• Life,  Parenting

    My Youngest Child is Now a Legal Adult

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    So the 50th birthday is supposed to make you feel old in some ways, yes? It does that for most of us at least a little, I think. At age 50, you look around at your friends and see how old they’re getting and you look at your parents if they’re still with you, and you’re forcibly reminded of your own mortality. You’re getting older.

    But you know what’s worse? Having your youngest child experience the birthday that makes them a legal adult, and that’s today.


    Yeah, now I feel old.

    Today, I’m letting my mind roll back over all those moments, good and bad. First words, first teeth, first steps, first songs, first fights, first school dance, first driving lesson, trips to the beach, vacations, birthdays, holidays, pets, and every first, second, or most recent item or event in between.

    Eighteen years ago today in a couple of hours, I held my youngest child in my arms for the first time. I’m still allowed a hug now and then, but it’s really cool to see the woman she’s become and I know she’s just getting started.

    So, yeah, her turning 18 makes me feel old, but she’s got so much ahead of her yet that I feel the wonder of the future more.

    Happy birthday, sweet. It’s a bright road ahead.

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  • Life

    Happy Birthday To Me

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    Well, it seems to work that if you survive enough orbits around the sun, you start to hit some larger numbers. Some of those are considered milestones.

    I hit one of those today. 50.

    I don’t, at least for myself, have a particularly strong connection to birthdays. Yesterday I was 49. Today, I’m 50. While I’d planned to have a big party for my 50th, that was more for other people than for me. We all need reasons to celebrate, especially lately. But COVID goes on and continues putting everything on hold. Maybe next year. Or whenever. We’d planned something big for our 25th anniversary this past May and that worked out just as well.

    As I get older, I find myself more interested in being in synch with the physical calendar rather than our arbitrary counting of days (which could have been so different and could still be organized to make sense if we really wanted to, but human beings are creatures of habit and change is hard – why mess with what sort of works), with the seasons rather than the numbers. Solstices and Equinoxes are reminders of connections to a long chain of human history and the natural world.

    I don’t attach anything spiritual to these dates, but I do like to know exactly when they occur. We had a Winter Solstice last week. Midwinter in the old, old days, and the first day of winter as we mark things here. Either way, the wheel keeps turning and the days are getting longer a little bit at a time again.

    My birthday falls (depending on the year), between seven and nine days after the Winter Solstice, as the wheel has barely begun the upward swing towards brighter, warmer days. With climate change in the last couple of decades, it’s hard to say my birthday is in the depths of winter, but it’s still below freezing most of the time and the days are shorter. Still, I’m just far enough around the wheel to know there are brighter days ahead.

    Happy birthday to me. Another orbit completed and a new one begun. Lots planned for the coming 365 days and for all the orbits that follow.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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  • Life,  Parenting

    Oldest’s Birthday

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    Under the heading of, “Today I feel old”, my oldest child turned 22 today.

    Twenty-two years ago today at 0142 in the morning, my son joined our family.

    It was a good day, COVID notwithstanding. Sushi, cake, presents, bad movies, and he won a League of Legends tournament. Twenty-two years after that dark winter night. 8,036 days later.

    So many events, so many memories, so many years.

    Happy birthday, my son.

    Not a new picture, but I love this one.
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  • Life

    A Daughter’s Birthday

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    In the ongoing saga of, “When did I get so old?”, today is my oldest daughter’s th birthday. In every way marked by our society, she’s now a legal adult.

    I try not to blog about my kids’ major life events too often, at least partly for privacy concerns, but there are certain milestones that are a big deal, and nineteen is one of them. Strictly speaking, nineteen is absolutely one of them as it takes away the last handful of things that our society puts a legal age minimum on, mainly:

    • Buy/consume alcohol, cigarettes, or cannabis products
    • Buy lottery tickets or go to a casino
    • Adopt a pet from the SPCA

    Things that no longer require parental permission:

    • Get married
    • Get a driver’s licence
    • Join the CAF
    • Leave Home
    • Legal Name Change

    A couple of oddball things:

    • Enter a binding contract
    • Sue or be sued on your own

    So, yes, nineteen is a big deal. I’ve watched this wonderful young woman grow from a newborn through all the trials and tribulations of her own personal childhood and adolescence, working to understand her as much as I can. While I certainly don’t consider my job done, and won’t as long as she feels she needs me, this is when she can truly step away in any direction she feels it right to do so.

