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I was too hard on him.  I didn’t have the patience to be gentler in my tone or my words when he was just being a four-year old.  And now I am remembering that—knowing he is gone and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.  I wish there was a way to take it all back and replace it with calm and loving-speak.  I am the adult, not the one going through yet another phase of development nor am I going through what must be a confusing and uneasy transition time.  I should have known better, should have been a better father, should have been better to him. Read the rest of this entry »


Memories of brothers who shared a passion for flashing lights and blaring sirens Read the rest of this entry »

Yesterday I was upstairs scouring the house for Disney Cars.  I had his big red Mack transport carrier open and was trying to account for each of the twenty or so characters–Lightning McQueen, Doc, Chick Hicks.  I was sticking hangers under hot water radiators all over the house trying to fish out the little cars from beneath them.  I foraged through the drawers of the boys playroom; I checked his toy box and under his bed.  I found every last one of them.  Read the rest of this entry »

My mother has not been one to use e-mail that often.  Recently I’ve been hearing from her more and more.  She sent me a note a few weeks ago and what she said struck me—take care of yourselves and be careful not to do something stupid.  At first it seemed like sage advice, something a mother might say to a son before he goes off to college.  But then I realized that what my mother was doing was giving me counsel from one grieving parent to another.  Is that what I am?  Read the rest of this entry »

I was up Sunday night in the wee hours.  I seem to be having trouble sleeping.  It isn’t that I’m not tired; it’s that I can’t turn it off.  Head falls down on the lovely down pillow, on the fabulous 800-thread cotton sheets, on the perfect and new Stearns and Foster mattress, and then the deadly deeds begin to role.  It’s the way he said it, the moronic decision, could have kicked the shit out of them, should be held accountable, best interests of the child, you are failing, failing, failing, dammit pick up after yourself, hate the push and shove on the train, bad behavior begets bad behavior, wild and wicked thoughts about getting back, get back, get the fuck back from me.  I’m dangerous right now.  Don’t be a victim. Read the rest of this entry »

I expect that in about three months our son will be gone—reunited with his biological family.  I ‘m not sure what this means for our family.  For now, we turn again to our beloved little four year-old and begin the process of thinking about how to help him make this transition.  It’s time for his foster parents to put away sorrow for the moment and have adult conversations about the next few months.  Read the rest of this entry »

Between two Federal buildings there’s a tunnel built in the 1930s.  It enables employees to travel from one building to the other without having to cross a multi-lane thoroughfare.  One day while dashing to a meeting, I noticed one of my fellow employees standing midway through the tunnel, a small pile of debris at his feet.  With his fingers he was slowly peeling paint from the walls where it had bubbled and split open as water leaked down from the surface streets.  I was struck at how odd, slightly chilling and a little freakish this image of the government worker literally peeling paint off of the walls was.  I left a short time later after realizing that that agency embraced the paint peelers and all flavor of the unnatural and the bizarre. Read the rest of this entry »

Another court date is upon us.  This is the hearing meant to replace the one back in December where several parties were no-shows; which was meant to replace the one back in October where the court didn’t properly schedule the hearing; that replaces the one in September where none of the parties could agree—this hearing, to replace all of the others, is happening today, January 11.  If anyone is late or absent, no excuse will suffice.  Not that anyone should ever have an excuse for not showing at a hearing given the gravity of the situation, but this time no one can forget the date: one-one-one-one-one. Read the rest of this entry »


I am number four of six children born to my parents between 1953 and 1966.  While having that many children today may seem a little wacky, I remember families in my old neighborhood that had even more.  Child bearing was very different back then.  Back in the day, the really odd family was the one down the street with the only child.  As Darrow and I began down this road together, I often wondered just how many children would cross our threshold.  I still have this romantic image of the two of us in this big old house bursting at the seams with little ones.  Read the rest of this entry »

It’s time to pull out the Christmas music once again.  Each year I stash it in the same place on a bookshelf, knowing that inevitably we will be listening to Diana Ross’ off-key Silver Bells, Nat King Cole’s classic White Christmas and the Vince Guaraldi’s sound track to A Charlie Brown ChristmasDecember another holiday favorite, is a collection of somber but beautiful piano pieces by George Winston.  Originally recorded in 1982, it is the backdrop to a lot of my holiday memories growing up.  It makes me wonder why this particular holiday can take on such a sad tone especially in music.  Christmas is supposed to be about presents, and good cheer, and Santa, but somehow it can just as easily take a poignant and melancholy turn.  Read the rest of this entry »

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