My wife is out of town. I miss her. A lot. I’m eager to have her home. I know the kids sure are. Just when I think I’ve gotten a handle on playing “Daddy” I have to discover that I also have to sometimes play “Mommy”. I’ve been managing and I’m always grateful for the time spent with them.
They’re getting older. I don’t like that. Except that I do. Both of them seem to have inherited my sense of humor – or rather, different aspects of my sense of humor. Take for instance my son. Over the weekend we found ourselves in the greeting card aisle of the supermarket. A friend’s son just had a birthday. Since he’s also one of my favorite former students (the son, not the friend) I was picking up a card to drop in his mailbox. Son and I looked at the offerings. One card said on the outside: “Congratulations!” And on the inside: “You’re a great friend!” Almost in unison my boy and I said “Congratulations… You’re an idiot!” We laughed a little too hard at ourselves. On the way to the car he was still laughing when I told him “Listen, son, I’m going to have to go back in and buy that card and then write inside it, put it in an envelope, and mail it. In a few days it will arrive right back at our house addressed to you. You’ll open it and read “You’re an idiot!” and laugh some more.
I’m not exactly sure why that’s funny but it was.
My daughter? Oh, she’s something else. On Saturday night she got into a fit of complaints. I recognize what she’s going through. I didn’t always know how to express myself at that age. I still don’t except through writing. I’ve gotten very good at public speaking and impromptu addresses. I am a teacher after all. But when I was young I sometimes couldn’t find the words especially if I was sad or angry. She didn’t know how to say that she was frustrated with a situation… Until she finally screamed at me in the car “I’m FRUSTRATED!” Calmly I turned to her. “Good job, lady! You did it!!! Now let it out!” Then I told her what I say when I’m frustrated, replacing most of the words with the word “blank” or “blankety-blank”. “Real easy, sweetheart, you just wait until you’re alone in your car and say it all. No one can hear you and no one’s the wiser and you feel a lot better.” Getting out of the car she said “Daddy, I’m sorry I said all of that to you earlier.” She was truly contrite. It was a breakthrough. I took her aside and, stooping down, put my arm around her. “It’s OK baby. Just be careful not to speak to Daddy again like that. Or I’ll snap you like a twig and dump you in the lake.” On that sentence my voice trailed off a bit and I gazed into the distance. We both looked at each other – she was a bit of mocking terror in her eyes, me with a Hallmark smile and a twinkle in mine. And then we laughed very hard.
Speaking of impatience, I bought my wife an InstantPot for Christmas. She hasn’t had a chance to use it yet. Today I had a few hours free. I FaceTimed my sister in Jersey and she walked me through a few finer points. This evening, thanks to her guidance, I made chicken teriyaki in about 20 minutes. If you know me, you know I’m not a cook. I’m also not patient. I stand in front of a microwave yelling “HURRY UP!” But boy was this thing easy. Five minutes of prep time (throwing a bunch of things in the pot). Ten minutes to pressurize. Twenty minutes to cook. It was quite tasty too. I told my wife about my adventure with dinner on the phone. Not quite impressed… I don’t quite think she gets what a game-changer this will be that I finally feel confident making dinners that, even though I’m cheating with the awesome power of steam, might approach one-tenth the level of edibility of her cooking. And she won’t have to lift a finger!
How ’bout the new look? I mentioned I was making some changes. And today I did it. I took over 1700 posts from the previous 8 years and archived them. It’s time for a fresh start to Harvey. What went before is great and I will always laugh when I look back and read my posts. Sometimes I will cry. But it’s time to move on. This is what I like to think of as “Harvey 2”. What you will encounter now are more posts about the kids, more posts about my life as a Catholic dad, more posts about the blessings God has given us. I want to be uplifting. I want to be real. I want to share my life.
But every blog worth its salt has a focus, almost a hyper-focus. So mine is now this: confessions of a Catholic dad doing his best to raise saints. The original taglines have been swapped out for something new and concise. And the best part is that it’s now all under the URL of harveymillican.com! I finally broke down and snatched up my domain. That should make sharing by word of mouth a bit easier. Will those old posts ever make an appearance again? Sure, in the pages of the books I’m writing.
Christ is the same yesterday, today, forever. My commitment to daily mass is going strong, thanks be to God. I need it. I need to grace. Dad taught me this and I have to honor him. Each day I will bring my prayers to the altar and they will always include a prayer for each of you who read (double prayers if you comment). I have hope that God will make me a better husband, a better father, and a better man if I only approach Him every day, offer my prayers with the sacrifice of His Son, and receive the Lord with humility. Pray for me that I keep this up.