and confidence

when he makes his quirky jokes; he’s just so damn funny…

when I get a glimpse into how he views the world…

when I remember the serious talks we’ve had and the difficult ones I recall what a privilege it is to be in his life…

… when he does something silly (keys in the refrigerator, anyone?)…

… when he, in his own inimitable way, lets his family know how much they really mean to him.

Happy birthday, bonus son. Happiest of birthdays.

I am forever honored to be a part of your life and forever proud of you.

 

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I Will Be Her Valentine If She’ll Continue to Have Me…


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This Valentines Day, I count myself lucky that The Cinnamon Girl hasn’t come to her senses, that she still wants me as her Valentine and that she still loves me as she has for these many years.

I have the best Valentine in the world.

I am reminded of this quote from Much Ado About Nothing: “They say the lady is fair: ’tis a truth, I can bear them witness; and virtuous: ’tis so, I cannot reprove it; and wise, but for loving me:by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor no great argument of her folly.”

She is fair, wise and virtuous, and what I have lucked into is very special.

It’s special to be married to your best friend.

It’s special to feel romance hasn’t faded in the years you’ve been together.

It’s special to know that the person you most want to spend time with also wants to most spend time with you.

It’s special to know that someone knows you better than you know yourself.

It’s special to be in love like this.

My Valentine is The Cinnamon Girl. She’ll be my Valentine for as long as she’ll have me.

She is strong. Intelligent. Insightful. Loving. Sexy.

She is everything I have ever wanted in a partner and she is so much more than I deserve.

Happy Valentines Day, my Cinnamon Girl.

2017-valentines-edit

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Today Is Your Independence Day! Mine, Too!


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Happy Independence Day, America!

Cap 4th

This is a post from a few years back with a few additions:

The older I get, the more patriotic I become. I have noted that progression in myself for years. I think it’s a good thing. While there is a lot to be critical of, there is also a lot to love about living in the United States of America and being an American citizen, but politics are not the subject of this blog. Impressions of the Fourth of July are!

One: This happened yesterday!

Two: Patriotic Trek

Did you know there are all kinds of patriotic episodes of Star Trek? You should know (and watch them!). Declare Your Independence with These Classic Star Trek Episodes (from trekmovie.com.)

Three: Star Trek Screws up Patriotism

There are a number of egregious references to the United States of America (not involving time travel) in the original Star Trek television series but here are two that really, really stand out: In the episode “The Omega Glory,” Kirk and the crew encounter two warring factions on a planet called “the Yangs” and “the Khoms.” Allegory alert anyone? How subtle is the clip (called by some “Kirk’s Greatest Speech Ever”) you can see HERE?

Worse, though, is the episode entitled “The Savage Curtain” during which Kirk and company encounter a being that believes he IS Abraham Lincoln! Ouch.

star-trek-lincoln

Four: Neil Diamond Gets Patriotism Right

I could listen to Neil Diamond music all day long. In fact, sometimes, I do. Somehow, some way, a number of Neil Diamond songs have become anthems for patriotism. A less obvious example is “Sweet Caroline” which Diamond admitted he was inspired to write by a young Caroline Kennedy. In recent years it has developed into a 7th inning stretch favorite for the Boston Red Sox. At no time was this more poignant than after the Boston Marathon bombing when not only the Red Sox played it (Neil was there to sing it), but stadiums around the country followed suit. You can see Neil belt it out HERE.

More obvious is Neil’s Coming to America. The break out hit from Diamond’s more-watchable-than-you-remember The Jazz Singer, Diamond’s song is a passionate anthem for the immigrant history of this country. This song has a special place in my heart as I once sang it on the radio to try to win a contest for free Neil Diamond concert tickets but, as the radio hosts were about to award me the tickets, they accidentally dropped my call. I am still bitter.  You can hear Neil HERE.

Five: The movie Independence Day

You remember the speech. Watch it HERE again. Then stand up and salute! Better than the sequel from what I hear…

Six: President Obama Almost Cancels Independence Day 

The Cinnamon Girl has, in recent years, made am AMAZING Fourth of July cake.

Here it is:

Three years ago, wondering if the cake had lost its appeal at the traditional family gathering, she suggested she was going to bring a different dessert. I let The Mater know, as she was hosting the family as she had for years, so that she could plan accordingly. About an hour later, the phone rang and Dad was on the saying: “President Obama called. He’s canceled the Fourth of July unless you bring the cake. Bring the cake.” She brought the cake.

4th Cake

 

Happy Fourth of July, all!

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