My first real interaction with Chris came a few weeks into our freshmen year of high school. We were in a pickup game during after school intramurals and I had the ball at the three point line. Chris was guarding me. I was very aware of who he was – this was the 13-year-old who could already dunk! As any proud former 8th grade all-star would do, I decided to see what he was all about. I made a move and drove right by him! …
I tell lots of stories. One of the stories I don’t think I’ve ever told stretches back to the last birthday party I had in 3rd grade.
Having a birthday in December meant I had just changed schools that previous fall. Beginning the school year at a catholic school in a neighboring town, I didn’t think to invite many kids from my previous town (and school). However, I did invite my best friend, Ari. He was known to have a good time and get a little out of control like myself. He always managed to keep it together just a little bit more than myself, so he made for a good governor.
3rd Grade Birthday Party
At my 3rd grade birthday party, I asked my dad to have it at an ice rink. Ari, was the only friend I invited from my old school. Everyone else was from the new school I was attending.
After a few laps of skating the rink, I found I wasn’t having much fun. Something inside was telling me that the party wasn’t exactly what I wanted. The skating rink seemed something like my new friends from the parochial school would be interested in. My old friends wouldn’t know what to make of it. Internally, I felt I wasn’t really into it.
It didn’t matter, I convinced myself to keep up the facade. No matter what, I had to make believe I was having a good time. Otherwise my father wouldn’t let me hear the end of it.
Within a few minutes my best friend Ari came up to me and said, “This isn’t fun!” I knew he was right. But I wanted to impress my new friends. I kept on skating around the rink and hoped Ari would act more like them. I pretended I had a headache. Ari did silly things to get me to laugh.
Hindsight is 20/20
As much as I wanted to laugh and have a good time with him, I didn’t bother. By the end of the day, I just hung out by myself. My new friends from the parochial school loved Ari and I was miserable. The party hadn’t turned out how I wanted it to. Ari was the star of the show. People wanted to hang out with him. I was supposed to be the big deal but no one seemed to notice.
As I look back on the situation with 20/20 vision I realize now I shouldn’t have compromised who I was. At the time I knew it too. I didn’t trust myself enough to be happy being myself (who I was inside). I thought assimilating to the new culture was more import. Since then, every day I kicked myself for leaving Ari left out in the wind trying to make me laugh by have a good time.
Now, I am an adult and I hope my children don’t make the same mistake I made as a child. I pray they will be themselves no matter who is in front of them. I hope and pray they will unapologetically be themselves. As dad, I’ll clean up the pieces proudly so my children grow to be themselves.
A few weeks ago the whole family went on vacation to St. Augustine. While my main man and I were playing in the pool, he brought something up from the night before. You see, he had been up all night because the Big Bad Wolf was chasing him. But when we were racing in the pool, he said, “Swim fast. The Big Bad Wolf is going to catch us.”
A few weeks ago my main man turned four years old. With him growing up so fast, it has become more and more difficult to remember all accomplished in a year. Creating this video of events helps everyone relive his past year. Don’t be surprised to see he’s interested in many of the same things as last year. There will be a few new interests too (mainly in the music). …
Growing up I learned from my parents being an older sibling means you’ve got to slow down, be a leader and good example for your younger sibling. If you aren’t going to be good to your younger siblings, you are going to pay for it when they outgrow you or Karma is going to pay a visit. As a parent I try to teach my kids the same things. My son is expected to be a model example and “useful engine” around the house (we are still into Thomas references).
Unfortunately, things don’t always go to plan. Sometimes one of the kids is unagreeable. Other times the kids have no idea what they are supposed to do. On rare occasions, the Karma gods reap their vengeance. …
Over the past 4 years I’ve packed on a few lbs. This has happened for many different reasons: lack of time to work out, lack of interest in working out, poor eating habits, lack of sleep, it’s Wednesday, etc. The reason for my constant weight gain has been King George III. I’ll explain. …
With big brother out of town, my youngest is the only child. This doesn’t happen to often but we are going to enjoy the time.
My son is incredibly fortunate to have a godmother that wants to take him hiking over the weekend. Securing the carseat felt normal. Giving goodbye hugs in front of the house I began wondering how his camping trip would turn out. But watching them drive away in the distance made me wonder when did I become so emotional. I couldn’t help but wonder what he would do if he woke up scared in the middle of the night. Quickly I realized I needed to let go and have fun with My Precious who was waving frantically in my arms. …
Man Time by Ari Barnett
My favorite fathers experience with my son, who is known throughout our extended family as “King Anthony”, occurs every Sunday between the months of September and January. It is on those days, that my wife hibernates to the bedroom, dusts off her DVR with a week’s worth of missed programming, and lets King Anthony and I enjoy what has become known as ‘Man Time’ in our house.
Man time consists of not only watching various football games (thanks Direct TV Sunday NFL ticket) all day. It also includes tracking player statistics, stuffing our faces (me with buffalo wings, him with Similac), and learning the fundamentals of the game. ‘Man Time’ is very special to me because I remember when I was little. My father would set me in front of the TV and we would partake in the same Barnett ritual. I believe that is how I grew up to love the game of football from such an early age.
‘Man Time’ usually ends around 6:00pm when my wife calls us from downstairs for dinner. Once the calls go unanswered she eventually comes upstairs to find her two boys passed out sound asleep in front of the TV. Mommy usually gets a good laugh out of this and snaps off a few pictures. It’s ok though. Anthony and I are good sports about it. This our tradition. Every week during football season. Man time. My favorite memories of my son and I.
Reflections of Fatherhood by Seth Golder
Doing Riley’s bedtime is one of the best times I get to spend with her. During the weekdays I don’t get to see much of her; I am practically out the door when she wakes up and have at best three hours with her by the time I get home. And to be completely honest, that last hour is usually a marathon of walking around with her, bouncing her and watching Word Party on Netflix to keep her up to an hour that will let her sleep through the night. …