Halloween And The Kiss Of Death

Halloween And The Kiss Of Death

Frankie Four just hit 20 months old so this was his first real Halloween. I tried to ease him into it by taking him shopping for decorations at the 99 Cent Store. He’s a smart kid so he immediately tried to cover his face lest someone see him shopping at the 99 Cent Store.

2shopping

The previous year we took him to a Halloween party where he went as a lump of fat that didn’t do anything useful or say any meaningful words (insert Trump joke here).

1LastYear

This year, however, he went as some sort of a smudge that once looked like a skeleton but ended up as kind of a panda. His mother, the world famous makeup artist known as www.makeupartist411.com, struggled valiantly to apply makeup to a two-foot tall tornado who promptly rubbed his face on the sofa, the floor, my pants, and a peanut butter sandwich.

0familyMother Smudger.

Eventually we made our way toward the neighbors house where he would have his first ever trick or treating experience and/or learn to case a house. With mommy and grandma in tow, we crossed the street and I set him down on the sidewalk so he could approach the house on his own two feet like a man.

I said, “Hold daddy’s hand,” and my favorite human being that’s ever lived looked up at me and put his tiny hand in mine. I can’t even try to come up with a funny or sarcastic comment about that. I almost lost it right there in front of my wife, mother-in-law, neighbors, and strangers on the street. There are moments like this one that force me to stop in my tracks because I feel dizzy. It’s like I can’t handle the amount of love that flows through my body. All of his little milestones are a big deal to me but some effect me more than others. Frankie carrying a jack-o-lantern bucket in one hand and grasping my fingers with the other just overwhelmed me.

3firsthouseThe pic is blurry but so were my eyes. Shut up.

After shaking off my almost emotional breakdown, we arrived at that first door which was definitely the most fun of the night. F4’s eyes were full of wonder at the decorations and lights, but when my neighbor held out a bowl of candy he looked frozen in time. He doesn’t know what “trick or treat” means. Hell, he can’t even say it. Plus, he’s had very little candy in his short life so, while he recognizes a small piece of chocolate, an entire bowl of diabetes delights is foreign to him. He just stood there while my neighbor grabbed a handful of goodies and dropped them in his bucket.

4bucket

I don’t think he completely grasped the glory of the situation he was in—free candy, by the bucket, and daddy was allowing it. Pretty sure he thought I was entrapping him rather than what I was actually doing which was using him as a front to get me free candy by the bucket. Much easier than my usual method of candy collecting by way of home invasion.

I did allow him a few pieces of candy which, as you can see below, caused me great personal joy.

5daddyand4Enjoy it kid. Tomorrow you’re back on protein shakes and broccoli.

With a few stops under his belt F4 finally started to pick up on the protocol. It took some prompting but most houses got a “Peas” in place of “Trick-or-treat” followed by the blowing of a kiss in place of a “Thank you”. At one point my wife told one of the ladies handing out candy that it was “the kiss of death” which caused a look of genuine horror. I don’t know if the woman was superstitious or dying of something but that was the last time that happened.

The grand finale of every stop was an unsolicited, top-of-his-lungs shouting of “BYEEEE!” which got a huge laugh and a return “Bye!” What no one anticipated was that for every “Bye!” they put in the pot, Frankie would raise them one exponentially louder “BYEEEE!” even if we were halfway down the block. Eventually they’d just give up because, like the Terminator, F4 would never stop. He always got the last word which he clearly learned by watching me is just because he’s friendly.

After what felt like 100 houses, but was probably more like 10, we were all exhausted. Some of us from trying to pull others to the ground.

6driveway

And others from having to be carried from house to house.

7scary

Eventually those who had exerted themselves were just dead tired.

8sittingingrass

So we decided to call it a night, head home, and hand out candy to kids that didn’t require me to wear a weightlifting belt to hold them.

9handingoutcandy

All in all our first big Halloween outing was a huge success. The entire family and, most importantly, Frankie Four, had a great time. We were all tuckered out but mommy and me managed to stay up long enough to eat enough candy to feed John Candy. Alas, the boy couldn’t quite hang.

10dunzoBest Halloween ever.


