When he was but a child his parents often smiled

when he wanted them to read him Peter Pan.

And when they read, “the end." he’d say, “Please, read it all again.”

“This time a little slower if you can.”


So they’d read it all again…and again and again and again

for that is what mothers and fathers do

because if it is loved by their son…and he is having fun

they find…they love it too.


When she was a but child her parents often smiled

when she wanted to climb their tallest tree.

She would climb up and down and then… say, “I want to climb again

there is still so much up there I want to see”.


So they’d watch her climb again…and again and again and again

for that is what mothers and fathers do

because if it is loved by their daughter…when they stand under that tree and spot her

they find…they love it too.


But sons and daughters grow…as all parents know

for life is nothing if not fleet.

The woman and the man move on from climbing trees and Peter Pan

and keeping up with what they love’s no easy feat.


So they watch and often worry as life seems to scurry

trying to love what they love too.

Their children may no longer heed them 

but they will be there if they need them

for that is what loving parents do.


And though they’re sad life moves so fast…from the present to the past

there is one thing that keeps parents happy too…

As they ride life’s ebb and flow…they are overjoyed to know

the things their children love may change

but not the who.


And there will come a day…when they are old and grey…

(for this is exactly what parents do)

A day they’ll look back when they can…

and remember climbing trees and Peter Pan


and they’ll remember how they loved them too…

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Why is it parents love to stand

quietly…without making a peep

if only for a moment

and watch their children sleep?


Could it be they love to see

in that moment soft and mild

the beauty of pure innocence

the angel in the child?


Could it be in that moment

with no reason to worry, to fret, to call them 

they are praying for their children’s happiness

and that no harm shall befall them?


That they just want their children to know

as they float on slumber’s stream

they will be there in the day to protect their hopes


and at night…to guard their dreams.

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After the birth of his first child a son asked his father,

“How much influence will I have in my son’s life 

and how far will my influence extend?”

The father looked at his son and smiled…

“Well son, that depends.” 


“Will your children grow up to be kind and loving?”

“Will they be people you are proud of?”

That depends on if you’re teaching them 

how to be kind, 

how to be gentle… 

how to love.” 


“Will they grow up with prejudices?”

 “Will hate and bigotry they pursue?”

“That depends on while they’re growing up 

if they see hate or acceptance in you.”


“Will they grow up unselfish and generous, 

or will they in themselves be immersed?”

“That depends of if your teaching them 

to put themselves or others first.”


“Will they grow up greedy and miserly…

will they take what isn’t theirs?”

“That depends on if you’re teaching them 

not only how to accumulate 

but how to share?”


“Will your children grow up happy 

or will they end up sad and blue?”

His dad looked him in his eyes and said, 

“Son, that depends on you.”


He is proud of the adults his children grew up to be

and when they ask him how far their influence will extend 

he’ll be ready with his answer


he will tell them…that depends.

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When our first child is born

we celebrate the day

at that moment we don’t care

if they are bi or straight or gay


We only care they are alive…

have all their body parts...

that they are breathing on their own…

and come with healthy hearts.


And each time we are blessed with a child

we celebrate that day

still not caring at that moment

if they are bi

or straight

or gay.


We only care that they are close to us…

that in their lives we play a part

that they all have gentleness in their souls…

and kindness in their hearts


And so parents of the world I ask this question: 

As we think back to our initial vow…

If we didn’t care when they were born…


Why should we care now?

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I am your baby…just born yesterday…I have all my fingers…all of my toes

and even though I can’t talk yet…here are 10 things I’d like you to know.


You will receive  a lot of good and bad advice…

you won’t always be able to tell them apart

so the first thing I have to tell you….

is to trust yourself and follow your heart 


Please…never call me stupid or I might end up feeling that way.

protect me….keep me safe and warm…life will be more appealing that way


And don’t be alarmed if I get hurt…when I bruise…be there to soothe and numb it…

remember your job is to help me learn about life…

not to keep me protected from it


Mistakes are just a part of who I am…and in my life they will be interspersed

So if you want me to believe in myself…

you must believe in me first.


I will be a child for a while…so be forgiving and patient with me

even the times when I make it difficult for you to be the parents you imagined you’d to be.


Finally, remember to love me no matter what… it’s the last thing I need you to know

your love is something I always will need…something I’ll never outgrow.


So there you have it…10 things you should know…

at least I think that’s the right amount…

after all I was only born yesterday…

I can’t talk 


how can you expect me to count!

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When an older couple was asked: What’s the happiest part or raising a family?

This was their reply:

The happiest part of raising a family is watching how they grow and change as time goes by.


Then they looked at one another, smiled and happily exclaimed:

And If you want to know the saddest part of raising a family…

our answer is the same.




