Wednesday, February 14, 2018

How Do You Tell A Boy About Evil?

Dear JJ,

We took a trip and stopped in Berlin, Germany. I had to wonder - how do I tell you about evil? You hear about it in fairy tales, but what and when do I tell you?

How do I tell you that the place you are dancing was once where the Nazis burned books and imposed censorship upon one of the most literate peoples of the planet?


How do I tell you that this place you are taking a photograph has had two tragedies with it?


One is this church - bombed out from World War 2 - left as a symbol of a war that reduced Berlin to rubble.


This memorial next to it is where a person killed innocent people who were shopping, using his car as a weapon to promote another ideology of hate - ISIS. 



How do I explain that this photo I am having you stand in front of is the only time that the tanks of the United States and the USSR were lined up against one another and we narrowly avoided a World War that would have been the end of the planet?



How do I tell you that the monument you are enjoying is called the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, when just recently a friend of yours said that because your daddy is Jewish he will be going to where "all the monsters are."


How do I tell you that we, against a powerful government that is evil are like this: alone, naked, and needing help?


How do I explain that this wreath represents where five soldiers were shot because they wanted to end a brutal dictatorship?


I will tell you, and you will learn, but most of all this photo, taken next to a panel by Checkpoint Charlie,  reminds me that you are our hope. That "a little child will lead them."

Love,

Dad

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Uncle Jimmy

Dear JJ,

Today is the 11th anniversary of when your uncle Jimmy died. Those of us who knew him will always miss him - and I am so sad that you never were able to meet the man we named you after.

You have so many of his traits: you smile a lot, you are kind, and when you get in trouble at school it is because you are being social with your friends - just like him.  He would have loved to know you, and you would have been a reason he would have come to Arizona.  He would have come to cheer you on in his favorite sport, baseball. He would have spent hours kicking a soccer ball around with you.

You are lucky to have many fine relatives in your life - but I am so sad today that one of the finest is just a memory. That memory comes alive not just on a day like today when it is the anniversary of his death, but in your personality I see it often.

Keep being kind, keep loving your friends, keep smiling. You are your own person - and sorry if sometimes we see and remember another. 

Love,

Dad
The three of us - Jimmy, myself, Ron

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Joy of Competition


Dear JJ,

Soccer season finished on Saturday - your first full year.  Your team lost 4-0.  But the best part was when we asked how you liked the game you said you loved it. 

Over the course of the year you have loved playing soccer - sometimes in the hallway with me as different photographs fall off the wall when struck.  Sometimes in the backyard (one way we get Lucky's dog poops cleaned up).  But you always love it.

Turns out you are a pretty good player.

You love the game, love playing with friends, and while you like telling me when you win - you still like the game.

That, my son - is what it is all about.

When I play golf I never hope my opponent will have a bad shot. I want his shot to be good, I want his putt to go into the cup.  If I win the match, I am not beating him - I am beating myself. I am playing my best. 

Celebrate the good plays of others- and play your best game.

Competition isn't about winning, it is about bringing out the best in yourself.  Unless we are racing to get ready in the morning - then it is about winning.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

My best job

Dear JJ,

Today is my favorite day of the year- Father's Day. It has been since you made me a dad. From the moment I found out I was going to be a dad I had no idea how much it would affect my life.  Thank you son.

Love,

Dad

Making morning toast - you seem to have grown

Concentrating and putting together legos meant for someone who is between 9 and 14 

Another recital - no big deal

Off to summer camp

Two dads and three generations. Glad my dad can celebrate with us - at 92 years old he is so happy that he has a grandson - his only grandchild.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Baseball

Dear JJ,

Baseball and fun -

I didn't think I would be one of those dad's that goes to baseball games. I didn't think I would be cheering, and then thinking how I could help you be a better player.  I didn't realize how fun playing catch with you would be. 

Love,

Dad
It is nice seeing a Simpson in a baseball uniform

Baseball means good friends 

You like being Catcher 
Even more than that you like hitting the ball



Friends Birthday Parties

Cupcakes and Pizza 
Good buddies

Dear JJ,

Mom was sick so I brought you to the birthday party of your buddy.  I had a great time just watching you. You are a good buddy, and thankfully the party was at a place where you could wear out a lot of your energy.  The parents were wonderful.

I never knew being a dad meant I would enjoy kids birthday parties.

Love,

Dad


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

I am Santa

Dear JJ,

This year on Christmas Eve you had a hard time going to bed. Finally you did and I was able to slip into my Santa suit.

About 10:30 am I woke you up and said, "JJ, I have delivered all my gifts, would you like to open one of yours?"

You looked up in a bit of disbelief.  Here was dad in a Santa suit.  Maybe now you will believe, that I am Santa.

Love,

Dad
Waking up JJ