That’s Twenty-One!

Sorry to disappoint but this is not a gambling post.

This IS an open letter to my daughter on her birthday.

Why open? If I’m honest with myself, it’s mostly for selfish reasons. Bragging about a child is feels like bragging about yourself, regardless of how much (or little) you actually had to do with the outcome.

I’m going to say something that may sound like a back-handed compliment, but it’s not meant to be: you exceed expectations. THAT has as much to do with me as you. You see, if we switched places, I don’t think I’d be where you are. You may not believe it, but you’re more self-assured and self confident than I was at your age. I don’t tell you this enough, but I’m proud of how you’ve grow into yourself in college – setting goals and working towards them with resolve. I stumbled through majors like a lost hungry lion on LSD, in a field of red meat growing like wheat.

You’ve cultivated a network of college friends, acquaintances, and advisors to lean on when you need help. I wouldn’t have known the registrar’s office from a dentist’s office, if I hadn’t gone to college with 90% of my high school friends.

You’ve dealt with money shortages and the anxiety it brings, in addition to the challenges of a tough course of study, and excelled. I stopped going to a French class after only a week because I thought the professor was a dick. To be fair, I think I could have convinced a jury he deserved my scorn.

You have done these things. YOU. You’re yet another reason I’ve been extremely lucky in life. In the moment I didn’t always see things as easy, but with the benefit of hindsight I know they could have been much harder, and that’s because you were a good kid. You ARE a good person. Instinct (to some degree) leads us to love our children. We cherish you, our oldest child, because you have such a good heart.

Happy Birthday kid!

Love, Dad

To all my friends and family…

Thank you all for the birthday greetings. I enjoyed hearing from you all, especially considering my long absences from Facebook, Twitter, and my poor, neglected blog.

I wanted to let you know two things: it warmed my heart to hear from all of you, and my absence does not represent bad times at the Kauffman household.

I’ve been devoting a lot of time to rehabilitating my neck, strengthening and stretching the muscles above the waist. It feels constant, but it’s only several times a day – a few hours a day.

Adam is struggling a bit, socially, with the transition to third grade, and his first teacher who wouldn’t fit the warm, cuddly mold of Kindergarten. I’ve been trying to spend more time with him after school, either just talking about “stuff,” or finding common interests.

Plus, I’ve spent A LOT more time in my car since the office move. However, I’ve just learned our modest (to put it kindly) bus system (improbably) has a direct line from my neighborhood to my office – an hour or more away at rush hour. If my neck can handle the bumps, stops/starts, and jostling of the bus, I may be doing A LOT of Facebooking in the future ;-)

But enough with the excuses. Let me just say thanks one more time.

You all are the best.


Someone’s birthday

I’m hoping you’ll read this one, even If you ignore most of my posts.

Tomorrow is Cheryl’s birthday. She’s not going to get what she deserves because it’s impossible to quantify. She’s not going to get what she’s worth because everything is beyond my means.

Instead, she’s going to get up and do what she does every Friday: wake up, take the kids to school, go to work, come home for a short nap, wake up, go to job number two, and work security at the hospital until the sun rises on another day – when she’ll do much of it again. She’ll do it without complaint. She’ll do it for me and her other kids.

So do this for me.

I take that back.

Do this for her. Show Cheryl a little love tomorrow on her birthday. It’s not everything but it’s something and that isn’t nothing.

And if this post comes across as off the charts corny you’ll do it anyway, right?

Now for a few fuzzy birthday videos

Here’s a few quick videos from Beth’s real birthday (we’ll be doing a few late celebrations after Adam sheds his virus).

My apologies, the quality is exceptionally poor. I forgot to recharge the batteries in our camera, so I settled for my old iPhone 3G, which was never really meant to be a video camera. It’s a pretty lousy still camera when you get down to it.

The obligatory cake shot:

Beth turns the camera on us for a change:

What does it mean to be thirteen?


She’s 38

I have a much longer post written (in my head) tentatively titled “state of the Kauffmans,” but it will have to wait until a time when it’s not past my bedtime.

Until then, know that Cheryl’s recovery is going as planned, and she enjoyed a little get together with our parents to celebrate her birthday. (She was a little nervous about me wearing my Obama campaign shirt with her parents coming over, but I was itching for a little political dust-up… low key of course).

A couple pics from this evening:
Cheryl's Birthday
from left to right: my dad, Cheryl, Beth, Adam, and me.

She's gonna blow!
incision promently on display (you’re welcome!), Cheryl gets read to blow. By the way, the cupcakes were her idea.

More to follow soon. It’s been an eventful couple of weeks.