If you haven’t yet please give a listen to my podcast, Bad Ass DadCast. Episodes are posted here on the blog on (mostly) weekly basis. It’s just fun conversations with other parents, authors, and experts to discuss the experience of raising kids.

And join me on social media at:

Instagram: @FrankPrather

FB: ABadAssDad

Snapchat: Frank Prather

10 Things I Learned In My First Year As A Dad

10 Things I Learned In My First Year As A Dad

I just celebrated my son’s first birthday and spent time reflecting on some of what I’ve learned in the last year.

birthdaybanner

One of the first things I realized is that the birth of your child is the single greatest experience that exists. I’m not claiming that everyone should have a child, or that you’re wrong if you don’t want them. Most of you shouldn’t. Have them, that is, because look at you. I’m simply saying that the actual birth of a human being, that you created, is impossible to equal with any other experience aside of possibly being born yourself. The only difference is that you probably don’t remember your own birth unless you have a really good memory.

That said, the subsequent raising of your child might suck. You might resent having given up your old life in order to raise your child. You could be a shitty parent. You could even have an ugly, stupid kid. All valid reasons for you to not risk having one. I, on the other hand, was never concerned about those things. Rather than give up my old life, I just integrated my son into it. Be a shitty parent? Given that I excel at everything, not a problem. And having an ugly and/or stupid kid? He’s got my genetics so that’s a scientific impossibility.

birthday

The last year has been more rewarding for my son than I ever could have anticipated. As the undisputed greatest parent that’s ever lived, my sense of accomplishment for raising a perfect child is huge, and deservedly so. I mean, there are a lot of great parents out there so imagine how I must feel being considerably better than all of them. It’s truly humbling to outshine the rest of the world.

blueeyes

My son, Frankie Four, is just like me, exceptional. Beautiful blue eyes. Check. Winning smile. Check. Superior intellect, charming personality, and smelly poo poo’s. Check, check, and check. Here we are, face to face, a couple of silver spoons.

love

Enough nonsense. Here are 10 things I really learned in my first year as a dad.

1) Nothing does, or ever has, come close to making me feel the way I feel when my son smiles at me. When he looks up with that little face and breaks into a grin, which happens about every 3 minutes, the rest of the world ceases to exist.

balls

2) As a proud germaphobe I am wholly disgusted at the idea of most people, except for perhaps my wife, sharing a beverage with me or taking a bite of my food. Because you people are gross. However, Frankie Four can grab food with his filthy little hand, drop it on the floor, pick it back up, put it in his mouth, partially chew it and cover it in slobber, spit it back into his filthy little hand, then hold his hand out for me to eat it. Whatever it is tastes better than than the best steak and lobster I’ve ever had.

food

3) My wife is way more bad ass than I am. She takes care of our son, takes care of me, takes care of the house, and works (check out her work at www.makeupartist411.com). And she complains uh, never. In fact, she thanks me on a daily basis. Not going to write any more about her. She requires her own post, not an entry on this one.

mommy

IMG_0756

4) Having a child makes me appreciate my parents and grandparents even more than I already did. They didn’t have it easy and, under the circumstances, did an excellent job. Whenever I’m unsure of what to do as a parent I just love my son like they loved me and I know it’s exactly the right thing.

family1

family2

5) I want to do things that don’t involve my son approximately 10% of the time, or less. Don’t get me wrong, I like to get away for “grownup time”. But after a very brief respite from the responsibility of parenting, I want to be with my kid. When I’m not with him, I’m generally thinking about him.

backpack

6) Watching your child grow up is both awesome and heartbreaking. As much as I want him to advance quickly so I can post video of him reading at 18 months, I also want him to continue babbling unintelligibly forever. Every new stage is adorable and fills me with pride but makes me miss the stage that just ended. That’s another reason I spend virtually all of my free time with him. I don’t want to miss any of it.

lift

7)  I spent much of my life being, or trying to be, the center of attention. Now I prefer to direct my attention toward my son and your attention well, doesn’t matter so much. That said, keep paying attention to me because you deserve to treat yourself.

bath

8) Frankie Four has me at about 50/50 on wanting another kid. On one hand, he’s so incredible that it’s hard to fathom not doing it again. On the other hand, I feel like it’s a huge risk to hope the next kid turns out to be like him. Everyone says that you’ll love the second one just as much, even if they’re different.

No, I won’t.

chair

9) Watching Four interact with other kids is one of my favorite parts of being a parent. It’s especially great when he’s playing with the children of my friends, as it gives our bond of friendship an additional layer. My favorite play dates are those with Bodhi, the son of my good friends Jeff & Angeline. Jeff and I are the same age, and our sons are only around one month apart. Witnessing them grow side-by-side makes me hope that they develop a friendship that lasts forever.

bff1

bff2

bff3

bff4

bff5

10) Although I understood it even before my son came into this world, the moment he was born was when I learned the most valuable lesson of all—that I was meant to be a dad. I will be forever grateful to my wife Lisa, and my son Frankie, for making me the happiest dad on earth.

And a bonus lesson—my son kills the facial expression game.

base2

If you want to follow me on social media I’m at:

Instagram: frankprather
Snapchat: frankprather
Twitter: frankprather
Facebook: abadassdad

 

Grandparents

Grandparents

As a child, I spent a great deal of time at my grandparents house. I’m not sure there was ever a place where I felt more warmth and comfort than I did when I was there. It wasn’t the actual house, but my grandparents themselves who created that feeling. Even in my adult life, a visit to them takes me back to being a kid, where I am happy, content, and relaxed beyond all measure.

The home they lived in through most of my childhood was three floors. The top floor consisted of a bedroom, a bathroom, my grandfather’s workshop, which was off limits, and an office I could only describe as WSJ’d. Stacked against the walls, from floor to ceiling, were copies of the Wall Street Journal, a financial newspaper that he treated as if they were the holy scrolls. Throughout most of my life I thought he was a little crazy, spending so much time with his nose in a newspaper, the TV tuned in to some stock market show, ticker endlessly marching across the bottom of the screen. It wasn’t until much later, when I stood in front of his massive new house in Florida that I realized what he’d done. My grandfather had worked hard, saved, studied the markets, saved, learned, saved, invested, and saved some more, all to bring his lifelong dream to fruition. This beautiful, custom designed home wasn’t simply a mansion, it was the culmination of eighty plus years of tireless effort, dedication, and discipline. To think of it in those terms is awe inspiring.

Grandparents House

The house that they lived in when I was a boy would fit ten times over in their current one, but I loved it. It was my home, even though I didn’t live there full time, because it was the only consistent place in my life. My mom, a single parent, had to move us almost every year in order to find something affordable, so none of the apartments or houses she rented ever meant anything to me. But my grandparent’s house did. To this day, say the word “home” and I think of that house.

It was actually two lots, one with the house on it and one that was just a giant backyard. The backyard was separated from the house by a driveway that ran from their street, Arnett Lane, down the side of the house, and looped back around to Wilson Lane, the main road. That yard seemed so massive to me, as if it was another continent. If you were facing it, off to the right was an area that was raised, and for many years my grandfather had rabbit cages back there. I know there were multiple rabbits but I only remember one, an albino rabbit named Pinky. I also have a vague memory of tasting rabbit at some point which leads me to believe that they weren’t being kept as pets. He also kept a beehive which provided fresh honey, but that memory is more vague, probably because I was scared of bees.

The center of the yard was just a wide open space that was glorious to play in but horrifying when I reached lawn mowing age. Toward the back of that area grew a lot of foliage that I believe was over a septic tank. Little did I know that all of our family poo was facilitating the growth of massive weeds. My grandparents also had a compost pile where they’d dump old food rinds and such, I’m assuming in order to fertilize the grounds. My childhood paradise was built on a septic tank and compost, yet never smelled anything but perfect to me. Off to the far end, near the main road, were a number of trees, my favorite of which was a cherry tree. I can recall eating them directly off of the tree and even now, whenever I have a cherry, I close my eyes and I’m a child standing in that back yard on a hot summer day.

The bottom floor of the house had two sides to it. One was the typical laundry and storage area that you might find in any old basement. The only thing that was out of place there was a small table in the corner that always had an open appointment book on it. Hanging on the wall to the left of it was a telephone and next to that was a door that entered into my grandfather’s music studio. I didn’t enter that part of the house very often and, when I did, was usually a little nervous. As he was a music teacher, I understood that this was where my grandfather conducted business and trained his students to play piano, guitar, and his favorite, the accordion.

Grandad accordian

On a few occasions, throughout my childhood, I was one of the students, but likely the worst one he had. I was never musically inclined and didn’t grasp the piano or guitar very well when he tried to teach me. On top of that, I never ever wanted to practice. To this day one of my biggest regrets in life is that I didn’t take advantage of what I had right in front of me, a teacher who was willing to give me lessons for free. When I did take them, I first started on piano lessons but soon wanted to be a rock star, and moved on to guitar lessons. Ironic that today I’d love nothing more than to be able to play the piano. I often think of taking lessons but having anyone other than my grandfather teach me holds little appeal. If not learning from him, I’d rather not learn at all. So maybe it’s not so much that I want to be able to play the piano. Maybe it’s that I want to play and turn to whoever is listening and say, “My grandfather taught me that.” Lucky for me, he taught me plenty of other great lessons in life. So that fact that I wasn’t smart enough to learn music from him is the only thing I missed out on.

Allow me to digress for a moment and actually introduce my grandparents. Although I refer to them as my grandmother and grandfather, they are actually Nena (pronounced nee-naw)…

grandmother

and Grandaddy.

grandfather

I am 40 years old and I call them by those names to this very day. The only thing I modify is to sometimes call my grandfather Grandad instead of Grandaddy, but only because it feels almost too childlike to say the word “daddy” out loud, in any context or iteration. However I always think of him as Grandaddy in my mind. Nena always has been, and forever will be, Nena. Strangely, I don’t feel like a child when I say her name in spite of that fact of it is clearly a name designed for a baby to say. I suppose it makes sense though. When I speak to, or about, my grandfather I try to be a man. He is a man. I don’t ever want to appear to be a child to him. I need his respect in order to feel like I am a man. Nena, however, is a different story. I am a child when she’s near. I am the same little boy she always nurtured, took care of, and comforted. I don’t want that to change, ever. Don’t get me wrong, I want her to be proud of my grown up accomplishments, and I require her approval, but I still want her to take care of me as if I were a small child. I need her to always be my Nena. And she always is, no matter how old I get. Now that you know them by their proper names, let’s get back on track.

grandparents

The middle floor of Nena and Grandaddy’s house was the main living area. It had both a living and dining room, neither of which was used much, along with an eat-in kitchen that was in constant use. When I was there it seemed that Nena was cooking 95% of the time and, when she wasn’t, something was going on in the kitchen. She cut my hair in that kitchen, made me costumes for school, helped me with painting or other arts and crafts, even taught me to cook some things. I have untold numbers of great memories from spending time with Nena in that kitchen, and yet it holds one horrible memory for me as well.

Lima beans.

For some reason, my grandparents seemed to have lima beans pretty regularly and, although I loved most vegetables as a kid, I hated lima beans. To this day I can barely gag down those dry, disgusting tasting legumes. Why anyone eats them is beyond me. Yet eat them they did and I was forced to eat them as well. As much love as those people showed me, somewhere deep down I think they used lima beans to punish me for everything I ever did wrong. One day I am going to figure out a way to pay them back for the lima bean torture. I just have to determine what unspeakable act is as bad as those beans. Admittedly, the lima trauma was but a small fraction of the time I spent in that house and clearly I survived, but I still have nightmares. Lima beans.

My favorite time in my grandparents house was after school. I’d come home, exhausted and hungry, and instantly any care I had in the world was removed. In my grandparent’s bedroom, my grandfather had a lazy boy chair that sat beside a huge picture window and faced their television. I’d climb into that big, comfy chair and recline it all the way back. Nena would put the TV on whatever I wanted to watch and head to the kitchen to make my favorite afternoon snack of sliced apples and peanut butter. Beneath me, coming up through the floor, was music, or attempts at music, created by my grandfather and the student he was teaching. It was so soothing, the food lovingly prepared by Nena and the sound of music, Grandaddy imparting his lessons. If there are moments in my life I could define as bliss, the times I spent in that chair would be them.

