Last One.

To My Youngest Daughter and Last Child,

It’s been an entire year since you first decided to join us Earthside. On one hand that’s nearly impossible to comprehend, but on the other hand it’s exactly where you’re supposed to be. You’re walking now. WALKING. Ever so eager to join your siblings in their fun, but also because you’re so keen on exploring everything about your world! Even though I’ve been through these developmental stages twice before, your approach to things is so different that it’s almost like a brand new experience. And since it is a brand new experience for you I’m amazed and delighted as you discover all the things. As ravenous as you are to move about and find your place here you are also balanced with a sense of joy and contentment. It’s as if you’re telling us “Things are okay here. I am safe and loved here and that’s all I need.” And given the absolute chaos that surrounds the walls of our home it’s nice to have a soothing reminder that at least we are okay. I can’t think of a better way to experience my last firsts with you, proving once again that you are the exact right person to come into our lives at precisely the right time.

I love you.



To My Bold and Daring Eldest Daughter,

Today you are three years old!! It hardly seems like it’s been that long since you crashed into our life like a wrecking ball in the best way possible, but here we are. Despite the circumstances around us you’ve had one hell of a year. It’s been nothing short of awe-inspiring to see you grow in so many ways, everything from your vocabulary to your emotions to your fearlessness to your infectious energy when you experience joy. You proclaim loudly to the world “I’m here and I matter!” I absolutely burst with pride when I see you succeed knowing how hard you’ve worked, how much you’ve fought, how immensely driven you are to make your place in the world.

At the same time I am so humbled as your father. I’ve had to learn and grow so much to see you, to connect with you, to ride the enormous waves of emotion and help steer the boat in which we are traveling safely to shore. I see so much of my inner child in you that as I’m learning how to parent you I’m also learning how to nurture myself. You have given me the rarest of gifts in the opportunity to become someone I didn’t know I could, and I shall cherish it forever.

Today will be a day for cake, for singing songs, for being with family, and for unrestrained joy. Basically some of the things you enjoy most in life. Let us celebrate in the best of ways and continue to bring a wrecking ball to a world that desperately needs more of what you have to offer.

I love you.


To My Darling Son,

You’re eight years old today. It’s really happened in the blink of an eye but when I sit long enough and think, it’s truly been an amazing time. Because you are an amazing human. This last year I’ve seen your heart grow immensely as you’ve become a big brother yet again, and the love and care you show for both of your sisters is so touching and amazing. You’ve weathered another year of this pandemic, doing the hard things because you know they’re the right things to do to keep you, us, and everyone else safe. It’s way more than any kid should need to handle and yet you do because you care. You’ve become an incredible pianist. I’m spellbound by your uncanny ability to write songs and play fearlessly with such an open heart.

As I reflect not only on the last year but the last 8 years I’m seeing one common thread, one force that seems to be driving you: your heart. It’s so carefree, full of love, hope, ambition, caring, grace, forgiveness, happiness, and joy. That you can find the silver lining in nearly everything isn’t an accident; it’s who you are. And I want you to remember that no one – absolutely no one – can take that away from you.  You are the amazing, wonderful, beautiful manifestation of every tender emotion of humanity. And everyone is better after experiencing the joy of you. Don’t ever change.

I love you.


My Daring, Darling Daughter,

Today you are two years old. TWO!! And what a wonderful two years it has been. You have worked so, so hard to be seen and heard in this world. We are all the better for it because this world is and always will be better having seen and heard you. You are strong. Bold. Focused. Determined. Self-assured. Uncompromising. Fierce. Kind. Caring. Loving. A truly remarkable whirlwind of a human set on accomplishing things in your own way and on your own time. That’s the way it’s always been for you, and it’s been such an unexplainable joy watching you push through so much chaos and adversity only to be victorious Every. Single. Time. 

I can see so much potential in you; I stand in awe every time I think about it. The world truly isn’t ready for you and may never be. Because the world as it stands now does not know what to do with a light as bright and strong as yours. And that’s perfectly fine, because it will never be about what the world does to you, but what you do to and for the world

Go forth, my daughter, and conquer in the name of love and light. Be the person this world cannot tame. Bend reality to your will for the betterment of all humanity. Demand to be seen and heard, never backing down from what you know is right. But first, let’s have some cake and celebrate.

