List #249: Things I am Over This Summer

Just a few things that I wish would disappear, sooner rather than later:

  • Humid days and rainy nights.
  • People who get annoyed about children being inside the library.
  • Spotty wi-fi.
  • Cats who get crazy every night.
  • Getting up before 7 am.
  • Cleaning.
  • Feet that hurt after very long days.
  • Summer moving by too quickly.
  • Expensive flights.
  • Falling asleep before 10 pm.
  • This song.

  • The lack of vacation days offered to Americans.
  • Coming home feeling sticky every night.
Here's to a weekend of relaxation. And avoiding all things annoying. 


List #248: Hot Nights And City Living

As the first week of summer begins, I find myself thinking about a beach vacation that seems so far off into the distance. And trying to muster up the energy to stay up past 10 pm and read. I have 7 library programs in 4 days and it may be getting the best of me. 

But it's my first summer living within city limits since my childhood. And I'm loving discovering the quiet of our tiny porch, just blocks from a busy street. I love long family walks and short solo walks. And grilling dinner for three.

Here is what I'm enjoying most:
  • Living in a house with central air conditioning.
  • Reading books and drinking beers while sitting on the porch together after work.
  • Grilling in the morning for breakfast.
  • Zoo trips late on Sunday mornings.
  • Freeze pops readily available.
  • The new Salted Caramel Core ice cream. Thank you, Ben & Jerry.
  • Ice Cream surprises on Saturday afternoons.
  • Long walks with panoramic views of Pittsburgh. 
  • Splashing in fountains. 
  • Rooftop bars.
  • Ice teas.
  • Ice drinks in the morning.
  • Ice water in a Tervis mug.
  • Going to bed early and not feeling bad about it at all.
  • Drinks with friends on Saturday nights.
Honestly, this week is going to exhaust me. Libraries are hectic in the summer time and it's my job to coordinate most of the (joyous) madness. But summer is fantastic. Especially when you have air conditioning. And views that look like this.

Once again, my city is prettier than your city. 


List #247: On Father's Day

It's probably been a rule in society from the very dawn of ages that dads are often overlooked. Moms are the star of the show. They are ones whose light we see beaming from far away, even if the glow they are casting isn't all that bright. Moms are the ones who get flowers, and candy, and jewelery and all of our unsolicited kisses on even the darkest days.

Dads are a different story. They get neckties and tools for holidays. They grill their own steak on Sunday afternoons. For goodness sake, every afternoon I hear a commercial on Pandora telling me that all my dad really wants for Father's Day is a nice new pair of Dockers. They don't get nearly as many unsolicited kisses and they rarely even ask for extra ones too. Whatever love you have for them is always enough. Because a Dad's light is steady and reliable. Even if his light isthe brighest one in the room, it's not going to burn out any time soon.

But boy, oh boy, do I wish I could teach the whole world a lesson and shout about Dads from the rooftop. After spending the last year with a single* dad and his hilarious little boy, I just want people to give dads more credit. The Dad in the famliy doesn't automatically need to be the back-up parent.

So please, this Father's Day (and all days really) let's do this for dear old dad:
  • Don't talk about a father of a child staying home to "watch" the babies. Dads care for children and raise children. Watching children is what the babysitter does. So save all the watching for them.
  • Let Dad tell silly Dad jokes. I swear all dads, upon leaving the hospital, get a manual on how to be the corniest man around. It makes them happy and honestly, you know it makes you laugh.
  • Buy Dad something different. Think outside of the box and give him something that is full of personality. Khaki pants have no personality.
  • Remember that Dad love their children just as much as Mom. Love has no definition. Love is love. And it is limitless.
  • Respect Dad's role. Don't tell him that he wouldn't understand. Don't tell him that Mom is always right. Support is a good thing.
  • Understand that each family is unique. What works in your home might not work in the home next door. And that's more than okay; it's wonderful.
  • Sympthasize with the new Dad. There is always so much talk about how to treat a new Mom, but it's rare that you hear about how to treat a new Dad.
  • Remember your friends. Relationships shift as people become parents. But being a mom doesn't mean you always have to take another mom's side. And being a Dad doesn't mean you have to think that Dad is always right. Remember who you were friends with before everyone decided to create new humans and try to make informed decisions and opinions.
  • Truly think what it might be like in someone else's shoes. Is your dad friend going through a rough patch? Is he going through it all alone? Be someone to count on. Don't assume he's the bad guy because he's a guy. 
  • Dads miss their kids too. When you focus on Moms missing their children and ignore how Dad might feel, you're selling Dad short. Dad wants to be with his children too. Accept a Dad's feeling as valid ones. 
I'm sure we are all thinking that none of this to our own Dads. And maybe don't. But observing how the world has interacted with one of my most favorite men this past year has led me to understand that we all do this to some Dad.

But maybe, just maybe, we can start being a little kinder to the guy who is only going to get a necktie and Dockers for Father's Day. He sure does a lot.

*Single meaning has a live-in girlfriend/partner/carer of all things little and big, who sometimes cries herself to sleep because she worries too much about babies and life and reading and so much more. If you want to know a little more of our story, I wrote about it here on Emily Levenson's Blog.