Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

We had brunch with Ben and the family, along with Chris and Lisa and their kids today, and then watched the Belmont Memorial Day parade. Good wholesome fun. It was especially cute watching the boys wave their little flags sitting in their little lawn chairs. Here are a few more pictures.

Here is a more sober view of the day, from retired Colonel and BU Professor Andrew Bacevich.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Reflections on Year Zero

Ok so maybe the title of this post is a little over the top, but it is not an exaggeration to say that Cecilia's arrival revolutionized my life. As with many things with parenthood, I have found that there is a cliche that perfectly matches my experience - in this case "nothing can prepare you for what to expect".

It's not that it has been harder than I thought, actually generally the opposite, but more that there are so many things that never occurred to me.

Probably the first surprise for me was the lack of attachment I felt to Cecilia when she was first born. It was like I thought the clouds were supposed to part and all of a sudden I would be overcome with love for this little child, but in reality it was a whole new relationship that I had to forge. I have since read in the literature that this is a pretty common phenomenon for new fathers, but it was a little bewildering.

Everything started to click for Cecilia and I when we moved to Cambridge in June and then I went on paternity leave July 1. I spent almost the entire time with her from then until she started daycare after Labor Day. This is when we first forged our bond and I will be eternally grateful for having had this opportunity. In fact I tell all new fathers to try and have as much time caring for their newborns by themselves the first few months - the reality is that if there is a mom or other female caregiver around they are probably going to take control.

For me the tension really started to build in the Fall and through the Winter. It was amazing watching her grow up, as this blog can attest, but the isolation and grind of my situation took a toll on me emotionally and mentally. Between being in a new city and barely knowing anybody, working from home, and Joanne's hours, things were really tough at times. All I can say is thank God for our incredibly supportive families and for our relative wealth. I really can't imagine handling this being poor and/or alone.

The turning point for me was our trip back to Philly in March. Things were really tough heading into that trip, but that really saved me. Between seeing old friends, having my mom around to help, and the weather starting to turn around it was literally a delicious Spring thaw after a tough Winter.

After Philly we had a great great great trip to California (I think I broke a world record for naps) and we seemed to ride the good vibes back to the East Coast. Spring had definitively arrived by then and that helped a lot too - I go with her to the playground probably four times a week. Between that, steadier sleep and easier work schedules for both Joanne and I it really felt like we hit a groove.

So here we are...watching her grow this past year has been an amazing and incredible experience. She can take several steps on her own, understands lots of what we say, and can communicate pretty well if not that much verbally. I am sure there will be many times in the years ahead where I will look back on this laugh that I thought I had turned some kind of corner, but hey that's what year-end retrospectives are for. She's a great kid, definitely a product of Joanne and I, and I love her more than I can express.

Coming full circle there is definitely one thing I did not expect, and that is that I find my life right now to be so good that it's almost an embarrassment of riches. Sometimes I feel the biggest challenge is striking the proper balance between humility and gratitude. Anyway I will give it a shot: thank you, I really do not deserve this.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Pictures to follow.

Jerry & Arlene's

We spent the night at Jerry and Arlene's after Isabel's Bat Mitzvah. Here's a few more pictures.

Isabel's Bat Mitzvah

Here are some more pictures from Laurel.

Last Trip to Smallwood

Smallwood is finally sold, and we all went up for one last visit together. We celebrated my birthday, claimed some mementos, and generally had a really nice time. Ben and I had not been up there together in more than 20 years and it was really nice to be there with him and our families one time.

The highlight for me was when the power went out and Jacob and Aaron and I went in to the backyard to collect firewood. As usual, Cecilia had a blast in a place just exploring every nook and cranny she could reach.

Here are the rest of our pics, and I will add Jen's when she sends them.

...I found this short funny video of Cecilia and Jacob.