Prologue to the early writings of a book that is underway
2016 is now 2 weeks from the history books. I would suspect neither of my kids will even be engaged by the time this book “goes to press”. But one can never guess when it comes to love and commitment. Charlie, my son, is 45 days short of 22 years. My daughter, Maggie, is now 17. I would think this gives me plenty of time to complete the book. Today this is simply a Blog. It is just a glimpse of what will become a book. (A book that I plan to wrap and give to whomever my son or daughter marry, the very day they announce their respective engagements). That day will be filled with excitement and the intent of this book is simply to communicate or express my expectations and viewpoints as your soon to be Father-in-Law. We want you to be truly excited about joining our family. I want you to call me DAD. I truly hope that you will get to know our family fairly well and that is also part of my intention when writing this book. It is titled “10 things to know before marrying one of my kids”, but it I may change that to “10 things to know about our family…before walking down the isle.” before i finish my works. I communicate best in writing. Welcome to our family. I am most pleased you will soon be a part of it. Here is a brief peek into my book that is officially underway. (the start of Chapter 1)
Chapter 1. Christmas
Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. A time that family should make every effort to be together. Keep in mind you are now quite close to being part of our family. While the “ultimate prize” is to see you both every single Christmas I understand that may not be reality. We realize you have family too and that you may even find yourselves living in a different part of the country. But you would sure make Nancy and I happy by being with us at a minimum, every other year for Christmas. Please make plans and budget your time for this important day. We will make it worth your while. We have been fortunate as we have lived in a city where both of our parents currently live. A key to our happy 21 years of marriage is that we were fair and spent time with both sets of parents every year on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. To reiterate… being fair on these special days are quite imperative at least to our side of the family. So what makes Christmas so special to me? Church, music and choir concerts. Cookies and putting up the Christmas tree and of course…snow. A time to reflect on the year that is about to pass. Thankfulness and giving. Being blessed! All reasons to surround ourselves with family. Let’s make it a tradition!
Chapter 2. Christ 1st -Family 2nd & Work 3rd.
Life always always always goes best when our family follows this order of importance. We do our best to go to Church. I do my best to pray and set good examples. But we are human and the Lord knows that. We fail often and are not perfect- and we will always fall short of that. I can tell you first hand, however, that being Christian and believing in Jesus Christ is essential. We may have met you on earth, but want to one day see you in heaven too. Family does come next. In fact, specifically spouse ranks #2. I find that Trust as the most important piece of a solid relationship followed closely by open communication. If you both are Christian and treat each other with respect and always trust each other and openly communicate, the bond of love will prevail. Work… Yes- surely 3rd in priority I feel. Work to me is not work if you enjoy what you do. It ranks 3rd in my opinion of priority because if you believe in God and take care of your spouse, then work will fall into place and will get the “job” done when it comes to your needs/wants. This Chapter is not easy stuff but I feel it is important enough to point out about our family beliefs before walking down that isle.
Chapter 3. Both kids are writers.
it me that passed on this writing gene? Or was it Mrs. Keekley, and English teacher and media advisor at St. Louis Park high school that was named the 2016 National High School Journalism teacher of the year that taught them well. In any case they are both quite skilled at writing. (Both kids were quite involved with the school newspaper called, the Echo and held top positions while part of it). I believe it’s the Echo that was the steppingstone that both found the most beneficial part of their high school life. It made them leaders and it drove them both to set goals and pushed them above and beyond. I’ll never forget Charlie helping Maggie edit papers while she was in Jr High School but what was most shocking was Charlie asking Maggie to edit or review his papers when he got to college. Their Grandpa B. is a romantic writer, so maybe you are hoping it is in the genes.
Chapter 4. Cross TRUST off the list of worry.
If there is one word to describe our family- it would be TRUST. It starts with the commitment my wife and I made 24 years ago along with both kids grandparents that have been married twice that long. You have to trust each other in all circumstances. Whether it be the check book, or where to live, or what career drives you in life. Just trust. Charlie and Maggie both can be trusted. You cannot fake that characteristic. Trust is one of those “must haves” once married.
It will keep you married
As we sent off Charlie to college in 2013, we added another to the family, Hubbell, (our Yellow Lab). This picture was taken by our daughter Maggie, in Northfield, MN. (near St. Olaf College).