    Happy birthday, Little One. I can’t wait to see how you’ll change the world.

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  • Life,  Parenting

    My Youngest Turns 16

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    Holy crap, my youngest child is old enough to drive.

    She elected not to go write the test today, already having enough on her plate, but could have. Maybe on the weekend.

    But my youngest child is old enough to drive. It’s crystal in my memory holding her for the first time, her holding my finger for the first time, the sheer amount of hair (with blonde highlights) she was born with, bringing her home from the hospital, and on.

    It’s not so easy for me to wrap my head around the idea that it’s been sixteen years since that day she finally came into our lives. It should be easy. I’ve watched her pass from infant to toddler to child to teenager and now making the transition into wonderful young woman.

    But she is my youngest child, so it’s not easy. Why would it be?

    Hold onto the time while it lasts.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Life

    Happy Birthday To Me

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    Happy birthday to me.

    When this posts, my 48th birthday will be very close to being over. I’ll have completed 48 full orbits around the sun and be just starting my 49th.

    Seems like a lot, but at same time it seems like very little.

    I don’t mean in terms of geologic time, obviously, but somehow it’s just a little bit hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I’m closing in on being a half-century old. That’s a debate for another time, with the current point being that I’ve still got way too much I want to accomplish, I suppose.

    I have typically reserved my birthday for a different kind of reflection, however. Once upon a time, there were two questions I asked myself every year on my birthday. In more recent years, I’ve added a third.

    Question number one: was this the best year of my life so far?

    Answer number one: In my head, I’m waffling, and saying that depends on what context I’m asking the question for. Which, obviously, means that the overall answer is no. Professionally, it’s been a good year, possibly the best of my career so far. New job, running the whole apartment, hopefully not sucking too badly at it. Personally, no. My children in their various ways are going through a lot, and my wife has had some issues as well, and I haven’t in my eyes been an adequate emotional support to the family; trying only counts for so much. Creatively, no, but not too far off: After a rough first half the year, I got myself back on track in a very productive way for the second half. From a martial arts perspective, perhaps. I successfully graded to third degree black belt this year, and I’ve started to pursue Kobudo a little more seriously, but it’s still a struggle to get in all of practice I want.

    Question number two: what can I do to make next year even better?

    Answer number two: From a personal perspective, significant events are going to be on my control, but I can control how I react to them and how I support the people around me. I can only do my best. Professionally, I can work hard to get good at my job, and I think I’ve already started on that road. Creatively, it’s mainly about staying on the track I’ve laid out, and pushing ahead with my goals and dreams. It’s long past time I made significant moves to get my will in front of people’s eyes, and there’s can be a lot of activity in that direction 2019: short story submissions, publisher hunts for some longer work, independent publishing for other longer work, some shorter things, poetry, elections, and maybe even some fanfiction in the Star Trek universe. Let’s not forget that I’ll be using multiple platforms, as well. Aside from what has become the traditional e-book platform of Amazon, I’ll be working on Wattpad, potentially another e-book platform or two, and hopefully putting together a store on my website. In terms of martial arts, it’s really all about the practice. I do feel the need to rededicate and refocus my goals to target that practice better, though.

    Question number three: what am I doing to make the world better place?

    Answer number three: that’s a damned good question. And not one that’s easy to answer or support. I try to be an appropriate, positive example to anyone who might be watching. I also do certain amount of slactivism: letters, petitions, and so on, online, but I don’t do nearly enough arguing with people in appropriate forums where it matters, and I need to step up my letter writing. I spend a lot of time being politically angry, but not enough time channeling that anger into something constructive so, I suppose my answer is not enough.