I love you.


My Darling Son,

Today you are seven years old. The past year has brought challenges that no one could have foreseen and that you certainly do not deserve, but yet you stand tall, bright, and proud. A shining example of what humanity can and should be, you are kind, caring, loving, creative, intelligent, imaginative, empathetic, sincere, determined, hopeful, and happy. The list goes on longer than eternity but the fact remains that I am SO proud of you and SO honored to be your father.

I have watched you grow into someone who will make this world far better for everyone than I would have ever thought possible. I know this because you already have such an enormous impact on the small scale of our family. You are unquestionably the best and most perfect big brother that your sister could ever ask for. Your mere presence lights up the hearts and minds of everyone you meet, instantly making the room brighter. And your unflinching optimism in the face of the darkness of the present moment reveals glimpses of your softness and strength.

Even though I know the world will not always be kind to you – and in many ways it has already shown this – I know you have what it takes to persevere while cherishing and nurturing the softness and light within you that makes you whole. And if you ever start to feel that light dim or that softness grow cold, just know all you have to do is turn back toward me. I will hold you in my arms and remind you of who you truly are. 

If you keep one thing with you always please let it be this: Never EVER lose these parts of yourself. They are the foundations of love for yourself and for all of humanity, and you hold them in such vast and rare amounts that will carry you to the highest of places and be your guiding lights when you think you’ve lost your way. Be you, and be no one else.

I love you.

One By Two

To My Beautiful Baby Daughter,

You are officially One Year Old today. And if there is anyone who deserves the absolute happiest of first birthdays it is you. The most underrated statement I will ever utter is that your first year of existence has been ONE. HELL. OF. A. YEAR. A year that has defined you, or more accurately a year in which you have defined yourself to us and to the world. Your personality is so unique, so vibrant, so incredibly full of fire. You are first and foremost a fighter, starting from as early as in the womb. You have proven time and time again that this world bends to your will, not the other way around. You rise up, wide-eyed and full of wonder, staring knowingly into the chaos before you and boldly proclaim “I AM HERE!!!!” with the fire, energy, and vitality of the brightest star in the universe. And that energy, that light, leads the way through the chaos as long as we are willing to listen. All is right, all is well, all will become one with the universe with you leading the way.

Let’s have one hell of a celebration today, jubilation to blind out the chaos and uncertainty surrounding us. I have no doubt this day will be glorious. You’ve earned it, that’s for damn sure. On this day we celebrate!

Happy Birthday.

I love you.


My Darling Son,

I honestly still cannot fathom that you are now six years old. In many ways it has gone way too fast and I still see in you the infant that I can protect and shelter from the harms of the world. But I also know you are destined for great things in this world and out in it you must venture. 

And venture you have as the past year has been a complete whirlwind of life. You’ve started and finished preschool, moved to an entirely new city and started the challenge of kindergarten, and experienced first-hand the birth of your baby sister. You’ve lived in hotels and Airbnbs for weeks at a time, felt the uncertainty of displacement as we navigated the fog of life’s gigantic changes this year, and all while being the brightest of shining starts imaginable. You have carried more water than any 5-year-old should ever have to, and you’ve done it all remarkably.

You are so kind, so gentle, so full of love, pure of heart, and absolutely incredibly brilliant. I truly am at a loss for words to describe how beautiful of a human you are. I knew this of you from the moment I first held you but somehow you just keep raising the bar higher at every turn. My heart somehow manages to grow three sizes every single day. You give me more faith in the innate goodness of humanity than anything or anyone else I’ve ever encountered.

So shine on. The world needs your light and your love, and I am beyond proud that you are so willing to share that light and love with us all.

I love you.

Fog, Smoke, Ash, and Light.

Hi. It’s been awhile. Mostly because my life has been a goddamned shit show for the last 9 months, so finding the motivation (let alone the time) to write has been impossible. Not that I need to justify it to anyone, but here’s a quick rundown of what’s happened:

-I changed jobs. Not because I wanted to, but because I got demoted and my pay was slashed for a very unjustified reason. I won’t get into it here, but needless to say I’m still extremely bitter towards the company I used to work for because this was the catalyst for the upheaval of our entire lives for literally no good reason. Has some good come of it? Absolutely. I now work in a job I love for a company that really cares for its employees. Truly. I feel great knowing my company’s values align with mine and they back it up with actions. But holy hell I got career-slapped to the point that the only good way through it was to push the eject button. On everything.

