It was 5:15 in the afternoon. I had been pacing around the room rocking a fussy baby for about a half hour. The last ten minutes had been filled with so much frustration that setting the baby down and screaming into a pillow was the best option I could conjure up. My wife was at the store and my older son was watching Sesame Street. Usually I could get the baby to sleep in less than five minutes, but today he was having none of it.
Being the mature adult that I am, I commenced with the foot stomping and screaming inaudible, unprintable things under my breath. At that particular moment, I had no idea what to do, and since babies don’t come with instruction manuals, I was hopelessly lost. The same thing that had been working each afternoon at this time suddenly didn’t work anymore. I was a sane, rational adult and I couldn’t understand why my tried-and-true strategies suddenly failed to yield results. Continue reading
I spent some time this week waging a battle with our younger son’s crib. Erecting a crib is a task that should only be undertaken by someone who likes hex-wrenches, bending at weird angles, and screaming at poorly labeled instructions. It’s not for the weary, and honestly, only the focused and diligent will get through it in one shot.
Actually, truth be told, assembling a crib isn’t all that cumbersome, especially since I’ve done it before. All in all, it probably took about 90 minutes. My wife had taken the boys for a walk, so I had some quiet time to get it done. In this case, quiet time consisted of grappling with impossibly small hardware and picking up packing styrofoam for half an hour, but it was quiet nonetheless. But those 90 minutes are where I want to zero in.
As I started out on the first step, I was grumbling to myself about having to spend my free time messing with this bulky, assembly-required object. I thought to myself about how there were a few hundred other things I would have rather been doing at that particular moment. In any case, I started rolling through the steps, and it eventually crossed my mind that this is what it means to be a parent. Now, I have those sorts of revelations all the time, usually when I’m standing in the general vicinity of a diaper changing station or picking up dinner off the floor. But this one was different in that it came at a time when I wasn’t cleaning anything up. Continue reading
Well, here we are. One week in, two kids under two. Babies around every corner. Diapers under the couch. Toys strewn about the lawn. Food all over the kitchen floor. A caffeine drip loaded with Diet Mountain Dew is hooked into my arm.
OK, you’re right. There are no toys in the yard. I don’t want the neighbors to think anything is amiss.
Now that we’re a week in, I want to explain what this first week has been like. There is nothing quite like the birth of a child. Indeed, it’s a game-changer in more ways than one. Further, when the second child arrives, the whole dynamic shifts again. But it doesn’t shift to something familiar, something relatable. That would be too easy. It shifts to something altogether different, something completely unrecognizable in pretty much every way. One fascinating thing about having our second child is that it has changed the way I see my older child. After all, he was once that small and helpless (he’s still fairly helpless, actually, but much bigger), and it’s easy to forget how much and how fast they grow. Yikes, even as I’m typing that, I realize that I sound like every other wise do-gooder who wants to remind parents how fast their kids will grow up. Continue reading
Upon reading the title of this blog I bet you’re thinking I’m talking about the unborn. While that certainly makes sense, I am actually referring to my two sons. My eldest son is a teenager so we have of course had “the talk” with him. I am honest with him. I don’t want him to be naive like I was. My upbringing was not 100% Catholic and I didn’t come back to the Church until my late 20’s. At that time, I kind of knew what Catholics supported and what they did not but I didn’t know why. Because of my past lack of knowledge and my own mistakes in trying to explain my beliefs, I want my sons to know why we believe what we do and why I expect him to behave the way I do. So, when the calendar of health class speakers got sent home from school one day and I saw that Planned Parenthood was on the list, speaking about birth control, I could have let him go. I believe wholeheartedly that if you are going to speak out in support or against something, you should educate yourself not only on your beliefs but on the beliefs of those who do support your views.
Despite that, he did not attend.
I’m sure you’ve heard that Father’s Day is coming up this weekend. As such, I’m feeling the pull to write to you about what being a father means to me. Rather than do this in long essay format, though, I’m just going to give you a list of items that, when taken in full, represent my thoughts on what fatherhood means. I hope you enjoy!
- It means I know how to change diapers with abandon.
- It means I understand what a “breast-fed diaper” looks like.
- It means that when it gets too quiet in the house, I start to get suspicious.
- It means I enjoy putting my hands on my wife’s belly and feeling our unborn child kick.
- It means I’ve watched my child grow from the ultrasound where I could barely make out his tiny hands all the way to him now walking – nay, running – all over our house.
- It means I know about self-sacrifice, and putting others’ needs ahead of my own.
- It means I have caved and let my son eat his bedtime snack off the kitchen floor because I REALLY wanted him to hurry up and be ready for bed. Continue reading
I’m not going to lie and tell you that I’ve done a lot of super cool things in my life. I really haven’t. There are a lot of places I haven’t been to, a lot of people I haven’t met, and a lot of world treasures I haven’t seen. There are mountains I haven’t scaled and countries that haven’t stamped my passport.
I’m not on Twitter, and I couldn’t tell you a single song that has cracked the top 40 in the last five years. Though if you were to make me guess on that, I’d say Taylor Swift, right? I don’t stay up late, I’m not the life of a party, and I don’t really stand out in a crowd. I pretty much never watch television, and therefore have no idea what’s going on in Game of Thrones, NCIS, or any other popular show.
But there is one thing I’ve done that’s pretty amazing. In fact, it trumps all the other things I’ve done, with ease. It’s something that I’m incredibly proud of, and talk about at every chance I get. I gloat about it, actually. Continue reading
Captain Aaron J. Brase
I like quiche.
I also consider myself a real man, at least according to society’s standards. I was Homecoming King in high school, played high school and college athletics, and worked my way up to Captain in the United States Army, a veritable “Man’s Man” in anyone’s eyes.
I was also sad.
It was a profound sadness that started in June of 1987 and pervaded every single thought and action in my life.
June of 1987 is when I lost my daughter to an abortion.
Perhaps you have come across or heard about the growing trend in our modern world called “child-free by choice”. As the phrase suggests, these are persons who, for whatever reason, have decided that they are not going to have children. There are a myriad of reasons for persons to make this choice. I know the reasons, and I’m not going to go into them.
The trend is growing quickly. It’s rapidly becoming a movement, a fad, the cool thing to do. There are countless websites devoted to it, including this one, and this one. There’s a woman nominating a celebrity spokesperson for the movement, because every cause needs one of those. Here’s a woman actually thanking other women for being childfree.
With all these sites dedicated to helping persons understand why being childless is so great, I felt the need to speak up. Indeed, a cursory Google search for “reasons to have a baby” actually yielded more results for “reasons NOT to have a baby”. This was not a scientific endeavor by any stretch, but the point remains the same. Someone has to stand up for having babies.
So here I am. I want you to know why having a baby is so great. I believe it, and I want you to believe it too. Continue reading