Memories of Yo Gabba Gabba Live

Sutton: “Daddy, look!  The princess is at Yo Gabba Gabba Live!”

Me: “Oh, just like when we went to Yo Gabba Gabba Live.  Is she having fun?”

Sutton: “No, it’s scary.”

Me: “Yeah, it was dark, wasn’t it?”

Sutton: “Yeah.”

Me: “And loud.  And crowded.”

Sutton: “Yeah.  That means there’s a lot of people!”

Me: “Right.”

Sutton: “You held me on your shoulder, Daddy.”

Me: “That’s right.  I did.”

Bennett: “Daddy took me… hallway!”

Me: “Right, Bennett.  You were upset, so Daddy took you out in the hallway.”

Bennett: “Yeah.”

Me: “Hey, if Yo Gabba Gabba Live came to New York, would you guys want to go?”

Sutton and Bennett: “YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Welcome, Thank You and Please

English: Chain

Image via Wikipedia

It’s always nice to see my hit count spike when I post something people connect with.  So, first of all, welcome to all the new visitors who’ve been coming to this blog.  I hope you’ll stay and check out some of my other stuff.  The best place to start is on one of the pages linked above — Best O’Blog (for my favorite posts from this blog) or Other Writing (for pieces published on other sites).  You might also want to check out the About Me page for some background about the site and me in particular.

Because so many new people have been coming, I owe a big thank you to my regular visitors, who have obviously been kicking some serious tushie (that’s right – “tushie” – it’s a family blog) getting the word out.  I don’t always see who’s sharing my posts on Twitter and Facebook or I’d thank you all individually (and if we’re not FB friends, I probably didn’t see your share at all).  However, I do see how many people are sharing, and it’s more than just the friends I’m quietly bribing to link me, so I know some of you are doing it because you actually like my posts.  Wow.

That being said, to the rest of you, I ask you to please join in and help spread the word.  If you see something here that you find interesting/funny/informative/infuriating, please click the links at the end of each post that let you share the post easily on Facebook and Twitter.  If you’re on Digg, Reddit StumbleUpon or some other site so hip I haven’t even heard of it yet, then link me there, too.  (Reddit has been particularly kind to me lately.)  Link me on your own blog, if you have one.  Send out an email to your friends who you think might appreciate this blog.  Most of my readers have found me through referrals from their social networks, so I really rely on that word of mouth to help my readership grow.

Please also like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and subscribe to the blog by providing your email in the right column where it says “Follow Blog Via Email”.  (You’ll only get emails about new blog posts, no spam.)

And most of all, comment!  I love hearing from readers, especially if they have nice things to say (but even sometimes if they don’t), and it helps me understand what people like and dislike about the posts so I can figure out what kind of content works best here.

Sorry for the hard sell.  I promise not to do this too often, but as I’ve said before, I’m trying to get my memoir published, and the more hits and subscribers I get, the more interested publishers become.  I don’t advertise on the site, and I don’t make any money from it, so when people help me bring in more readers, that’s all the payment I ask for.

I’ll be back soon with another regular post… and eventually, that redesign I’ve been teasing.

Thanks again for reading!

EPSON MFP image

How to Talk To Your Children About Gay Parents, By a Gay Parent

English: Train Board at Grand Central Terminal

Image via Wikipedia

Imagine you’re at the train station, taking your kids into the city to see the Lion King.  A man steps off the train, and two toddlers run up to him shouting, “Daddy!  Daddy!”  He gives out two hugs and about a thousand kisses and tells them how much he missed them while he was at work.  You’ve witnessed scenes like this many times, but as always, your heart melts.  Then the dad stands up, walks a little further down the platform and kisses… another man.

Well, that’s different.

“How was your day?” the first guy asks, and the other one starts talking about who got time outs, why the kids have maple syrup in their hair and who flushed what down the toilet right before they left.

OK, back to normal.

You’ve probably done the math by now — Look!  Gay dads! — but there’s a decent chance you’ll feel a tug on your leg, and your kid will look up at you and ask, “Yo, what’s the deal there?”

This is the story of my life.  I am a gay dad, and I confuse children.

I’m sure it happens more than I realize – at the supermarket, at the park, at preschool.  Just by acting like any other parents, my partner Drew and I are inadvertently sparking countless conversations that start with, “Where’s their Mommy?”

You’re free to handle that question however you want, of course.  But if you don’t know where to begin, allow me to help.

You see, when Drew and I decided to have kids, we knew that the gay dad job description would include explaining our family to the world for the rest of our lives.  That’s one of the reasons I started my blog.

It’s also why I am kindly providing you, the sympathetic straight parent, with some guidelines.  (Unsympathetic straight parents are free to ignore my suggestions, in which case, I’ll enjoy watching them squirm.)  Obviously, what you say will depend on how old your kids are and how much exposure they’ve had to gay people previously, but in a broader sense, these suggestions should apply to anyone.

I’m not a child psychologist, just a gay dad who’s thought a lot about the issue and who has a big stake in it.  After all, I don’t want your kids coming up to my kids one day and telling them they’re weird for not having a mommy.

If you don’t want that either, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Use the word “gay”.

Everyone’s concentrating on taking the negative connotation away from the word “gay”, but at the same time, let’s not forget to encourage the positive.  We don’t want “gay” to be a curse, so go ahead and teach it to your kids.  That’s how we’ll really take the sting out of the word.

“Oh, Uncle Doug and Uncle Max?  They’re gay.”  “Aunt Vera and Aunt Debbie aren’t sisters, honey.  They’re lesbians.”  “Well, statistics suggest at least 3 of the Smurfs must be gay.”  Don’t make a big deal about it.  Just say it.  If your kids hear some jerk at school sneering, “That’s so gay!”, their response will be, “Yeah?  So what?  So are Uncle Max, Aunt Vera and, most likely, Brainy.”

2. You don’t have to pretend half the world is gay. 

Don’t play down the fact that your kids may have witnessed something unfamiliar.  “Geez, Madison.  They have two daddies, what’s the biggie?”  It’s natural for poor little Madison to be confused, so give her a damn break.

Kids are probably going to assume all families have one mommy and one daddy, because that’s all most of them see.  You can be honest. Use words like “most” and “some”.  “Most families have a mommy and a daddy… but some have two mommies or two daddies.”  As long as you don’t attach a value judgment to that statement, it really is no biggie. (The same goes when explaining single parent families, divorced families or anything else your child might be witnessing for the first time.)

Some kids might say something like, “That’s weird”, or they’ll think you’re playing a joke on them.  That should just be a reminder of why you’re having this conversation.  Get to your kid before ignorance does.  If you’re honest with them, they’ll get it.  Explain that gay families are less common than the usual mommy/daddy family, but they’re every bit as valid.  “It’s not weird, it’s just different than our family.”

3. Get your mind out of the gutter.

It seems silly that I even have to say this, but when some people think about homosexuality and kids, they imagine that you’re suggesting they graphically describe intercourse to kindergarteners.  Um, no.  All you should be doing is answering the questions they’re asking, and save the rest for junior high health class.  If they wonder why Owen has two daddies, it’s because “His daddies are in love”… or because “Some men love other men.”  Hopefully, you’ve taught your kids to understand what love is, so no further explanation should be required.

And do use the word “love”.  That’s what we’re talking about here.  You don’t need to say “attracted to” or “some boys like boys”.  “Like” is how they feel about each other.  A kid might think, “Well, I like boys.  I guess I’m gay.”  Compare it to your own relationship (assuming you have a good relationship).  “You know the way Mommy and I love each other?  That’s how their daddies (or mommies) feel about each other.”  And if your kid says, “Yuck!” it’s probably because they feel the same way about when you and your spouse get all schmoopy-doopy with each other.  That’s progress.

4. Don’t make it about your kid — yet.

Understanding gay parents is a big enough topic of discussion, and your kid probably won’t be prompted to wonder about their own sexuality at this point.  You don’t need to say, “You might marry a man someday yourself, Junior!”  While it’s great to plant the seeds of acceptance early, you’ll probably just end up confusing them more.  Your kids have plenty of time to figure their own feelings out, and when the time comes, make sure you let them know that you love them no matter what.  But no, they can’t marry Brainy Smurf.

5. If your kid does ask you to speculate, you can tell them they’ll “probably” be straight.

Again, only if your kid expresses some curiosity should you even broach the subject.  But if they’re wondering, “Who will I marry someday?”, feel free to tell them, “You’ll probably marry someone of the opposite sex, but I’ll accept you either way.”  Of course, if you’re like the mom from the amazing blog Raising My Rainbow, your “probably” might lean the other way.  Just take your cues from your kid.

6. Remember the magic phrase, “Love is what makes a family.” 

It’s possible your kids will ask something like, “But doesn’t everyone need a mommy?”  Even kids who don’t know exactly where babies come from understand that women are the ones who get pregnant and give birth.  When that’s all you know, then two daddies just don’t add up.

Again, don’t go into any more detail than you need to.  Remind your kid that while it’s a woman who gives birth to a baby, your Mommy(-ies) and/or Daddy(-ies) are the one(s) who raise you. It’s no different than how you’d explain adoption by a straight couple.  “The Strattons flew to Beijing and brought little Daisy home.  Now they’re her Mommy and Daddy.”

What kids want to know is that the little boy or girl they see whose family looks different is still being well taken care of. Assure your children that the kids are in good hands, because love is what makes a family, and those parents love their kids as much as you love yours.

7. Most importantly, just talk to your kids.

Your kids are bound to see a gay family sooner or later, even if it’s just Mitchell & Cameron on Modern Family.  So if they come to you with questions, it’s really important that you don’t get weird about it.  Don’t change the subject, don’t tell them they’re too young to understand and definitely don’t lie and say that the mommy is home doing dishes or off fighting in Afghanistan.  Otherwise the message you’re sending is that there’s a reason to be uncomfortable around gay families.  The same goes for all kinds of families, whether they have two moms, two dads, a single mom, a single dad, foster parents or if they’re being raised by wolves – just explain that that’s a different kind of family and gee, isn’t it nice that everyone’s a little different.

… which leads me to a big secret.

You see, there is a gay agenda.  It’s true.

What most people don’t realize is that the gay agenda isn’t “everybody should be gay”.  It’s “everybody should be themselves.”

Be a nerd, be a Yanni fan, be a real housewife of your particular geographic region.  Whatever.  It’s all part of the same cause, and it’s a great message to teach your kids.

I shouldn’t have to say this in the 21st Century, but for anyone who’s still wondering, NO, I don’t want to make your kids gay.  I just want to live my life with a sense of mutual respect for everyone else on this planet.  If you want the same thing, then let your kids learn by your example.  Show them that nontraditional families are nothing to be afraid of.

Teaching your kids to be accepting of gay people and gay families is a great way to teach them acceptance in a broader sense – and to teach them the ultimate lesson: to be accepting of themselves.

I know some people think differently, but that’s what I call family values.

Donald Trump Announces Scottish Golf course Plans

What If My Kids Are A**holes?

What would you say about someone who exhibited the following behaviors:

  • Demanding things over and over, without even giving you time to respond?
  • Letting every minor inconvenience or frustration spur a complete screaming, crying meltdown?
  • Ordering you around without ever saying “please” or “thank you” unless specifically requested to do so every single time?
  • Dismissing your well-intentioned efforts with a loud “No!” and a contemptuous swipe of their hand?
  • Being completely unmoved by rational arguments?
  • Responding to disappointment merely by increasing the volume and intensity of their demand?
  • Cutting you off with an insincere “Sorry!” when you’re upset in hopes of avoiding a lecture?

Sounds like a real a-hole, right?  But what if they had a face like this:

Only a real douchebag would call them a-holes, right?

And yet… that’s exactly how I would describe that kind of behavior in anyone else.  When I encounter an adult who acts the way my kids do, I distance myself from them as quickly and thoroughly as possible.  I’ve ended friendships over that kind of behavior.  I’ve quit jobs.  I’ve asked to speak to the store manager.

But because they’re my kids, I’m stuck dealing with it.  Even worse, I’m expected to correct their obsessive, petty selfishness and turn them into decent human beings.  Geez, no pressure or anything.

I know this is supposedly a phase that all kids go through, but it’s hard not to worry that what I’m seeing now is something darker, the first true glimpse of my children’s souls.

What if my kids are… just jerks?

What if I’m not dealing with the terrible twos… but with terrible people?

Every short-fused, condescending egotist in the world was 2 years old once.  How do you tell the difference between them and the ones who are just going through a healthy stage of human psychological development?

Can you?

Bennett’s such a happy kid, always laughing.  But sometimes I wonder if he’s laughing at me.  Tell him not to drop his bowl of yogurt on the floor, and he won’t… until your back is turned.  Then you’ll hear a thud, accompanied by a precious little cackle.  He’s a prankster, but what if it’s not just some innocent boundary-testing that he’s doing?  What if he’s a budding Bernie Madoff?

Sutton’s verbal abilities are superior to those of most grown-ups I know.  Drew and I are stunned how quickly she learns and how well she remembers.  It’s gotten to the point where we don’t even have to quiz her on new concepts anymore.  She’ll ask and answer her own questions.  “What does ‘busy’ mean?  It means you have a lot to do!  Who’s that?  Dora’s friend Tico!  What does an elephant say?  [insert trumpeting sound accompanied by upward arm motion]”  It’s impressive and adorable, until we start wondering… are we nourishing a young Cliff Clavin?

Face it.  What’s cute at 2 isn’t going to stay cute much longer.  By 5, it’ll be unbearable.  By 10, it’ll seem downright pathological.  And yet, some kids are undoubtedly headed down that very path.  The world has a long history of a-holes.

I’m sure it was positively adorable when toddler Dick Cheney spat a mouthful of strained peas in his dad’s face.  But spraying his friend’s face with buckshot during a duck hunt?  Not so cute.

What about Donald Trump?  I’ll bet the first full sentence he ever uttered was something along the lines of “I am without question the most admired baby who’s ever lived.”  When he said it, everyone probably went, “Awww!”  Then look what happened.

I try to steer my kids in the right direction.  I give time outs when they’re being particularly prickish.  I reward those increasingly rare occasions when they’re actually nice to their fellow man.  Then they turn around and misbehave again, and I feel like a chump.  Am I painstakingly shaping their malleable little psyches… or fighting a losing battle against their inner nature?

I mean, if one of my kids is the next Newt Gingrich or Shannen Doherty, they’re still my kid, right?  I’m not saying I’d vote for them or cast them in a serialized drama, but I’d set a place for them at Thanksgiving.

So I’ll keep trying… for now.  But at some point, I’m just going to give in and embrace who they are.  It’s not so bad, I guess.  After all, you can get pretty far in life behaving like a 2-year-old.

English: Newt Gingrich

Train Wreck

I’ve barely been in New York a week, and already, I’ve made two enormous enemies.

It started at toddler storytime.

A lady with a Barnes & Noble nametag took to the stage and warned us that she was very soft-spoken.  It seemed strange to me that they got the one soft-spoken person in all of Yonkers to host an event that hinged on holding the attention of two-year-olds.  Her point was that if the kids got bored with her, she wouldn’t be offended if they got up and walked around.  OK, thanks for that.

My kids made it through one book, then lost interest during some snooze-inducing Caldecott winner.  (It was a bedtime book, so maybe that was the desired effect.)  They got up and started to wander.

The children’s section at Barnes & Noble, if you’re not familiar, is full of fun stuff for kids to do, all of which is designed to make them tell their parents, “I want to go to Barnes & Noble!”, after which you’ll walk out with an armful of Dora the Explorer TV tie-ins and maybe a $25 Madeline doll.

Bennett quickly discovered the main attraction – a large wooden train set.  A couple of other boys were already there, pushing train cars around the tracks.  There were only 4 cars to play with, and each of the boys had 2, so all Bennett could do was stare at them longingly, waiting for a turn.

The kids’ moms were leaning nearby, deeply immersed in their own chat.  One of them started to instruct her son to share with my kid, but the other one cut her off and told her not to bother.  Seriously, she told her friend not to encourage her child to share.

I was furious.  It was so rude.  It demanded a comeback.  So I took a move right from page 1 of my social playbook… I sheepishly slinked away and herded my kids back to storytime where I could brood.

The other toddlers were now doing the Hokey Pokey, while the quiet lady was softly instructing them from Elmo’s Hokey Pokey book.  But while they were putting their left foot in and, subsequently, out, I was silently shaking my rage all about.

Why did I cower to that mean mom?  That was a teachable moment if ever I’d been presented with one, and I’d blown it.  Instead of showing my kid that I value sharing and sticking up for yourself, I’d let a bully get the best of me.  Who did she think she was?  If my kid wanted to play with Barnes and Noble’s trains, he had just as much right as her kid.

My kids lingered at storytime for ten minutes or so, but Bennett was itching to get back to the trains.  So eventually, I let him go.  I couldn’t believe it, but those same two boys and their moms were still hogging the four measly train cars.

Round Two had begun.

One boy was losing interest, and he dropped his trains.  Bennett saw his opportunity, so he waddled over to pick them up.  But the kid’s mom saw Bennett coming and — yes, this really happened — yanked the trains out of Bennett’s reach.

A grown lady.  A little boy.  And while she was doing it, she said, “Oh no!  I’m not dealing with that!”  (As if to imply that she feared her son might melt down if he saw someone else playing with the trains.)

Naturally, Bennett started crying.  Loudly.

I wasn’t going to take it this time.  The rematch was mine to lose.

“I’m sorry, Bennett,” I said, consoling my child.  “They don’t want to share.”

That’s right.  I’d moved onto page 2 of my social playbook.  I went passive-aggressive on that wench.

Bennett cried louder.

“I know,” I went on.  “It’s not nice, but some people don’t share.  Not everyone’s nice.”  I was about two feet away from the woman at this point, and by now a small crowd had gathered, because this was far more interesting than the regularly scheduled in-store event.

Bennett swung his arm toward the trains and shouted, “MINE!”

I corrected him.  “No, it’s not yours.  It’s the store’s.”

That’s when the mean mom finally spoke up.  “Actually, it’s ours.  We brought them from home.”

Um… what?!

“We brought ours and that boy brought his and that boy brought his.”

I looked at the trains.  Each boy’s were different, backing up her story.  Suddenly, I realized I was the crazy one.  My outrage was based on the assumption that the trains were communal property.

“I’m sorry.  I thought they were the store’s.”

“No, the store used to have some for the kids to use, but people kept taking them home.  Now you have to bring your own.”

Bennett didn’t understand any of this.  He was now in a full-on meltdown.  I was embarrassed, people were watching.  It was not pretty.  The mean mom motioned toward a shelf of train cars for sale.  “Sometimes we forget ours and we have to buy a new one.”

Yes, that was the answer.  I could buy a train and put an end to all of this instantly.  It was that simple.  Then everyone would be happy — Bennett, the mean mom, Barnes & Noble — until some other kid wanted to play with Bennett’s train and suddenly I was the one thinking, “Screw that kid.  We paid for it!”

I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t buy into the system.  Instead of a train, my kid was getting… an explanation.

Bennett screamed as I rationalized the scenario for him.  “You have to bring your own trains.  I don’t think that’s a nice policy, but that’s what Barnes & Noble decided.”  That’s right.  Now I was going passive-aggressive on a faceless corporation.  Not that the kid could hear me over his own wailing.

All around me, moms and employees were surely thinking, “Just buy the kid a damn train.”  It’s then that I realized this was all part of the store’s plan.  When people started stealing their train cars, they didn’t take the tracks away.  They didn’t fit the trains with those shoplifting sensors they put in the books.  They just used it as a way to sell more train cars.

With a trainless train track, they’d set my kid up to fail.  They’d turned their customers against each other.  They’d made their children’s section into Thunderdome.

Thus, I penciled in a new #1 and #2 on my enemies list:

1.  Barnes

2.  Noble

We have some trains at home, but I won’t be packing them up to take to those two anytime soon.  And the next storytime we go to will be at the library.

In case you haven’t guessed, page 3 in my social playbook says, “Blog about it.”

Ahead of Her Time

“Daddy, I’m done with time out!”

“No.  Time out isn’t over until the timer beeps.”

“Beep!  (brief pause) Daddy, it beeped!”

“No it didn’t.  That was you.”

“Beep!”

“Sutton, I can tell the difference between the timer beeping and you saying ‘beep’.”

“Beep… beep… beep!”

(I leave the room to laugh.  Two minutes later, an actual beep sounds…)

“Honey, why did I put you in a time out?”

“Because I ran away when you told me to come inside.”

“Yes, but–”

“But you love me and you forgive me, just don’t do it again!”

“You left out the part where I tell you to say you’re sorry.”

“I’m sorry!”

“OK, go play.”

Note: She’s not quite 2 1/2 years old yet.

My Little Mermaid

“Sutton, where did you put that toothbrush you were holding?”

“Under the sea.”

“What do you mean ‘Under the sea’…?”

(singing) “Wandering free… I want to be… part of your wooooooooorld!”

… and with that, I realized we’d have to childproof our new house after all.

(Side note: while I was typing this, Sutton locked herself in the bathroom.  It took 10 minutes to get her out.)

Our Park

There’s a park two blocks from our condo in West Hollywood.  It’s not pretty like parks should be, it’s not very quiet and it’s not geared much toward kids.  The picnic tables are filled with old men smoking cigarettes and playing chess, and if you see a blanket spread out on the grass, it’s more likely a homeless person’s bed than a family’s picnic site.

But for a little over two years, it was our park.

When the kids were too young to walk, we pushed them up and down the park’s single pathway in the double stroller.  Heavyset Russian grandmas would see them and tap me on the shoulder.  They’d chatter in small groups for a moment until one of them came up with the word they were all searching for.

“Tvins?”

“Yes,” I’d say, and then they’d smile and gush with whatever other English words they knew.  “Happy!”  “Nice!”  “So… cute!”

As the kids got bigger, we checked out some of the fun things the park had to offer.

Before they could crawl, we’d let them roll around on the grass, stooping over to pick cigarette butts out of their path.

We had two rules at the park.  Don’t eat anything you pick up off the ground, and stay away from the filthy water spout.  There was a third rule, which usually went unspoken, which was that we always stayed in the toddler area.

The toddler area is about the size of a post office waiting room, only dumpier, with one double slide and a single bobbing motorcycle thing which the kids never really enjoyed. This park predated the invention of that spongy rubber stuff they put on the ground at playgrounds these days.  Instead, it was full of wood chips.  Rigid, jagged, unsteady wood chips.  When the kids fell down, it hurt.  I remember when they were just learning to walk, they would tumble over every 2 or 3 steps, their hands plunging into piles of splintery wood.  But they never complained, never cried, never stopped getting back up and stumbling forward once more.

“Someday, I’ll tell them about this,” I thought.  “When they’re feeling insecure or they don’t think they’re strong enough to make it through some challenge, I’ll tell them about the wood chips.  I’ll recount how they fell down 20, 30, 40 times and kept trying.  ‘I only wish I had your strength,’” I’ll confess.

I never let the kids out of that tiny playground.  I feared that the taste of freedom would change them forever and I’d never again be able to keep them contained.  Without that fence, they’d be loose in a world I couldn’t control, full of cars zooming past, dogs running loose and the ever-constant threat of predators, that handful of jerks in the world who’ve ruined childhood for absolutely everyone.

The day before the movers came to take us to New York, Drew came home from work early.  We were tired and overwhelmed by what was looming, but we wanted to spend the time with the kids.

We took them to the park.

“Do you realize this is the last time we’ll ever take them here?” Drew observed.

Out of habit, the kids headed for the toddler area, but it seemed silly to put any restrictions on them today.  They’d grown up at this lousy park.  Why not let their last visit here be special?  I turned to Drew.  “Let’s just let them go.”

We told the kids they were free to explore.  I don’t think they believed us at first, then Bennett took off in a flash, as if he feared we might change our minds.

He ran around corners, pushed empty swings, pressed every water fountain button and dove down onto an open field, where he rolled around in the leaves, with an expression on his face that registered something far beyond mere happiness.

Sutton padded around more methodically.  She studied her surroundings and snooped on strangers.  She rode the big kids’ slide, holding onto the sides the whole way down, because maybe it was still a bit too big.

Every few minutes, she’d realize she’d lost track of her brother, and she’d call out, “Bennett, where aaaaaaaare you?”

I felt guilty that we hadn’t done this before.  I wished I could’ve let them run free every time we went to the park.  I wished our day would never have to end, that there might be some way to hold onto this last trip to the park forever.  But as it got dark, Drew and I called out our usual warning.  “Five more minutes!”  We needed to go home and have dinner.  It was going to be our last dinner in the condo.

“Who’s coming tomorrow?” we asked the exhausted little boy and girl scurrying alongside us down Santa Monica Boulevard.

“Movers!” they shouted.

“That’s right.  And where are we moving to?”

“New Ork!”

We’d been having this conversation a lot over the previous few weeks.  We’d trained them well about what to expect in the days to come – a new house, maybe a new park, definitely heavy coats that we’d have to wear every time we went outside.  Lots of exciting new things to look forward to.

And they understood.  I really believe they did.  Even a two-year-old knows how to look ahead – to nap time, to dessert, to a visit from Grandma.  Looking ahead is easy.

There’s one thing they could never comprehend, though, not at their age, because it’s something I still struggle with myself… and that’s what it means to leave something behind.