A Few promises

Dear Son,

As I lied next to you tonight as you drifted off to sleep, and I found myself holding your hand as we were side by side, I had some thoughts.

I promise to never to tell you to “man up” (or something of the like) when you’re feeling weak.

I promise to try to never invalidate your feelings when you’re scared or upset.

I promise to never make you feel like you’re too old to lean on me or hold my hand when you need.

I promise to always try to make you feel as safe as I can.

I love you,

Dad

Saying Goodbye to the Ardmore

Our little family said goodbye to its first home this week – the first home, at least, with the little guy and our pup, Jessica Jones. A tiny condo on Ardmore Avenue in Chicago, in the Arcadia Terrace neighborhood. We’ll miss the neighborhood dearly. We’ll always have fond memories of our first home together, but we are so happy to be moving on.

In truth, Betsy and I didn’t buy smart. The place was too small from the beginning. We would have soon outgrown it even if it was just us. Add a growing baby to the mix, and it was never a good fit: No formal dining room, a small living room, and two small bedrooms. Our son’s room didn’t even have a formal closet, just an IKEA wardrobe.

We were taken by the eagerness to buy, and the updated finishes, especially in the kitchen. We had come from an apartment in a two-flat that desperately needed updating. Our sense of what was important and what we needed was a bit off.

Betsy was at the condo tonight putting on some finishing cleaning touches before closing tomorrow. She cried a little cry when she left.

I was there the other day moving some stuff out, and when I left, I barely looked back. I’m sure it will hit me soon enough, but it just hasn’t quite yet. But that tiny condo is where we brought our puppy and baby home to. It’s where we sat devastated the night we were supposed to bring Jessica home from the animal shelter, only to learn she had been taken to the vet for overnight observation because she had eaten something, and may need surgery. (She eventually passed the object without surgery, a small metal spring.) It’s where we watched the Cubs win the World Series. It’s where we sat in shock and watched the news as Trump was elected. It was where Betsy’s water broke, and we watched The Crown for a few hours while waiting to go to the hospital to deliver our child. It’s where he had so many of his firsts – his first rolling over, his first steps, his first poop on the potty.

It will eventually hit me. It just hasn’t yet.

For now, I’m sitting in our new home, a rental a couple of neighborhoods southwest, with literally twice as much square footage as the old place. We’re still buried in boxes and surrounded by Home Depot logos everywhere, but this place, with our furniture and things, and new (well, new to us) dining room table, and our son’s toys already strewn about – this place feels like home.

We live on Monticello Avenue now. We’ve already dubbed this place The Monty.

We’re ready for the next adventure, whatever life may bring at The Monty.