On October 2, 1993 Nancy and I got married. 23 Short Years ago. We met on a blind date. At that time in my life I was doing best to pay my 1/2 rent to a roommate that was quite successful and wanted the Condo to be “top notch” and “the best in the Twin Cities”. I had just lost my job but was falling madly in love with what I felt was soon going to be my “wife to- be”. We went for a walk the day after our first date around Lake of the Isles. We discussed everything …and from that day on…and for days and months and just over a year we could not stop talking. Loving her was quite simple. She accepted me for who I was and I felt I could trust her for the rest of my life and for 24 years she has not let me down. (the 1 year we dated I also trusted her, thus 24). What makes our marriage work? She trusts me as well. We would do anything for each other and though we disagree from time to time- we find ways to accept each other’s ideas. We make it work. 5 things that I will never forget about my wife these past 23 years of marriage:
- We were once on a trip to Jamaica, A Cruise Ship had caught fire and unloaded 50 people at our resort. Some of them had no clothes or belongings to take with them due to the fire on the boat. Nancy immediately went to our room and packed up nearly all her clothes and handed them over to a woman that appeared to be her dimensions. She simply said, take my clothes- use them and keep them.
- About 4 years after we wed, I was offered a job in Portland, OR. I was to manage Seattle and Portland markets for a Telecom Firm. We found a buyer for our home and actually had made an offer out in the Pacific NW on a home. I had accepted the offer and the company flew us out to meet and to find a school for our son at that time. As we went to bed, Nancy said she did not feel right about it. Stunned, I said, “Ok, if you do not feel good about this- we will rescind the offer and hopefully I can get my job back and hopefully the buyers will understand we want our home back”. (in Minneapolis) It all worked out as planned- and I thank Nancy for her honesty and uneasiness.
- About 8 years into our marriage, my wife asked if I was getting a lot out of our Catholic Church we were then attending. I replied, “no”. At that time, our son seemed to be getting a lot out of a different one. We checked it out together, and soon after joined a Lutheran Church, of which we have been active members ever since. Our kids have been in the choir and involved in Summer Camps and has truly been a big foundation of our lives.
- My “Martha Stewart.” My wife knows how to throw a party. We have hosted several over the years- usually involving our kids and their friends on special occasions. She is known for her cupcakes and most know this about her. But her creative way of hosting a party is a special gift. It is something I will always remember about Nancy.
- Kids. No one I know could have done a better job raising our kids. She simply knows how to do it. Sure, I have my roles into parenting as well. We seem to have good balance, but it is Nancy that should take the credit. We are fortunate. Time flies while raising kids- and there is truly nothing better in life than having them. We look for the day our kids will have them of their own. We can wait but will love to see this chapter unfold in the next 23.
Nancy, Thanks for your giving and never taking. Thanks for your instincts. Thanks for your willingness to take our lives’ paths together. Thanks for your creativity that is unmatched. And finally, thanks for loving me and loving our kids.
I look forward to at least 50 more years as it would be so special to celebrate 75 years together. Think of all those memories!
Love you – HAPPY 23
One week from today our son is off to college. 18 Years of raising him. Would we have changed a thing? No. We were blessed. Son, you made good choices and found good friends. We send you off with this advice. Continue to believe in yourself, trust in the Lord, always remember your family is here for you, but continue to hold on to your close friends and make some new ones along the way.
You should feel so fortunate for the friends in your life that you spent time with these past 18. You have your School Newspaper (“Frat”) friends, your Church (“Church Bro”) friends, various Sports team friends, your Life Guard friends, and of course the regular High School friends. (and not all from your own H.S.) And we now look forward to the new ones yet to meet. They are all welcome in our home anytime.
A past soccer coach recently did his “send off” to his team on a blog. He reminded them of the privilege it is to be able to go to college. We remind you that the goal is to work hard and play hard and come out of there set to fulfill your dreams. Anything is possible.
We are confident you will execute on the above. You have proven it already and know that will not change. We are proud of what you have accomplished thus far, son. You more than over achieved what we felt was possible but somehow you found a way to handle it all. Sure we all have had our challenges and let downs these past years. But it is all meant to make you/us stronger. Keep the faith.
The “foundation” has been built while you were in our home. These next 4 years we look forward to seeing what you will “construct”. We are most optimistic that it will be something “spectacular”!
I am in my 50’s now- and still to this day lean on my parents for advice. They have always been there for us and for that I am most thankful. We can only hope to do the same for you as you continue your journey.
Update July 27 2014
Year 1 is behind you at St. Olaf and I reflect back to my writings just 11 months back. I must admit. I wept a bit the day we drove home from Day 1 Drop off. It felt as though my heart went blank and breathing became harder. It may have partly been the build up of the separation of not having you home. After all, on that day I will never forget, parents walked off one way and the students another. I recall your confession just prior to our hug good bye as though we would never talk again. I was so pleased it was such a minor issue and one that would not be too hard to forgive. (The high water on Minnetonka and your Grandpa’s new boat that summer had ‘Tonka patrol in full force.
Charlie, as I re-read my original Blog- I find it so true and so on track. Paragraph 1 (You did hold on to your close friends and did find new ones along the way). Paragraph 3 ( You did and are working hard and are playing hard). Wow think about what you have already accomplished at college. Stay involved and continue to work hard and play hard. You are on your way to fulfilling your dreams. We could not be more proud of you. This summer has been fun to see you Intern and Life Guard and balance your close friends and stay in solid touch with your new College friends. Quite impressive you have found a way to balance all of this over the short summer. You have made great choices this past (and 1st) year at College. As before, and once again, job well done. (Par. 4) We are confident you will continue to execute! And you have become stronger. We see the change.
