Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dinner Time

While my kids were eating dinner, I finally thought I was ready to open the box we got from UPS, containing the ashes of my 17-year-old dog. Even just looking at his name on the cremation certificate was too much. I sat down and called my other dog, a 15-year-old. She came over and I hugged her head. My 4-year-old boy saw me crying.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm hugging Gingee," I said.


"Because I love her."

He put down his fork, stood up, and walked toward me with his arms wide open. He hugged me for a few seconds.

"I'm hugging you because I love you," he said.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

On Santa Claus and Debra Winger

I've seen a few parents ask others what they do about Santa. Do they tell their kids Santa is real? Do they tell them he lives forever in the North Pole, riding a sleigh driven by flying deer? And if they do all that, do they eventually tell their kids Santa wasn't real? Or do they wait for their kids to grow up and figure things out by themselves?

Well, here's why I can't do any of it. Here's why I tell my kids Santa is just a regular guy with funny clothes.

This is not a "Parents should never lie to their kids" post. I believe there's a place for fantasy in kids' lives, and there's nothing wrong with believing. My wife still remembers fondly the day she packed her bags and waited outside for the van that was supposed to take her to the Bad Girls Farm. It's one of her favorite father-daughter stories. And I took it away from her because my boy asked me if the farmer was coming and I had to tell him the truth.

So here's my story. Here's why I physically can't lie, joke, or even fib. And it has everything to do with Debra Winger.

When I was a young kid, let's say 8, my family and I watched a movie on TV together, and when Debra Winger showed up, as she often did in 80s movies, my father said, "You know, she's my first cousin."

Now if my dad told me something, it had to be true, even if it was just an off-hand comment. Which is why the next day I told everyone is school that Debra Winger was my dad's first cousin. Every time Debra Winger reappeared on our family's TV screen, my dad said the same thing, which reminded me that no matter how low I got and no matter what life threw at little me, I would always have this glamorous Hollywood connection to non other than Debra Winger. Of all people.

And as long as my dad kept reminding me about his Hollywood cousin, I kept telling people. I told old friends again, and I told new friends. I told elementary school friends and high school friends. Eventually I joined the army and told people there. "Remember Debra Winger? She used to be in movies? Well, she's my dad's first cousin! Cool, eh? I know!"

Until one day in my early twenties, I was sitting with my dad in the living room. We were watching the news, and when my dad saw one of the reporters, he said, "You know-- This guy was with me in the army."

I nodded.

"And do you know Debra Winger, the actress?" He continued. "That's his first cousin!"

Debra Winger

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Not many people know that, but while my daughter's room looks more or less like this one, in a parallel universe I'm the coolest dad alive. Over there, on planet Shmearth, I draw happy murals on my kids' walls, I design the invitations for my kids' birthday parties, and--generally thinking of the world as potentially-beautiful--I never miss an opportunity to make it a more colorful place for the next generation.

Until I find the space/time wormhole, though, I'll have to live vicariously through Brent's Designer Daddy blog.

Other than design-related posts, Brent writes about media portrayals of fatherhood, adoption, and two-dads families, as well as more personal posts about his experience as a father of a two-year-old.

As usual, I love linking to blogs that should be at least as popular as those featured on the Babble bubble. I hope I get you to visit the blog and maybe find your own inner designer-parent. Or at least your inner-designer-parallel-universe-parent.

Designer Daddy


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