Jim Anderson surrounded by his adoring family. Umm, not quite me.
I walked down the hall as I'd done thousands of times before. As always I'm on a mission. Most of them are trivial: take the trash to the kitchen, transpose a novel from my backpack to my nightstand, or talk to my wife about something or other. This time as I walked out our bedroom door I turned my head, just for a second, to glance at my older daughter's bedroom. And in that moment I felt the culmination of my life to that point.
My mother's tombstone is so high above my head, it's hard to connect with her grave.
Every trip to Los Angeles is punctuated by a visit with my parents. They're buried at Mt. Sinai Memorial Park, just a few hundred feet from each other. I haven't lived in L.A. since the mid 1980s but it will forever be the place I come from. And this visit has become part of my ritual each time I return. I'm usually alone with my thoughts but this time the city was a stop on a family vacation so my wife and girls
Never say a commonplace thing.
My name is Jeff Gates and I talk to strangers. More on that later.
We don't want our children to be fearful of public engagements. But we want them to be able to understand the risks. Illustration from an ad for online security software.
With one bona fide teenager and a proto soon-to-be teen in the house privacy has been a hot family topic. Well, only their parents seem to think it's an important issue. The girls seem totally nonplussed. And that's
I went to Santa Fe and all I got was this wonderful portrait of my daughters. Click image for larger view.
It's the week after Labor Day. The girls are back in school and I've got deadlines at work. It's been rainy and cool and I'm starting to see just a hint of fall colors on the trees above my head. Way too early, I think. Summer, my favorite season, has instantaneously migrated to fall, my least favorite. I know what's coming (PDF). Our family vacation to Santa Fe just two weeks ago is starting
You might remember we dodged a bullet a few weeks ago over the Tooth Fairy. But the big question remains: does our youngest still believe in Santa?
Last week I got a voicemail from my wife: "I just thought you should know, on the way to school today your daughter announced she no longer believes in Santa Claus." Well, I thought, it's over and it seemed so easy. For the rest of the afternoon the weight of my bureaucratic day job seemed so light.
At dinner that night I angled for the confirmation.
Notice: Seasonal and youthful spoilers below. If you are under 13, ask your parents to read this first.
My daughter's tooth- and toothbrush-shaped note to the Tooth Fairy. Is this the work of a true believer?
Parents are constantly assessing their children's progress towards independence. It starts early: are they eating too little, too much? Getting too little sleep, too much? Pooping too little or too much? Some times maturity can't come fast enough (ask my wife at the end of a hard day) and