    Anyone else use their birthday thinking about themselves or their lives like this? Or am I just way too introspective?

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Life

    They Say It’s Your Birthday…

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherCongratulations to me, I’ve completed another trip around the sun. That’s forty-five now, if you’re interested in counting.

    There are traditionally three questions I ask myself on my birthday. Well, there are traditionally two, but I added one last year.

    1. Was this the best year of my life?

    2015 Answer: No. I got blindsided by several things this year, family members with various health issues that blew my stress level way up. Plus work stuff – we’re being taken over early in January – and a general feeling of burnout that’s probably just a net result of everything. And I’m beginning to think I may have a couple of small mental health things of my own to deal with. Well, maybe more than beginning, but life in general has brought mental health more to the front of my mind this year.

    1. What can I do to make this year better?

    2015 Answer: Next year can certainly be better than this year, but the answer to question 1 at the end of 2016 will almost certainly be no. There’s a fairly good chance that my oldest child will be leaving home for university next fall, and any year one of my children leaves can’t count as the best year ever. Barring summers while he’s in school, and those will depend on his summer jobs, I’ve had him around for nearly all the time I’m going to. That’s hard. Actually, it’s depressing.

    Self-pity aside, there are things I can do.

    Staying positive will help. It sounds trite, and overly simplistic, but it’s a real thing. If you can manage to keep yourself looking for the good things and letting the less good things have less traction in your mind, you will enjoy life more. For those of us with overdeveloped senses of nostalgia and guilt, that’s harder, but just because something is hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue it.

    My workplace is transitioning to new owners in a couple of weeks, and there’s a one-year plan for employees at all levels. That translates to my job being a 12-month audition. That audition may lead to bigger and better things if I put the effort into it. So I need to put the effort into it. I’ve got plans, but I can’t solidify all of them until the transition actually happens.

    And I need to be what my family needs me to be. Primarily, this means available. My teenagers need a father, my wife needs a husband, my parents need a son, and more distant relatives may need smaller things. It’s worth noting that all of those needs are continually changing, but what they come down to is for me to be available when it matters, just to different degrees and in different ways for different people.

    1. What am I doing to make the world a better place?

    2015 Answer: A great question, and I’m not sure I have a great answer, or even a good one. I’ve been more alert to the things I see as problematic in our society and world, but I still can’t figure out what to do about most of them. So far, I think my actions have mostly been small ones, but I’ve moved my mindset from angry about certain issues to thoughtful. I’ve made moves to contribute in small ways to certain ideals and causes, and I’ve tried to make sure I’m completely open about that with my family, and as open as possible with my friends. I’m looking at it that way because I think one of the best ways I can serve ideals and the world is to set the best example I’m able to for the people around me. How cliché is that? But being cliché doesn’t make it any less true.

    So those are my questions and answers for this year. Anyone have any different ones?

    Be well, everyone.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

  • Life

    Three Teenagers?

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby feather12So today is my youngest child’s birthday. She’s turning 12. I’m not sure if you can count 12 as a teen year or not, but if you can, that means I now have three teenagers.

    When I was a teenager, that would’ve been the furthest thing from my mind.

    In my 20s, especially before we got married, kids were a distant thing on the horizon, at least until we decided we wanted them.

    In my 30s, when I had those kids, when they were small, the teenage years still seemed comfortably far away.

    Now, not so much.

    16, closing in on 14, and just turned 12. Two-teen, right?

    Okay, I’m reaching. But why is it necessary on each of my children’s birthday that I’m the one feels old? It’s a parent thing, I guess. I’m always nostalgic on my children’s birthdays. I especially feel it today. My littlest baby is a dozen years old. And she’s incredible.

    And while I can’t wait to see how she turns out, I’m entirely fine if she stops growing up, too. Well, not really. I love her so much for who she is, but I won’t hold her back from who she’s becoming.

    Happy birthday, Youngest. You are an awesome girl, and you will become an awesome woman.

    Love, always,


    XOXOFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather