Sunday, July 22, 2007


My daughter is walking, running, jumping, sliding, talking, and becoming quite the little person. That pretty much sums up the 23 unfinished blog entries that I have written over the past 6 months. There just never seems to be enough time to sit and finish what I have begun when it comes to the blog. I am going to keep trying to get the older ones finished but it might be more beneficial if I just write and finish a current entry.
We recently moved to a new house and it is taking a lot longer than I expected to get things done around here. We don't have any of our pictures up yet and to me a house just feels like a building without having some stuff hanging on the walls. I know that probably sounds hokey but without some personal touches, like ugly ceramic cats or autographed hockey pucks, I just don't feel like I am home.
Why am I talking about all the unfinished business in my life when this blog is supposed to be about my daughter and her dad? Well, over these past few months I have realized that no matter how much work we put into the raising of our daughter she is still unfinished. Just as I am constantly changing, so is she. She learns something new everyday and most days it's more than one thing. Whether it's learning that spilling the dogs water bowl all over the floor makes her socks wet or that banana peels aren't very tasty, she is forging her own path into the world. This path will never be finished until she decides it is and no amount of parenting is going to change that small, simple fact of life.
I have missed my time to blog, much like I miss being able to sit down outside and read a book or go for a long walk. Time is something that I always took for granted, and I still do. Being a parent of a 19 month old is hard, engaging, challenging, and at times frustrating. It is also the best thing that I have ever done in my life. My daughter is the best thing that has come out of my 36 year journey. I have made many mistakes along the way, as I am sure she will as well, but all of them have helped me get to the point where I am Samantha's dad. I guess that having a little unfinished business in one's life isn't always such a bad thing.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

That time of year

So many things have changed since my last entry that it's hard to know where to begin.

My daughter celebrated her first birthday on December 10 and it is so amazing how fast the time has passed. People have often told my wife and I to enjoy these times because before you know it they are gone. I didn't always believe it but now I can say with certainty that the first year of my daughter's life has gone by in the blink of an eye. It seems like it was just weeks ago when I watched her first come into our world yet now she has become our world. My wife often tells our daughter how happy it made us that she chose us to be her parents. At first that statement didn't really sink in with me but over time I have come to appreciate it more. That expression has come to symbolize to me how our daughter has changed our lives. Nothing is solely about my wife and I anymore, everything is about our daughter. That is an amazing statement for me to make and it says how far along this journey we all have come in this first year.

Each day with her has been a treasure that I hope to never lose. As my paternity leave comes to an end and I have to rejoin the work force I am both sad and happy. I will miss being with my daughter everyday, all day but I will also have someone else amazing and exciting to look forward to when I get home from work. Adult conversation occasionally will be nice but I will miss not being here to watch my daughter discover that cats can be fluffy and scratchy. She has learned so much in this first year and my wife and I have been with her every step of the way. Now she will experience daycare for the first time and all the pitfalls and possible highlights that come along with it. She will begin to learn how to socialize with others out of sight of mom and dad and this scares me. My daughter is one of the happiest little creatures that I have ever seen. She is always smiling, waving to people, and trying to enjoy her life. I don't want her to change, her happiness makes me happy and when she is sad so am I.

All of this is just the natural course of getting growing. Life is nothing without change, I just hope my daughter can keep her wonder and amazement about life as she experiences more and more of it.

I hope you have a truly wonderful, and magical Christmas.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The show must go on

It was announced this week that the town of Hopkinton will not be
having their annual fireworks show this Fourth of July.
Under normal circumstances this is not such big news, certainly not
national or even state-wide news. However, in the area where I live
this news should be disappointing, discouraging and more than a little
bit depressing.

When my wife and I moved to Hopkinton four years ago the tax rate, or
amount of property taxes we paid on our home, was in line with the
taxes our friends who lived in Southern New Hampshire paid. Over these
last four years we have seen a steady increase every year and now we
pay about 35% more than we did four years ago. Our property taxes
now far exceed those paid by our friends. It seems with this amount of
tax increase the town can find the $4000 necessary for a fireworks
show someplace in the budget. I mean the town has somehow managed to
find, somewhere in the hundreds of thousands it collects, enough funding to put together a bid for an apple farm in order to preserve open space. It seems that it makes more
sense to pay for a fireworks show that can be enjoyed by hundreds of
families rather than to pay for an apple farm in order to preserve the open space
around the homes of fifteen families.

Most people from these parts will simply dismiss my opinions because I'm
not a "native". Apparently, I don't understand the New England way because if I
did I certainly wouldn't complain about preserving the open space
around these million dollar homes. If I were a "native," I would
understand that those families have always been here. These fifteen families helped
build the town and they deserve the financial support and respect from
the rest of the town in order to preserve the open space that they
have come to expect around their homes. If I was a "native" I would not think that these people can more than likely afford to preserve the open space around their homes with their own money instead of relying on town funds. As most readers of this blog are aware, I am not a native and I do not understand how the New England region can expect to stay vibrant and alive as it continues to make these kinds of one sided decisions. The New England region is slowing dying, young families are leaving for other areas at a faster rate than at anytime in history. When these young people leave they are not going to be coming back. They will discover that other areas of the country are welcoming to young people, welcoming to new ideas and decisions are made that benefit entire communities rather than just small segments.
Believe me, I understand the contradiction in the preceding paragraphs.
How can I complain about my taxes going up 35% while at the same time
complain that the town is not spending money on a fireworks show?
Shouldn't I be happy that the town is showing some fiscal restraint?
The short answer is no. The town of Hopkinton's saving $4000 in their budget
is probably like my saving $20 in my monthly budget: it is a
minuscule, insignificant amount in the overall scope of things. $4000
is about half of the taxes that I pay for the year so clearly this must not be
a money issue. There are least two food markets in town, two
gas stations, a couple of restaurants, and at least two banks. It
strikes me as questionable that the town could not get some
donations from these local businesses to sponsor the 2006 fireworks

As I said at the beginning, this is a small issue in a small town in a
small state. It just seems that something this small that has the
ability to make people happy should be one of the last things
eliminated from the town budget, not one of the first. Granted, I am
not a town selectman or involved in the overall budgetary process for
Hopkinton. All I am is a homeowner, taxpayer and resident of Hopkinton
and I would like to see a fireworks show in my town just like I did
last year.

Monday, May 29, 2006


Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.
Aristotle (384BC - 322BC)

As readers of this blog you know that it is about how my life is changing since I became a dad. It is also about how my daughter is changing in the time that she has been around. Today's blog is a little different and hopefully you'll stick around till the end.
I have been an air traffic controller with the Federal Aviation Administration for the last fifteen years. During that time I have been through many ups and downs, both personally and professionally. Most of theses downs have been due to decisions I have made, choices that I have made, or circumstances that I could have controlled. Surprisingly, most of these ups have also been because of things that I have done. Usually, the FAA is just my employer: I have a career, I am compensated, and I, in turn, give up three night shifts, one day shift and one midnight shift a week. If my work days are holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries then that is just the way it is. I work when I am scheduled because being an air traffic controller is, or at least has been, a career and not just a job to me. I was once proud of being able to say that I had a career as an air traffic controller. I felt that going into work provided me with a sense of purpose and was useful to the flying public and the overall good of the country. The FAA is intent on taking this career and turning it into nothing more than a way to put food on the table. My pride in this line of work is being taken away piece by piece and once the pride is gone it will probably never return.
Over the course of the last year and a half the FAA and the union that represents air traffic controllers, NATCA, have been embroiled in a contentious negotiation over a new contract. I am not going to get into the whole history of management/union rights at this time nor am I going to try to convince you that unions are good and management is bad. All I am going to try to do is make you aware that the FAA is not acting or negotiating in good faith. When the FAA entered negotiations they had two agendas. The first was to ensure that work rules, pay and benefits that had been earned over years of hard work and negotiations would be stripped away one by one. The second goal was to obliterate the union. Once the FAA realized that they could not get the union to agree to their demands through threats and intimidation the FAA declared the negotiations to be at an impasse and sent their last best offer to Congress.
This issue is so pressing that there is even a movement within the House of Representatives to force the FAA to act in good faith. If you can take the time to visit you can help change the FAA's actions towards these contract negotiations by becoming more informed of the issue, and then contacting your elected congressmen. By doing this, you can help to insure that the FAA keeps air traffic control a career and doesn't let it become just a job.
This is not a partisan issue. The bill in the House is sponsored by a Republican, and many Democrats and Republicans alike support it. I am not going to get into a long Bush-bashing sermon; there are many other blogs and news sources that you can read for that kind of information. I am simply trying to raise awareness of this specific issue because the outcome of this contract will have long lasting and far reaching implications for both my daughter and myself. The flying public will also be impacted through delays at the airports when hundreds or thousands of controllers who are eligible to retire decide the new work rules just aren’t acceptable. Once these seasoned, experienced controllers retire it will take at least two to three years for their replacements to be able to do their jobs. As of now the FAA has not hired anywhere near the amount of controllers necessary to counteract a large onset of retirements. It’s simple really: the fewer eyes that are watching the sky the fewer planes that can be in the sky.
Please visit today and ask Congressman Bass or Congressman Bradley to support HR 5449.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Small words

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.
Mahatma Gandhi

Well the rain seems to have loosened it's grip on my small part of the world. It was a long, wet ride but I did see the sun for at least part of the day. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those that are being affected by the flooding that this rain has brought. This small blog detailing the day to day changes brought about by the birth of my daughter is, of course, insignificant when compared with the issues of today.
I guess that my blog will always be insignificant when compared to any of life's real issues. This blog is never going to have the power to end the Iraq war or the genocide in the Drafur or the devastion in New Orleans. It won't do anything but perhaps make someone, somewhere smile and think "that's how I feel about my kids" or " I remember that feeling when my child was just a baby."
I have had serious thoughts about not posting anymore blogs until the flooding in the Northeast has ended. It seemed to me that my time would be better spent helping those in need. I then realized that by writing this blog I may be able to help one person, three people or thirty people that need to laugh, smile or cry.
This blog is not about ending the floods or what is wrong with the world today. It is simply about the story of one guy, me, one little baby, my daughter, and the changes that our lives have gone through, are still going through and will continue to go through.
There are more than enough resources to get all the information you can handle about what else is going on in the world. I am hopeful that when you read the words in this blog you can use them to get inside yourself for a few seconds or a few minutes and remember that as long as we can still smile we are all going to be all right at the end of the day.

Monday, April 24, 2006


One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.


Our daughter had a shot today. It wasn't the first time that she has had a shot, she is half-way through her second round of shots. My wife and I have decided that she only gets one shot at each office visit. This makes us have to go to the doctor three weeks in a row but it makes the pain less for our daughter. At least that is the idea.
Today's shot must of been different because I have never seen my daughter act like she was today. She couldn't stop crying and it was an angry, I am hurt, why aren't you helping me? kind of cry. I looked into her eyes and she stared back into mine with this look of fear, pain and anger that I have never seen before in anyone else. She was looking to me to make her feel better and there was nothing I could do to ease her pain. I can't explain to her what is going on, why sometimes shots hurt. She can't tell me what hurts her, where it hurts or for how long it hurts. All I could do was look back into her eyes and cry. I felt powerless, like I had let her down and I just couldn't handle her little face being so hurt and afraid.
After about 2 hours of my daughter not acting right we called the doctor. Of course, the office was closed as it was 5:05 and we had to page an on-call doctor. If you have never waited for a doctor to call you back, the wiat time is tantamount to torture. When you have a screaming baby, and it's your first child, every moment that goes by waiting for the call is frustrating. By the time the call came I was all ready beginning to get our daughter in her car seat to take her to the emergency room. I shudder to think what that experience would of been like.
Thankfully, the doctor gave my wife some good advice and my wife was good enough to heed the advice. We got the baby to relax long enough to give her some Motrin and then we placed a cold towel on her leg close to where the shot was given. It took about twenty minutes but almost like magic our daughter returned to the smiling happy baby she has been since she first got into this world.
I have never really thought about how hard it must be for parents who have to deal with their kids when the kids get really sick. I am talking about cancer, heart problems or brain surgery kind of sick. I always felt compassion for these parents but after going through this small taste of what theat must be like, I honestly don't know how anyone can stay sane after going through that kind of an ordeal. Hopefully, I won't find out if my wife and I can stay sane through this. Perhaps, we will continue to be fortunate and our daughter will continue her healthy ways. I guess I have no right to ask for that good fortune but I am asking for it anyway.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.
Og Mandino

Our daughter is really responding amazingly to songs, music and singing. Yesterday was Easter Sunday so we went to church to try and keep some spirituality and perspective in our lives as parents. Our daughter was just amazed by all the singing.
As you can see from the photo, Samantha had her first encounter with the Easter bunny. Some of the things about the holidays and how we as parents are supposed to expose our children to them are very confusing. Which of the two is more important? Is it the bunny or is Jesus? Does it depend on her age or does it depend more on how we view the holiday? How do we prepare our daughter to be able to tell what is made up to sell her things and what is made up to scare her? How can we on one hand tell her that a magic rabbit is going to hide eggs around the house and leave her some chocolates while we know it certainly is not true? If we don't believe it should we be telling our kids that it's the truth? What kind of damage does the lying cause between parents and kids?
I suppose all of these questions have been asked and answered by thousands of parents. I just hope that we are asking the questions and that the answers are right for our daughter.