This story is simple, and doesn’t begin to express the complexity of my childhood or what my grandparents mean to me. I could write thousands of pages filled with stories about Nena helping teach me to paint, or encouraging the creativity that helped define who I am today, or just taking care of me, something she’s done my entire life. Or about Grandaddy, also known as “The Good Grandaddy”, telling me my all time favorite story about how he was the first person to see me at the hospital when I was born. Instead I will leave you with just this brief description of a piece of my life that I remember as vividly as if it were yesterday. I would write more, but I don’t have the words to express how iconic these two people are in my mind, and in my heart. Nena and Grandaddy are the most amazing grandparents any kid could ever hope to have, and I was lucky enough to have them as mine. Every day I think of them, every day I am thankful for them, and every day I love them more. They are my grandparents.

—–

I wrote that at the end of February 2011, exactly four years before my son was born. I am so fortunate that he has been able to spend time with them and experience the same love I have my entire life. Because their grandchildren have children, they now have the title of Great-Grandparents, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s what they’ve been since the day I was born.

grandparents

Our First Family Holiday In Photos— And Breastfeeding!

Our First Family Holiday In Photos— And Breastfeeding!

This is a dual purpose photo post that will both recap Four’s first holiday with my family and throw public breastfeeding pics in the faces of people who were angry at my last post. Joy to the world!

Airport BoobWe started the holiday trip off right with our rendition of Little Town Of Breast-Ahem at the airport. I know they hold more than 3.5 ounces of liquid, so how did she sneak them past the crack TSA team at security?

MARYLAND

Bad Ass Dad and sonMe and Frankie Four landed in Maryland and were immediately accosted by some woman (who may or may not be his mother and my wife) because of our winning smiles. We can’t help it if we pretty.

Mixed race familyI am an equal opportunity uncle and demand racial diversity in my family. It was very difficult for me to accept that my son turned out to be Caucasian but I love him anyway. Appearing in this photo from upper left to right is my sister, my wife, my nephew, my mom holding my disturbingly cracker-ish son, and my niece.

Bad Ass Dad wifeMy gorgeous California wife dressed in a New York outfit in the Maryland woods. This was what she was wearing when she was last seen so if you—just kidding. The ground was way too hard to dig a hole that day.

Bad Ass DadKevin and I have been friends for 25 years. You think he’d have offered me some of his sperm so that my kid had a little melanin.

Bad Ass DadScott and I have been friends for over 30 years and it looks a lot like he donated his sperm given Four’s cheeks.

NORTH CAROLINA

Bad Ass Dad and sonsFranklin Nathaniel Prather’s 2, 3, and 4. One of them believes that he’s the master of the universe and so do the other two.

prather thanksgivingThis is a happy photo of Four’s first Thanksgiving and definitely not a family that’s being forced to pretend that everything is fine by armed home invaders. (Help us)

grandparentsPop, Four, and GeeBee, not to be confused with Bel Biv Devoe.

bad ass dad hairThe wind messed up my hair so I was forced to brutally murder the wind. Problem solved.

Bad Ass  Dad familyWould it be egotistical of me to caption this, “Best Looking Family That Ever Lived”?
Yes?
Ok, good.

Bad Ass Dad friendsWhen my friend Larry died he left behind a beautiful family who I finally got to introduce to Four. Seeing his kids playing with my son was one of the highlights of my year. His twins were asleep by the time we actually took a pic.

FLORIDA

Bad Ass DadOn the flight to Florida our son crawled into the arms of a strange Asian woman named Linn. That was literally the only thing she said that we could understand.

Bad Ass DadHere is Four in a rickshaw and not because the last picture was of him and an Asian woman. Don’t be such a racist. But I think we can all agree that one of them is probably a terrible driver.

Bad Ass DadFour with Nena, his great-grandmother and the reason we were in Florida.

Baby in a suitcaseI’m not saying you should pack your baby in a suitcase,
I’m just saying it might make the flight more peaceful.

Bad Ass Dad breastfeedingI promised breastfeeding pics so here’s one that, unfortunately, did not take place in public. But don’t worry, they’re coming!

