In a few hours, it’ll be three years since Ess was born. For the first two years, there was kind of a catching of the breath after each stage: after she began sleeping more reliably, after she stopped needing to be burped, after she could sit through a meal out at a restaurant. Beginning with this birthday, it is a less of a catching of the breath and more this sense of taking a memory (“hope I don’t fall down” whenever she climbed the stairs) or a mis-pronunciation (dooDAHNdaht for banana) and reverently setting it on the shelf, leaving it behind.

We flew a kite with Ess today, and she laughed riotously as I continually crashed it into the ground. I read her a story before bed. Mykala made her a birthday cake shaped like a purple ladybug. I carried her on my shoulders. All of this, the way we spend time, the things that entertain Ess… we’ll have to eventually cede them to growing up and moving on. I try to keep at the front of my mind to help me remember that this makes it all precious.

Love you, Ess.

No Up Without Down

Four of us were busily chatting in the kitchen the other day, and Ess came in to tell us all something. We were very engaged talking to one another, and Ess could tell and she started to get this little hitch-stutter-filler in her speech, uncertainly stretching out words, aware that nobody was listening, wondering whether to continue. Essie’s experience lasted a brief moment, but the profound pain I felt in response, my daughter here, talking, no one listening, startled me. Here’s the flip side of that:

Now the commencement speakers will typically also wish you good luck and extend good wishes to you. I will not do that, and I’ll tell you why. From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion. Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.

Chief Justice John Roberts, speaking at his son’s commencement ceremony.

Chalk Toonie

Chalk Toonie

I’m very proud of this portrait I made of Toonie.

Eating a Banana

Eating a Banana



Golf Cart Golf Ball

Driving the Golf Cart

Sunset at the Wedding

Sunset at the Wedding

Sliding with Marge

Ess is taking good care of her favorite friend monkey.

New Bug Erasers