How Things Change

Having recently become a parent, I have been thinking back to my life as a child. Aside from remembering iconic toys, tv shows, and things I used to do, I’ve been particularly aware of the impression I had of my parents.

IMG_1461I’m in roughly the same age bracket as my parents were when they started having kids, yet I don’t feel like I’m the same age. It’s not that I remember my parents being ‘old’, but rather I don’t see myself as much different than I was ten years ago. As a kid, my parents always seemed like grown ups, which I suppose they were. Being 31 I suppose I am, too.

So why do I not feel like I’m just not to that place yet?

Maybe it’s because the change happens so gradually, it’s hard to notice until it’s been done. There was never a sudden change over from being a ‘kid’ to an ‘adult’. Some might say I still am a kid – yet I have a wife, baby and mortgage – so I’m an adult…!?

IMG_1446I have much the same feeling about all this as I do visiting places I haven’t been to since I was little. For example, my elementary school. I remember the first time going back in to Arthur Elementary after many years to vote for the first time (first sign of becoming an adult). My memories of the hallways and cafeteria were much different than what I saw. It wasn’t that the paint had changed colors or doors replaced, but rather the scale. I remember the hallways seeming forever long with really high ceilings. Now the hallways seem short and narrow.


My Grandpa Jack (my Dad’s dad) with me when I was less than a year old.

I know full well that the size of the building didn’t change. Obviously, I am what changed, but it feels the other way around. Since I hadn’t been in there for so long, there was a disconnect between my reality then and now. The feeling was very apparent and felt weird. It seemed like a sudden, huge change.

Even though I have been present (more or less) for every day of my life, this adulthood thing has kind of taken me by surprise. We all know it’s going to happen sooner or later (much later, for some people), but looking back – just like visiting my old school – things aren’t quite as grown up as they seemed.


My Dad, Me, and Harvey on my first father’s day in 2015.


My Dad, Me, and Harvey working backstage at the Iowa City Jazz Festival 2015.

Father’s Day

I was nervous and excited to finally get to meet him.
He had been with our family for nine months, yet we weren’t able to really know him.


Moments after he was born he held my finger in his tiny hand.

I got to hold him, wrapped in blankets and snuggled in my arms.


I got to see him lay with his Mom for the first time.


When little Harvey Jack was introduced to his grandparents, aunts, and uncles, I saw the happiness he brought to them.


I got to change his diaper and swaddle him in blankets to stay warm and be comfortable to sleep.
I helped give him his first bath and washed his full head of dark hair.


I got to help his Mom feed him every few hours for the first weeks.
I experienced both physical and emotional exhaustion like I never have before.
Finally, I got to secure him in his carseat and bring him home for the first time.


I get to change many diapers and outfits, and give many baths.


I get to rock him to sleep and wake up to his babbling in the mornings.


Because of all this, I experience life in a much different way than I used to.
He has taught me about what is important in life, and that being his Dad is the best thing I’ve ever gotten to do.

IMG_1207.JPGBeing a father is both the easiest, and the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

It is hard because it takes a lot of time. It’s easy because most of that time I get to be with my son.

It is hard because it takes a surprisingly large amount of physical energy to watch a baby as they play and learn to be mobile. It is easy because I get to play and have fun with my son and watch him learn and grow.

It is hard because just as soon as you get into a routine and have a “normal” schedule, your baby will start waking up more at night and not taking naps during the day. It is easy because when I am getting up multiple times throughout the night, I get to see my son, feed, change, and snuggle him and be sure he’s alright.

IMG_1410.JPGIt is hard because the rest of the world doesn’t stop moving, and continues on wether you are ready for it or not. It is easy because my world is now a lot smaller, and the important things are with me right at home.

It is hard because it’s a lot of work that will always be requiring new skills, and will continue for the rest of my life. It is so much easier to get up out of bed when I know my little boy is right in the next room, waiting for me. Knowing that when I peek my head into his room I will see a super big grin on his face because he’s proud of himself for standing up in his crib and is excited to see his Dad.

IMG_0568.JPGIt’s hard to explain the amount of joy that my son gives me. His smiles when he first sees me in the morning or when I get home from work will never get old. Even when he is sad or doesn’t feel well, just knowing that I can provide him some bit of comfort makes me feel my life is worth so much more than it ever felt before. Then there are his giggle episodes when he goes on laughing for minutes at something he finds funny or smiling at his puppy. Seeing the look on his face as he’s finding new things to climb on and crawl to is precious. The excitement he has from seeing and experiencing things for the first time helps me see things for the first time again. Watching him play with toys and realizing he understands what he’s doing with them is awe inspiring. He plays hard and doesn’t get discouraged when he can’t do something the first few times. He is just an awesome little dude, who I can already tell has a big heart and lots of love. He inspires me to be a little bit more like him.

It’s hard being a father, but it’s easy to do for such an amazing young boy.

Happy father’s day to all the dads out there, especially Harvey’s Grandpas, Rick and George!

She Went Through a Lot

Mother’s Day.  Now that I’ve been part of the transformation of my wife from a woman into a mother, Mother’s day means so much more. It would be easy just to say it’s a day to honor your mother because she went through a lot to get you here. I used to think that statement would pretty much sum it up. However, that really doesn’t do justice for what a good mother really does.

It’s not just that she went through roughly nine months of the discomforts of being pregnant, but that she was taking care of you from the moment she knew you were there. She took great care in what went into her body, and the environments she was in to be sure nothing would harm you. She worried when you hadn’t moved for a while and wouldn’t stop worrying until she felt you wiggle. She went to the doctor regularly and had uncomfortable tests done to be sure you were doing okay.

She had no idea who you were, but she already loved you and cared about you more than herself.

She went to classes to learn how to care for you. She read books and talked to friends to learn as much as she could about having a baby. She made sure you had everything you would need before you were introduced into the world.

She wondered, is this the time? Is this when we go to the hospital? She knew it wouldn’t be easy, but was willing to put everything she had into getting you here safely.

She hurt, she walked the halls, she waited.

She had never done this before, but knew you were worth it. She felt you getting ready, she hurt, and she waited some more. Then finally, she went through more than a lot, but she got you here.

And that’s just how it started. That’s how she became a mom.

She makes sure you have food to eat. She keeps you healthy, growing, and strong. She wakes up at night and checks to be sure you’re breathing. She changes your diapers and dresses you and keeps you warm. She protects you every way that she can, and constantly worries about if you’re okay. She takes you to the doctor and she went to more classes to better understand how you communicate.

When you don’t feel well, she hurts. When you’re sad, she cries. When you’re peacefully sleeping, she couldn’t imagine a more special baby boy. When you’re happy and you laugh and smile, she’s never felt a greater joy. She goes through a lot to keep you here.

I will never be a woman, give birth, or be a mom. I’ll never truly know what all of this is like, but I can say that what mothers do is pretty special. After all, it seems like they went through a lot to get you here.

Happy Mother’s day to both my Mom, who I now understand a bit more about what she’s done for me …

… and to my wife, who I couldn’t be more proud of for everything she’s done and will do for our beautiful, amazing baby boy!

Jessie and Harvey