Bad Ass DadThis is my nephew Chris showing off his first tattoo as well as a small white child.

Bad Ass DadWe spent a few days at the beach trying to catch our tans up with my niece Cassi. We failed.

Bad Ass DadI don’t know if you’ve ever checked the caloric content of sand but, given how much of it he’s eaten and how his body looks, I’d say it’s fattening.

Bad Ass DadSHART! Wait, I mean SHARK! No, it was a shart.

Bad Ass DadOnly one of the best days of my life, no big deal.

Bad Ass DadThe #1 beach in America according to someone who ranks beaches. In America. But after Siesta Key, you need a…

Bad Ass DadA siesta—while being watched by toy creepers.

Bad Ass Dad breastfeedingAfter the nap, a little X-mas shopping with St. Nipple-ous.

Bad Ass DadThe next day we took the family to a state park where not a single one of us got eaten by an alligator or encountered someone invoking the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law. You’re slipping, Florida.

Bad Ass Dad breastfeedingWe also took a little boat ride in the 90 degree weather. I’m clearly upset with Lisa for not covering our son in something that would overheat him to death just so she could protect the other people on the boat from her semi-visible boob.
(I’m on a boob, bitch!)

Bad Ass DadFour is having the time of his life. Wheeeeeeeee!

Bad Ass DadFour’s enthusiasm for life was reinvigorated when we all went to Universal Studios!

Bad Ass DadMommy helps Four wake up. SURPRISE!

Bad Ass DadHe poses for the picture or he gets the hose again.

Bad Ass Dad breastfeedingMy wife breastfeeding my son, uncovered,
while walking with my mom at Universal Studios in Florida. Bad Ass women.

Bad Ass DadAnd the defining image from our trip. The family.
From L to R:
Frankie Four (my son)
Lisa (my wife)
Gloria (my mom)
Cassi (my niece)
Stephanie (my sister)
Chris (my nephew)
Gloria aka “Nena” (my grandmother)

…and the luckiest guy on earth, me.

Meet The Family

Meet The Family

In May of 2000 I moved from Maryland to California. One little fight and my mom got scared she said, “You’re moving with your Auntie and Uncle in Bel-Air”.

I wasn’t sure if it was a forever move, and many people said, “You’ll come back”, but it was, and I didn’t. It was hard leaving my loved ones behind but after developing a career in television, along with a love for drought, traffic, disingenuous people, huge financial drain, earthquakes sunshine, I accepted that I’d be staying long term and that engaging my family in person was going to be infrequent. Although I love them dearly, regular trips to the East Coast are costly, time consuming, and the humidity wreaks havoc on my hair. Then, my son was born and suddenly I realized that perfect hair isn’t everything (<—Who AM I?).

It took 5 months after his birth for the stars, and work, to align perfectly so that Lisa and I could introduce Frankie Four to my family in person. Prior to that, Lisa had volunteered to brave the trip on her own because my work schedule wasn’t adjusting in our favor. However, in a fortuitous turn of events, not only did my job afford me the opportunity to join her on part of the journey, it placed me in the very city where my bride and progeny would land. What it didn’t allow was for us to travel at the same time, so Lisa carted Four cross-country by herself. Mad props to my wife for being a Bad Ass in every sense of the term, but particularly so for her willingness to drag our heavy handful of a kid all over America by her lonesome. Not an easy task.

I was already in Florida when Lisa and Four arrived, so I scooped them up at the airport and headed to my grandparents house where my mom and niece would be joining us from Maryland. It’s an understatement to say that I was as excited as a kid at Christmas. Or Hanukkah. Or Kwanzaa. Or some other occasion where kids get really excited. I was more excited than a kid excited at any of those things.

My grandmother, better known as Nena (pronounced Nee-naw), was the first person to see Four and her face lit up in a way I haven’t seen in years. The minute she spoke Four almost jumped out of my arms smiling and laughing hysterically. Witnessing that interaction, between two of the people that I love most in the world, ranks among the happiest moments of my life.

NenaFourblog

That happiness might only have been equaled when my mom held her grandson.
momfourblog

The visit got better and better, like my looks, as time went on. Watching my mom, my grandparents, my niece Cassi, my wife, and my son together melted my heart.

bad ass dad - frank prather

Leaving wasn’t as emotional as I’d expected, but only because Lisa and Four stayed behind for two more days. The thought of them further bonding with my family made it a bit easier to return home.