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When your children are born you have your dreams for them 

but you never really know

what direction they will take…

where their life will go.


As they grow up those dreams you had…

you quietly erase them

as you allow the dreams they have…

to gradually replace them.


And your dream for them becomes more universal

you care less if they are wealthy…

you want them to be loving and generous

to be happy, kind and healthy.


I never dreamed our son would do what I did

never wanted him to be like me…

but I am proud of the life he’s chosen

and the person he came to be…


Case in point…he sent us a picture 

only a day ago

of him atop an electric scooter 

in San Antonio.


Now, I never dreamed he’d ride an electric scooter

never dreamed he’d be in that place…

but often I have dreamed

about that smile on his face…


Sure he's not living my initial dream…

how many children do?

but knowing he is living his…


has made my dream come true.

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It’s funny how time changes things…like the shores that are transformed by the sea…

For instance there was a large generation gap between my parents and their parents

a smaller one between my parents and me.


Still there were things my parents did that were embarrassing…

things I silently overcame

And I’m sure after all of our years together…Deborah must feel the same.


My dad would walk around in his underwear…boy was my face red!

Deborah’s mom would ask where her glasses were when they were sitting on top of her head.


Sometimes when they walked into a room…they’d forget what they came in for… 

Deborah’s mom always talked a little too loud…my dad walked into sliding glass doors.


One time my parents videotaped our family playing in a river…

as Deborah and I watched the movie we laughed, we giggled and we scoffed

most of the movie was just Mom and Dad’s conversation…

It seems they forgot to turn the video camera off…


Needless to say, growing up with our parents…

was an endless and sometimes perplexing parade

and when Deborah and I wed we made each other a promise 

not to make the same mistakes that they made.


And we thought we were keeping our promise 

until the other day when Deborah’s face turned bright red…

after she asked me if I’d seen her glasses 

and I mentioned they were there on the top of head.


It was heading outside that I had to wonder if by my dad I had been cursed…

when I walked into our French Doors- apparently you have to open them first!


And I’m not sure how many times we’ve had to call each other 

because apparently we’re both prone…

To not only forgetting why we came into a room…but of also misplacing our phones.


The last time I called Deb’s phone…when we found …we both had to scoff

as we listened to an entire conversation we had…

because we forgot to turn our telephones off…



Initially we laughed until we realized the truth

then our mood turned a little sad

It seems despite our best efforts to the contrary

we have transformed into our mom and our dad.


Deborah talks much softer and I don’t walk around in my underwear…

But we take little consolation these habits aren’t cropping up…

because no matter how we try to keep them down

our parents habits just keep popping up!


We’re not sure when time transformed us…

when our lives officially ran amok…

but our hope now lies with the next generation…


perhaps our children will have better luck!

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Today our oldest son turns 40…instead of feeling old…I”m feeling pretty good

as I pause to reflect a moment…on love and parenthood….


I do wonder how this happened…when did he become a man?

Here my memory takes me back to where it all began…


There are no words to describe the feeling…how immediately you’re torn

as you stand inside the hospital room and watch your baby being born.


“Congratulations,” the doctor says, “It’s a girl or it’s a boy.”

And in that instant your heart is filled…with both ecstasy and joy…


but in the next instant your knees begin to buckle and you feel a little numb…

because you realize in that instant…a parent you’ve become.


And you’re frightened for a moment…as you say your baby’s name…

because it’s apparent you’re a parent and your life will never be the same.


You understand you can’t go back…this photo cannot be retouched…

How being a dad…was the easy part…being a parent…not so much.


Questions begin racing through your mind…whizzing by rapidly.

How strong or strict or compassionate or tender will you be?


How will you ever cope with all the trials and tribulations up ahead?

Can you even change a diaper…what if it ends up on her head?


How long should we let a baby cry…if too long will they think that we we are mean?

How many times a day should she eat…what happens if his poop is green?


Will she come to love your smile?  Will he come to know your touch?

How many wipes is too many?  Is it possible to cherish them too much?


Where is the safest place for our baby to ride in a car?  Will there ever be a time when…

We stop worrying, know what we’re doing…or get a full nights sleep again?


But you have no choice…you’re a parent…so you jump into the fray

hoping you don’t make too many mistakes as you slowly find your way.


Then you find if you give them love, compassion and consistency…

a loving family will evolve

You discover the answers to your questions…and all your problems are resolved.


Sure you make mistakes along the way…life doesn’t always go the way we planned…

But your heart is in the right place…and you do the best you can…


Because you also knew one day your child will grow up and move away…

And if you want to be in his life tomorrow…you must be in her life today…


And as the years go by you smile…every time you say your baby’s name

glad he or she came into your life…glad it has never been the same.




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