Monthly Archives: June 2015

For Addison

Dear Addison,

I won the bet and you’re my little prize!

Happy birthday, Sweetheart.

Unlike the rest of the family, I didn’t have to guess when you’d be here, how much you’d weigh, how tall you would be or even who you would look like. I had a little help. And up here we don’t call it cheating. We call it “divine guidance” and everybody who uses it, wins. Every time.

Let me tell you a few things you’ll need to know.

First, your family is crazy and it’s mostly my fault. It’s sort of a male trait and your grandpa, your dad and your uncles are all equally afflicted. A couple of your aunties make pretty good nut jobs, too. The sooner you catch on, the more fun it will be. I had a wonderful life and want the same for you.

Second, while the world you were born into is the same one I exited only nine months ago when you were first conceived, things are going to change. I can’t go into much detail here, that’s the Boss’ job, but the years ahead of you will hold great things and you need to be ready for it all. Your mom will show you how to take care of your little lady self, your dad will show you how not to be afraid, and all your family will be in your business and around you at every turn to support you and show you the way through it. And, of course, me and the Boss will talk to your little heart every day as we have been all along these last nine months. Listen to all of us and enjoy this great ride called Life.

Third, be a fearless little girl, a fierce young lady and a feisty old woman. In every coming generation of your life, the world will need someone like you to stand up for what is right, good and noble. You are an instrumental part of God’s plan (i peeked), just like Mr. Bailey was. Your grandpa will thoroughly enjoy filling you in on the details of this every Christmastime and teach you how to never give up and to fight like a little angel for what you believe.

Finally, write everything down. Everything.

I used a paintbrush all my life. Pick your instrument and create a history of where you go, what you do, what you’ve learned and where your dreams have taken you, so when you’re an old great grandma (give her a kiss for me), you’ll have left a trail for your own little ones to follow.

Welcome to the world, you beautiful little girl.
You’ll always be my prize.


Great Grandpa Mike

the high cost of parenting

She’d written “Plasma, 250.”

In my social services job, I see my share of parents who don’t get it right all the time.

And then there’s Monika.

An immigrant from eastern Europe, she’d been married and divorced with three young boys now in a new land, a new city, and a new life. To say it was going to be difficult was about as understated as saying little boys are quiet and don’t eat much.

She found work, a home and being an industrious woman, plugged herself and her sons into an affordable, awful neighborhood and impoverished subculture surrounded by selfish people who oftentimes did little more than take, expect and use.

She wasn’t raised that way.

She works long hours during the day and comes home to long hours at night with her sons, repeating the daily routine, and a mantra to herself that things will get better.

She lost her job recently and came to me ashamedly asking for “just a tiny bit” of help to keep the lights and A/C on until the next pittance of a paycheck hit her account or someone finally bit on one of the hundreds of resumes she’d submitted.

I asked her how much it costs to feed her family each month on her income.
She said “About 6 pints of plasma.”

Parenting is priceless.