The only disappointment was that I couldn’t join the dynamic duo on the next leg of the trip, to North Carolina to see my dad and stepmother. I would have loved to see Franklin Nathaniel Prather 4 meet Franklin Nathaniel Prather 2, but luckily Lisa captured the moment for me.

frank prather

Four even got a surprise visit and corresponding outfit from his Uncle Casey. The back should say, “And I just took one.”

caseyfour

I’m not sure anyone was more excited leading up to Four’s impending visit than my stepmom, Brenda. No doubt Four can’t wait til he’s old enough to work her for whatever he wants during visits.

dadbrenda

Lisa and Four stayed back East for almost six days after I left. I returned to Los Angeles to get back to work and tried to embrace what I thought was some much needed alone time. What I discovered while “relaxing” wasn’t that I needed alone time, but that I needed my family. I missed my wife and son so much that I didn’t know what to do without them. I tried reading, I tried writing, I tried watching TV, working out, and riding my motorcycle. None of it was enough to distract me from the palpable feeling of emptiness without them there. What I did use the time for was to reflect on how much I also needed the rest of my family, and how much I want Four to grow up knowing them, and not just via Skype or Facetime. He deserves to experience firsthand, on a regular basis, the unfathomable amount of love that exists in every member of my family, as I was fortunate enough to experience my entire life. I promised myself that he would see them multiple times every year regardless of work or other obligations.

Just prior to my arrival in Florida I was in Louisiana for work, meeting a family that’s being considered for their own TV show. The father of that family posted quite a few photos to social media and tagged them with words that have played on a loop in my head ever since I sat in a room watching the people that I love the most together —- #familyovereverything.

Family over everything, indeed.

dinner

First Fourth Of July Baby

First Fourth Of July Baby

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. First off, it’s during summer, the only season that should legally be allowed to exist. Spring sucks because it’s rainy, making it impossible to keep my car looking pristine. Yes, I live in California where there’s allegedly a water shortage and people claim we “need” rain. However, I live 1.35 miles from the Pacific Ocean which I can assure you is made almost entirely of water, and lots of it. Fall is just depressing. And winter is well, fuck winter. It occasionally drops below 60 degrees here during winter which means I have to wear a jacket over my extra-medium shirts, covering up my huge arms and ample pecs.

Anyway, this 4th was particularly special because it was filled with firsts. It was our first as a family, my first as a married man, and my first as a dad. More importantly, there were a few big firsts for my son, Frankie Four.

American BabyHe gave his first speech in preparation for when he’s President of The United States Of America.

Baby in treeHe climbed his first tree
BECAUSE THAT IS A PERFECTLY SAFE
THING TO DO WITH A GODDAMN BABY.

baby on sideHe’s been capable of sleeping on his side for a while and also able to roll from his tummy to his back. This weekend he figured out how to roll from his back to his tummy with ease so he flips himself back and forth constantly.

baby eats feet

baby at the beachAlthough the big eating news is in the video below, I should also mention
that he’s eaten a significant amount of sand which is clearly his
favorite beach activity aside of showing off his physique.

Family at beach

baby watching fireworks

We took him to watch fireworks on the beach which fascinated him. At 10pm he was still wide-eyed and fixated on the explosion of lights in the sky. And, unlike some babies that act like little wussy babies, he loved the loud explosions because my 18 week old son is a real man.

Manhattan Beach concert in parkHe also went to his first concert in the park
with some of his favorite people.

Even with all that excitement, there were still two truly big firsts that occurred in the same day.

Four, on the 4th of July, declared his (extremely limited) independence from the boob as he devoured his first solid food.

And the second big first, my personal favorite, is Frankie Four showing off his massive leg strength and standing up with no more than a little help balancing.

My son will probably never know the significance of his first Independence Day but, for me, it might as well have been my first 4th of July celebration. Because every one of his new experiences, and every new step in his growth, and every new little thing he does, causes my heart to explode like the grand finale in the worlds biggest fireworks display.