To the Person Who Bought My Son a Whistle

He that fights and runs away, May turn and fight another day; But he that is in battle slain, Will never rise to fight again.

I get it… when he wants something he can be extremely persistent. It’s easier to give in then to argue. That’s every parent’s life from day to day. You pick and chose your battles. “Live to fight another day.

“But this… a whistle… this was a battle to fight. It sounds like a goddamn marching band drum major is now living in my house.It’s been a tough 24 hours around here since this kid and his whistle became best friends. He wants a snack, “vreeeeeeew!!!” Can’t reach something on the top shelf, “vreeeeeeew!!!” Oliver is bothering him, the dogs are getting into the garbage… “vreeeeeeew!!!” It’s non stop. This kid thinks he’s the Dancing Traffic Cop now.

To the person who bought this damn whistle… I will find you!!!

Happy Valentine’s Day

In what seems like 100 years ago I met a young lady with the whole world in front of her. She asked for some help carrying things up to her dorm room and of course the gentleman that I was… Could not leave a damsel in distress. In all reality I volunteered to carry some water bottles up to her room… but so started what would become two children, two dogs, a house, some laughs, some tears and a whole lot of love.

There’s been work. There’s been more work. There’s been interviews that have led to more work. Work that’s lead to more work. And then after that there’s been work because the work we do needed more work to be done. And all that work sometimes leads to frustration, short tempers, and the need for a quiet peaceful night. And then you get home to these two amazing, loving, kind, beautiful children and everything is right in the world again.

There are times that are tougher than others, there are times where you can imagine where the last 18 years have gone. I remember continually limping into the orthopedic on crutches and depressed that my track and field career could be over… I remember her accompanying me time after time comforting me helping me through one of the worst times of my life at that point. I knew then she was the one… She was less confident for a while as she wouldn’t agree to be “my girlfriend.” That was until the cast came off and I thought things couldn’t get any better.

I remember sitting on the rooftop of the hotel in Wildwood. I remember being on the phone with my buddies, I remember the butterflies I remember the nerves I remember walking downstairs and being told by Jay and Brea that I better shave and put on something nice I remember sitting on the rooftop of the hotel in Wildwood. I remember being on the phone with my buddies, I remember the butterflies, I remember the nerves, I remember walking downstairs and being told by Jay and Brea that I better shave and put on something nice.

I shaved, I put on a purple Abercrombie polo, and I wore sandals. I was such a dork. I walked on stage, got up in front of thousands of people and asked the most amazing woman I’ve ever met to marry me. I’m still not sure if she actually said yes… but all these years later we’ve made it through a whole lot of stuff… good and bad… a couple of houses, multiple roommates, doggie hospitals, knocked out teeth, multiple wetlands violations, wiggle ball tournaments that led to broken vertebrae, parties that led to getting “iced,” winter power outages that led to sleeping like revolutionary war soldiers in front of a fire, baseball games, Football games, Backstreet Boys’ concerts (not my idea), glasses, contacts, Lasic surgery, great friends, great neighbors, great family members, a marriage that is stronger than ever… and most importantly… two of the most amazing children any parents could ask for.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” -Ferris Bueller

I’m glad we’ve taken the time to stop and look around a bit. You’re a better mother than I ever thought possible, you deal with my annoying personality daily and you’re not so bad to look at.

I love you more now than the day we met. Thanks for letting me carry your water bottles up to your room.

Love Always,

Me

…and Jackson

……and Oliver

………and Buster

…………and Max

Happy Second Birthday Oliver

Two years old? Like how is that possible. (I mean I know how it’s possible in a literal sense… but still, I just can’t believe it. Thank you to an amazing mom who has done everything for this happy, healthy little man… a very caring older brother who has not one time pushed him down a flight of stairs… a loving Bammy who has helped to raise this little man. His Auntie buys him more clothes than any child needs and his Mima continues to buy him those damn remote control Magic Track cars which drive me crazy… thanks for that and thanks to all the amazing family and friends who have contributed in one way or another.

Dear Oliver,

I’m not sure what it’s like being the youngest or the second born. I was the oldest and loved that role, but I can imagine it’s not always easy being the little guy. Then again you are almost as big as your brother, so I’m not so sure how much longer we can use the phrase “the little guy.”

I guess the first thing I need to say is thank you. You have been an amazingly perfect blessing to mom and me. You have brought so much joy and happiness to everyone around you. Your huge smile and whimsical personality. You walk in and you light up the room. People are in a better mood when you are around. It’s unreal how much joy a little boy’s giggles can bring to so many people.

