The Tree and the Honeysuckle Vine

The Tree and the Honeysuckle Vine

“Hey, daddy! Look! There’s a turtle sitting by our front door,” one of my children announced excitedly on a hot afternoon in May.

Florida is wild. You can hardly set foot outside your front door without stepping on something squirmy or slithery. And while most people probably know about the alligators, the turtles, the humidity, and the Florida Man, if you don’t live here, you’re probably not as familiar with our vegetation.

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Stepping Back in Time and Reflecting on Life’s Different Chapters

Stepping Back in Time and Reflecting on Life’s Different Chapters

I’ve been a parent for more than seven years and it has really messed with my sense of time and age. On one hand, my children change so rapidly from week to week and year to year that it’s impossible to go long without thinking about the passage of time. On the other hand, I feel almost ageless. Certainly not in a narcissistic or boastful way. Quite the opposite really. My body feels the years, but my sense of self sometimes feels stuck in the past.

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The Importance of Finding a Park Beside a Railroad Track

The Importance of Finding a Park Beside a Railroad Track

I’m sure things like having an important job and fancy cars and a lot of money are nice, but they certainly pale in comparison to finding a park that is right next to a railroad track.

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The Art of Making My Son’s Bed Without Being Found Out

The Art of Making My Son’s Bed Without Being Found Out

Well, sure, there are many things you have to hide from your children, but making beds isn’t one of them, right? Wrong.

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Sameness

Sameness

We must have been hanging around by the muddy lake for at least two hours, but it might as well have been four hours or six or ten. We were well-equipped with two plastic grocery bags filled with Cheez Its, a few bananas and apples, thermos cups filled with water, bread for the minnows that swim near the lake’s shore, and two plastic cups to catch the minnows. The essentials. 

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Eight Years of Tired

Eight Years of Tired

Today is my wedding anniversary. It is also my wife's wedding anniversary. It's ours. Together.

I swear. For the life of me I couldn't come up with a way to phrase that more succinctly. "My wife and my anniversary?" Sounds weird.

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To My Second Born on His Fourth Birthday

To My Second Born on His Fourth Birthday

I remember your mom texted me while she was at work the day you were born. She’s a labor and delivery nurse, of course, and she was working in the hospital where you were to be delivered, so I guess if she had to be working when she went into labor that was the best possible place to be, but still, it was pleasantly quirky and remains a fun story that I sometimes think about telling people when I’m mingling at my numerous imaginary social gatherings.

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The Things We Carry

The Things We Carry

A Paw Patrol jet plane, a pirate ship, a faded yellow tennis bag, a Publix bag containing a green Tupperware container of goldfish crackers and two thermos cups of water, one brown blankie, one gray blankie, and a giant toy boat.

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The Measure of a Year

The Measure of a Year

On numerous occasions this year I inexplicably felt an overwhelming sensation of walking barefoot on the beach by the water. With every step, I felt the sand slipping away from under my toes. I felt the tide pulling away a few grains at a time. Shifting the balance of the earth under me slightly, almost imperceptibly, so that it was both difficult to discern the change, but impossible to deny it.

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My Middle School Was Named After Andrew Jackson and That’s Not the Worst Part

My Middle School Was Named After Andrew Jackson and That’s Not the Worst Part

Several months ago, a certain person made some typically dumb comments about Andrew Jackson and his role in the Civil War (spoiler alert: Jackson died long before the Civil War). My first thought, though, when the news cycle spun out of control after the stupid tweet was “Oh no, now I have think about middle school for the next month or so.”

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Simplicity vs. Connectivity: Parenthood and Childhood in the 80s and Today

Simplicity vs. Connectivity: Parenthood and Childhood in the 80s and Today

As the parent of three children under age six, I often wonder what parenting young children was like before the internet and technology took over the world. Now, when I am home with the kids—ages 1, 3, and 5—particularly on the seemingly endless and oppressively hot Florida days, we spend more time than we probably should watching the limitless supply of television shows and movies available on Netflix and YouTube or playing with tablets and other electronic devices.

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How a Ubiquitous Parenting Mantra Can Mess With Your Head

How a Ubiquitous Parenting Mantra Can Mess With Your Head

Sure, there are moments of enjoyment and fun and wonder, but such moments are often overshadowed, if not completely overwhelmed, by the relentlessness of mundane household tasks and childcare necessities.

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Thoughts on Riding Out Hurricane Irma in Central Florida With Three Kids

Thoughts on Riding Out Hurricane Irma in Central Florida With Three Kids

The days before Irma’s arrival were typical for Florida under threat of hurricane. I’ve lived here all my life and if there is one thing you can count on it is that Floridians prepare for hurricanes with flamboyant zeal. It is our state’s favorite pastime. Boarding up windows, buying water and snack foods, hoarding batteries, filling up our cars and seventeen plastic containers with gas: We love that stuff! In most cases, the preparation goes to waste when the storms veer off into the Atlantic or swerve into the Gulf of Mexico. Perhaps it’s a bit macabre, but you can almost feel a whiff of disappointment in the hot, humid air when the hurricanes turn away and leave us to consume ungodly amounts of granola bars in our air-conditioned homes.

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Waiting

Waiting

We were driving home from the grandparents’ house on the Fourth of July. I was driving, my wife, Michelle, was in the passenger seat beside me. Two-year-old Bennett was buckled into his car seat in the second row behind me and little Olivia was right next to him in the middle. Four-year-old Jacob was in his newly positioned seat all the way in the back, in the third row of our SUV.

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