January 13, 2018

Vivian punched me four times today. Sometimes she punches me with fire in her eyes and sometimes there is a twinkle and it feels like she just wants to wrestle. I don't know. It's confusing. She is a toddler.

She is our only child to experience regular child care. Sometimes we wonder if that has something to do with her temper and the way she can tear apart a playful afternoon or wreck a quiet evening by refusing to brush her teeth for the seventh night in a row. Two nights ago when she wouldn't let me brush her teeth, I took her four babies and threw them out the back door. Timeouts for her don't mean much but when you throw her babies into the backyard, shit gets real.

There's a hole in our ceiling thanks to the recent (but extremely rare) rains. The fireplace is literally shifting like pangea and one whole section has begun to move.

This old house has some stories to tell.

December 9, 2017. 10:53pm. On the purple couch. We went out for pizza before setting up the Christmas tree and decorating it with ornaments and some lights that don’t quite make it around. We decided a slumber party made sense, even though it seemed kinda risky on account of the kids getting over hyped or under slept or some combination of both. But that seems to happen on any given night, so what the hell. After watching Christmas Vacation, the kids and Kari fell asleep neatly spaced out along some mattresses on the floor. Auld Lang Syne plays on repeat. Still now. Success. 

Before the evening started we sat in the car and put our hands in the middle and I said that the only thing that could sabotage the night was a bad attitude and whining and everyone managed to do pretty well. 

Seeing my kids sleep and watching their stillness and hearing their breath is both the happiest and saddest part of my day. On the one hand, I fall in love with each of them just a little more, remembering their sweetness and innocence and how vulnerable and intrinsically connected to me they are. They are so quietly human in this moment, which is sometimes hard to remember when they are punching each other or ignoring me in a way that suggests I’m a mouse in a far away field whispering from an underground lair. And this is why I feel so deeply sad in this moment for ever raising my voice or not engaging with their needs or for all those times I’ve walked outside to throw a spoon at the backyard fence. For in this moment, it’s just us. They are my children and I am their Father. 



A friend told me recently to start writing again, but the funny thing is I’m not sure he even knew I liked to write. He didn’t know me back then, when writing was what I thought about most. I don’t know. Probably seems like a good idea. 

August 26, 2017

Following up on my 2015 Annual Report, I was back at it again in 2016. Using the Reporter App, I asked myself a series of questions twice a day and then compiled all of the raw data to summarize my year in numbers. Typically my questions are centered around my goals for the year, which usually revolves around friendship, travel, books and staying active. Sometimes I'm interested in the little details, which this year included the sleeping habits of my children. All in all, after two years and thousands of data points, I enjoy the habit and the constant reminders of what is important to me.











March 28, 2016

Grandpa Grubb is dead. He was my grandfather, my mothers father, my grandmothers husband. I feel their loss more acutely, imagining what it must feel like to see your Father laid bare, to see your husband stripped of existence. How lonely that could feel, how vulnerable to be moving through the day without such a backbone. I imagine the profound absence to be unexplainable, the mysterious connection between a parent and child, a husband and wife. For even when you leave the home and set off into a new life, a new family, a new home, for those fortunate to have a Mother and Father, they are still somehow a force, a presence, for better or for worse, they carry us in some capacity. And then suddenly they are gone and the need and obligation and duty are cut off. 

I wasn't very close to him, both in proximity or in emotion. My memory of my summers under his roof do not serve me well. Did we converse over dinner? What was our interaction like on his farm? What we did we talk about on the numerous road trips around Pennsylvania and beyond? It is hard to remember all but a small handful of conversations we had or a single moment where we were alone together. 

I have found the beauty lies in the realization that he was simply there, around the table, on the farm, in the car, steady and unwavering, as present and purposeful as he was in his work and community. He was there in the airport when I arrived by myself as a six year old. After driving twelve hours  in his Dodge minivan, he was there to pick me up and take me back for an August at the farm. When my Father and I hitchhiked through Pennsylvania on our way to New York City, he was there to drop us off at a truck stop a few miles down the road. 

I cannot remember much about my Grandpa before Parkinson's and age crept up on him. One visit he was walking and talking and the next he was in a home and everything had changed and when visits from across the country are sporadic, it felt like it all happened in a single week. 

And now he is here, in a casket, looking young again in a suit. I move my hands over his hands, hold his face and rub his chest and I remember what a cold body feels like. 

The last time I saw him was almost three years ago. I told him that he was a good man, mostly because I felt it and also because that sounded like something I would want to be told in my last years with the living. 

You are a good man Grandpa. 

And you know what he said to me, through tears and eighty-five years of life showing on his face? 

I've tried to be. 

I've though about these words over and over again, dwelling on such a heartfelt response, letting them sink in, and I find them so incredibly beautiful and genuine and remarkable. For what else more can we ask of ourselves, at the end of our lives, that we tried to be good? 

Rest in peace, Leroy Benjamin Grubb. 



March 25, 2016

Five years doesn't seem possible. Her mark is indelible. There isn't much to say, I suppose, after five years. What else is there to think about, to feel? 

I used to see the redemption in her death, the changes in me, in my family, how she breathed so much beauty and complexity into our lives. How I'm a better person, more whole in some way, more in tune with the society of the suffering that surrounds me on all sides. I'm not so sure anymore, not as certain. 

I think, it is what it is.

What else can you say about it? These days I no longer take anything away from her death except that she died. 

Sweet daughter of mine, how I wish you were her. 

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