Update November 19 2016
You are now on the home stretch of college. Just a few months to go. You are to put behind what your sister has yet to experience. Few can say they have a job as neat as yours awaiting them the day you all walk across the graduation stage (and for you) just 50 miles to the north. Olaf and what you have worked hard for there… is justified. Congratulations.
You are smack in the middle of a new page, in a new chapter, of your book of life. I am guessing a page that will far exceed the past couple chapters. You accomplished “a plenty” and had awesome days on The Hill. No one can take those memories away from you. But never look back…just continue to be humble and smile and grab what you have learned and “turn it to gold”! We are so proud (as you should be) of who you have become. You recently shared with me your goals before you finish up college. All 3 are higher bars than most could accomplish. Whether you achieve 1…2… or all 3, it is impressive you set them and I know you are working hard to fulfill them.
July 21, 2013
(July 28, 2004), I created a “date book.” It was my first date with my daughter, Maggie, who was 5 years old at that time. I decided that we would track all of our special dates throughout life in this little green journal. I figured at that time that one day my daughter would date and even potentially wed. I plan to hand this book over to Maggie’s future spouse so he/she can read all about the fun and creative dates my daughter would learn to enjoy with me. It is now summer (’13) and there have been 15 special dates registered in this book and soon to be 16. Sadly, I would have thought there would be many more these past years, but life moves fast and it is not as easy as one would think. Our dates range from dinners, movies and Church square dances, to picnics and Billy Joel concerts. Spare ribs seems to be the food theme as do walking in parks and listening to music. One date had a big change of plans as we went to enter a Wild game that had already been played the Saturday night (the week before).
My favorite date was July 29, 2007. Journal entry as follows:
We picked a perfect 87 degree “blue -sky” day with no humidity. We went on a picnic (Picnic basket and all). We packed a blanket, Famous Dave’s sauce, and lots of napkins. Before the picnic we found ourselves at the Wild Rumpus Book Store. The store this book originally came from. Maggie found a cat book, “50 ways to make friends with your kitten,” was the name of the book. We then picked up ribs and some fries and found some shade at Lake Harriet Band Shelter. There was an orchestra playing so it was jammed with people enjoying the nice weather. We had a special picnic there and then relaxed on the blanket for about 5 very long symphony songs. After the picture perfect dinner at the shaded picnic spot, we drove to Sebastian Joe’s for an ice cream caramel sundae. “It was the best ice cream ever,” according to Maggie. I am now writing in our back yard with a fire in the fire pit. Charlie and Nancy are at a Little League party. As, I am writing in this book, I came up with an idea for Maggie and I. Creating a DATE BOOK for other fathers and daughters. Simple but fun and very rewarding if nothing else. I will research this some more and update the progress later.We ended the date with a game of Sorry- one of Maggie’s favorite games.
This week our son heads to Camp. Maggie and I agreed to another date. We plan to go to Leanne Chin’s for dinner. I am looking forward to it and wonder if she will think of wearing her Paris Perfume I once bought her. I will update my Daughter Date Night blog as she turns a new Chapter in life- (High School).
Time for an update….a new Chapter as promised as 1 year is behind Maggie now at H.S. And 1 year ago since my last Blog writing- “Daughter Date Night”
It comes at quite a coincidence that I sit here today updating this Blog. Why? Well we just had a “date” again today. It was quite spontaneous and nothing fancy and was not a Night Date. This morning Maggie decided to go jogging with me. Whether it was for her own desire to stay fit or observation I was falling out of shape, the good news was that it was her idea. It was a short date with hopes of longer chats and repetitive conversations as the distance of the runs intensify. We accomplished our first goal together of a simple 1.5 mile jaunt, but already have plans to work it up to the 3 miles over the next 6-8 weeks and the ultimate goal/prize of an October 4th 5-K Run at Charlie’s College- St. Olaf. We sat down after the jog (quick date) and Maggie found a Nike APP to download and track our progress on her I-Phone. I would normally write in the little Green Book about our date but technology took over. In fact, she and Nancy are out looking for an armband to hold her I-Phone as she realized music will help distract the knee pain and side aches that will surely occur.
Maggie did have a date (not me) her first year @ High School. It was a Sadie Hawkins Dance. Nancy and I held the pre-dance dinner here at our home with about 30 total party-goers. I recall not getting too choked up over her first date with another guy. After all, his Mom drove them to the dance from our house. I felt Maggie was in control of this one. Girl asked Boy…our house…large group…All good!- What could possibly go wrong? So far so good!