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Daddy Daydreamer

As my sons saw their dad cry for the first time, our love for each other grew

By attending to our messy feelings, we found room for empathy

Sketch of man crying

This essay originally appeared in The Globe and Mail on June 15, 2016.

I had never let my children see me cry before. I had this tough-guy notion it would make me look weak. But one morning, messy emotion got the best of me.

My eldest son was not feeling well. Although ill, he was looking forward to spending a day with me at home. . . .

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August 18, 2016

Fuzzy Bunny and the Baby in the Belly

Little brother wants to be a big brother

Stuffed animals: Fuzzy Bunny and Whasa Bunny

"Fuzzy," S asked, "do you have any gē-gē's or dì-dì's?"

"I don't know," Fuzzy Bunny answered. "What's a gē-gē and a dì-dì?"

"A gē-gē," S said, "is how you say big brother in Mandarin. A dì-dì is how you say little brother."

"Oh!" Fuzzy said. "Well I have one gē-gē and one dì-dì."

"What . . .

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August 04, 2016

A bedtime chat puts everything into perspective

My son and I contemplate life as we stare at the ceiling

Stars on ceiling

Bedtime with our children used to be heavy on stories. As they get older, our rituals inevitably change. They still like it when we read to them, but it’s not a big deal if we skip it. Eldest often prefers a chat instead. He sometimes shares more about his day, when turning in for the night.

We have a good chat one evening, talking . . .

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July 21, 2016

One Hundred Miles / Imagine Your Life

Two poems

Jumping over sprinkler

One Hundred Miles

Laugh away, smile
one hundred miles
w i d e.
Make it last,
this minute.

Before you know it
you're grown up.
Left to wonder
what happened to
this thing called
childhood.

I see myself in you.
Maybe that's why
I love you.
Maybe that's why
I'm angry.
Maybe I see
yourself in me.

Laugh away, smile
one hundred . . .

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Posted in: poetry

July 07, 2016

How my son dealt with smelly comments about his lunch

Classmates made fun of his seaweed sandwich

Seaweed sandwich

"Dad," youngest said quietly at the dinner table, "some people made fun of my food today."

All the memories came flooding back. I told him when I was a kid, sometimes A-Ma packed cold chicken legs in my lunchbox. Although I loved chicken, I felt different from those with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (back then it was okay to bring in . . .

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June 23, 2016

Failing as a teacher was one of my greatest life lessons

In dealing with depression, I have become a better, stronger person

Chalk and eraser
Photo: Freeimages.com – Elliot Jordan

Teaching grade school and parenting are very similar. Both involve educating children, and both require great patience. My first foray into teaching wasn’t successful, but it helped me become a stronger person and prepared me for eventual parenthood.

In May, 2000, I earned my . . .

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June 09, 2016

I stumbled answering my kids' questions about sex

A Sexapalooza billboard prompted some curious inquiries

Burlesque dancer at Sexapalooza

“Oh! That sign says ‘Sexapalooza!’ ” my boys giggled, as we drove past a billboard advertising the consumer sex show. After calming themselves, my eldest son curiously asked: “What’s Sexapalooza?”

I glanced at my wife, both of us temporarily unsure what to say.

“It’s a show for . . .

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May 26, 2016

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