You’ve given your brother a best friend and especially someone to get in trouble with, although at times I suspect Jax is the one blaming you for his trouble, but that’s what older brothers are supposed to do! I love watching you two play together. I love watching how your eyes light up when you see him. I think Jax is a happier little boy because of you. You just do that to people. You make everyone better… happier.

You’re already such a sweet and caring little boy. You show kindness and compassion at such an early age it makes us forget how young you still are (I’m sure the fact that you eat like a grown man I’m sure contributes to that as well). You’re going to be a momma’s boy for sure, don’t get me wrong… being a momma’s boy is a great thing… just look at uncle Vinny.

Please keep your smile as big as it always is… your laugh as loud and continue to be inquisitive about the world around you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, when you say sorry- mean it, be kind to strangers and animals and love your mother and brother. If you do those things you’ll always be in a good place.

I’m proud of you. I love you and I’m so thankful you came into our lives. Happy birthday (not-so) little guy

Love always,

Dad

Happy Birthday to an Amazing Mom

Anyone who’s read this blog before knows that I don’t take myself too seriously. I’m not an amazing wordsmith… I don’t have the lyrical prowess of Tupac or the ability to turn a a few stanzas of a poem into a Grammy winning hit like Boyz II Men, but I can, every once and a while write something that has some depth.

Today, I will take a stab at some more meaningful prose and take after the two aforementioned rap/R&B legends with a dedication to Jax and Ollie’s Mom (I’m sure it won’t be as perfectly written as “Dear Momma”, and there’s not a chance I could make it sound as nice as “A Song For Mamma,” but we’ll give it a shot anyway.

I really don’t know how to put into words exactly what a mom, especially this mom means to a family. No matter what, she has always shown… many times… the great love she has for her family. After all the difficult times her and I have made it through as parents, I know that it doesn’t matter to her what happens, she will stand by me and always be there–through the good and the bad to support these two beautiful little boys. She will help me guide them through life and hopefully we, together, can instill in them right from wrong and a sense of decency, respect, kindness and leadership that this world seems to be so desperately lacking.

Jackson and Oliver, your mother has always loved you so much from the very- very beginning. She couldn’t wait for either of you to make your first appearance in this world. “She had a bag packed for the hospital months in advance… and the clothes you’d both wear home from the hospital were purchased months in advance.  When given the opportunity to have you sleep in the nursery those first few nights at the hospital, she looked at those nurses like they had five heads… not a chance she was letting you go… not then and not now.

A mother’s love is is something that I can’t explain.  Being a parent… being a mom is made of deep devotion and of sacrifice.  This mom… she is giving, often putting her own needs on hold to make sure that her sons have everything they could ever need.

If you have ever attempted to have a conversation with a three year old you know what it’s like to feel frustration… jumping from subject to subject, trying to find the right vocabulary to express wants and needs… and more often than not just hearing two words over and over and over and over again… “NO” and “Why”.  Sometimes talking to a child is like talking to your dog… they look like they get what you are saying, but then two seconds later ask a question completely unrelated to the topic at hand… but something special happens when a mom listens to their child.  A mother understands what a child cannot say.  Jackson and Oliver are so incredibly lucky to have someone so in tune with who they are that she can completely understand them, even when they don’t even understand themselves.  It’s a gift… and it’s what makes Stephanie so amazing.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still bouts of frustration and anger and lots of sleepless nights… neither of us are perfect… and she won’t pretend she is, but when we look at our children, we both know that we got something in our life so perfectly right.  Happy birthday to an incredibly hard working, dedicated, (relatively) patient mother and one hell of a role model for our children.

Love,

Peter, Jackson, Oliver, Buster and Max

Thank You Jackson

This is the last blog entry I write for you before you officially meet your baby brother. There is nothing in this world that I can compare the past three years with you to. You have literally been my world for so long I can’t remember what it was like before you came. 

I often go back and reread some of the things I’ve written to you (or about you) and can’t believe how much we’ve been through. For someone who (used to) enjoy talking about himself… I’ve enjoyed not being the center of attention because you have been just that, the center of attention, since the day you were born and you should be because you are the most caring, loving, funny and energetic little boy I have ever met. Now you have to share the spot light. I’m not going to lie… it’s not easy. Take it from the oldest sibling… the big brother… it ain’t easy! the good thing is… I’ll always get it… I’ll always understand what you’re going through… I’ll always be able to relate to how you feel as the oldest. 

You’re always going to be blamed for “it” because you should know better (but if you’re smart you can set your little brother up quite easily… little brothers usually will do what you say). You’ll always have to “set the good example” (even when you’re both at fault).  

But here’s the thing… you have to be careful… because with great power comes great responsibility. You literally are going to teach your brother everything. You are going to have to talk him out of dumb decisions, both because you’ve made those same decisions and also because you know better. You’ll get his back when things go wrong and he’ll get yours as well. If anyone is going to kick his butt… it should be you… and vice-versa. 

The thing is, no matter what happens you’ll always have me in your corner. I’ll always be here for you… nothing will ever change that… not another baby… not another son… not a brother… nothing. I will always cherish the last three years with you… and look forward to seeing you continue to grow up and even more so look forward to watching you help your brother grow up.  

Thank you for making my life so amazing. I love you Jackson Carmine… I always will. 

Trust me, I know a thing or two about being a big brother

Happy Birthday Mom

  
Dear Mommy,

I wanted to write you a birthday card, but I realized after a few minutes that I can’t actually write yet. So I figured the best thing to do was to let dad translate for me and put it on his blog (since everything has to be about him anyway)… So here it is:

Mom, thank you for making me realize that I am very loved and that I’m worth everything. All the kisses and hugs in the world aren’t as great if they aren’t from you.  

Mom, thank you for giving me a shoulder to cry on when I bumped my head after spinning in circles, or fell down after trying to ride Buster, and especially after I wound up in the hospital after face planting on a cobblestone walkway. I always know I’m safe as long as I have you around.  

Mom, thank you for standing up for me when I may have done something stupid like throwing a ball at someone in music class, or getting in a “friends personal space at daycare.” You showed me that family always comes first and loyalty is an important virtue for everyone to exhibit.  

Mom, thank you for making sure I always chose the right sort of people to be friends with. Because of you I will always surround myself with respectable and responsible people through each and every phase of my life… (too bad the same can’t be said for dad. His friends are weirdos).

Mom, thank you for showing me it’s ok to be happy with who I am and that being yourself is the only person you should want to be in life. I have learned about love and humor and how to enjoy life because of you. I also have learned how to stand up to the things I am afraid of and that being afraid of those things in the first place is a normal part of life… As long as I face them and realize that in the end I’m stronger than anything that I might be scared of.  

But most importantly… Thank you for being my mommy, because as far as moms go… you’re the best.  

Happy Birthday!

Love,

Jackson

  
    
   

A Letter for Grammy Nancy

Dear Grammy,

How can I thank you for everything you do for me? I’m not even sure you know how much you do for my family. I wish I knew how to talk so I could say thank you for all the nice things you do for me, but for now this letter will have to do.

Thank you for watching me everyday while mommy and daddy work. I wish they could stay home all day and play with me and read me books, but I know they love their jobs and love making money even more. When they work I miss them a lot, but being with you and not at some strangers house helps me feel better.

Thank you for working overtime and night hours so you can help mommy and daddy during the day. You always put everyone else first even when you are feeling sick or tired. I hope one day I can do nice things for you so that you don’t have to work so many hours.

Thank you for buying me so many toys and books. Every time I like something at my house you buy it for me at your house so I always feel like I’m home. I don’t like leaving home, but I am alway so happy when I get to come to your house for the day.

Thank you for teaching me things like words and colors and shapes. I love when we get to do fruit and veggie of the day. I like getting to try to eat everything the best. I know I am going to grow up really, really smart because you teach me so much when we are together.

Thanks for always fixing stuff around my house. I feel bad, because dad always tries to fix stuff but he’s really bad at it. He always growls and yells at stuff when he is trying to fix it, but that never helps. When ever something breaks I always think to myself, “why don’t they just call Grammy?” You’re a great fixer-upper

Thank you for doggie sitting my brothers when mommy, daddy and I go out on dates. I know you watch me all week and then you sometimes watch Buster and Max on the weekend and that is really helpful to us so we can do family things. I know Buster always eats all your stuff, so you can have any of my things to make up for that. I like to share because you taught me that sharing is important.

Thank you for being patient with mommy and daddy. They are trying their best with me. I know they nag you a lot and always give you a million directions to follow even though you already know what to do. I mean you did raise mom and she’s the best mom in the whole world.

Grammy, I love you so much. Thank you for helping me grow.

Love always,
Jackson