-The job change required us to move because the commute from where we were living was 2 hours minimum each way. Sometimes over 3. Not sustainable at all. So after working insanely hard over the last 4 years to establish roots we had to rip most of them up and start over again. Has some good come of it? Absolutely. We made a small fortune on the sale of our house and my new company paid for nearly every aspect of our move. So we used some of the profit to pay off all our consumer debt and start a real family savings, which has allowed us to breathe easier and stop living paycheck to paycheck. Kind of like real adulting. And we now live in a really rad city that’s still a day trip from our old friends, so it’s not like we’re starting from scratch again. And we’re establishing new friends, with 2 other families on our street with kids roughly the same age as T.

-The house had some major unforeseen issues. It was a complete flip and the flippers did a decent job. Mostly. They added a bathroom on their own upstairs and did such a shit job that we had water leaking in the walls from the sink, shower, and toilet drains for 10 straight days after we moved in. So we spent 36 days in hotels and Airbnbs while undertaking a $30,000 construction project. My insurance company paid for most of it but it was the last thing we needed at the worst possible time. And right in the middle of it:

-Our beautiful baby daughter was born. We’ll call her J on this blog. J was born 4 weeks early on her own accord with a birth story that’s as chaotic as it is magnificent. You’ll hear more on that later, but she’s 8 weeks old now and sleeping on me in the Boba Wrap as I type. My new company gave me 6 straight weeks of fully-paid paternity leave so I got to spend way more time than I ever thought I would with her in the first critical weeks of her life. She’s a goddamned jewel and a shining light through this very heavy fog.

All of these things happened in the span of 9 months. And right now my emotional and physical states are a fucking wreck. I’m typing this standing up with my laptop on my son’s dresser. He’s playing imaginary games with his favorite stuffies while J sleeps on my chest. T has been up sine 6:30am and we’re coming off a rough night with J to the point that a Starbucks Venti Cold Brew is barely propping me up. And yet I feel like I shouldn’t complain because my wife got even less sleep than I did. Plus, this is what newborns do and we definitely signed up for this with eyes wide open.

The house is a mess because we still haven’t finished unpacking, and we’re about to stay in a hotel for 2 days while some very sophisticated equipment tries to rid the house of cigarette smoke smell once and for all. This will make 38 days out of the last 60 that we’ve spent in a hotel or Airbnb for home fixes. We’ve cooked maybe 10 total meals in our new home and my blood pressure is through the roof because it’s really hard to eat fucking salad every day when you’re barely hanging on by a thread. I’m not proud of McDonald’s and Slurpees at midnight after a 19-hour day in the NICU, but goddamnit sometimes it’s the best you can do. 

I’m over all of it and feel like crying as I desperately yearn for things to go back to “normal”, yet because so much has changed I have no idea what the new normal looks like. It’s absolutely true that the only way out is through and that we’re on the other side of all the shit. But it’s still really, really hard, even with the incredible support of family and friends.

OK I think I’ve vomited enough words for now. Just enough to make sure my blog didn’t get left behind in the ashes of my former life. I think there’s more coffee hiding around here somewhere…..


My Darling Boy,

What. A. Year. Honestly I can’t even being to describe in words what an awe-inspiring year it’s been watching you grow, but this humble letter will at least attempt to capture it as best I can. There have been so many new and wonderful developments that’s not possible to remember them all, but you’ve blossomed into this capable, confident, curious, courageous, and compassionate young human. You lead with an incredibly strong desire to learn, to understand, and most importantly, to feel. And not just feel for yourself, but feel for others. To be with others. If you ever read this, please, please don’t lose that. Or if you’ve lost it by the time you read this, please do whatever it takes to get it back. I will do everything I possibly can to nurture that empathy as it will be one of the most valuable guiding forces in your life. That force combined with your innate curiosity and love of learning will be nearly all you need to achieve great things. And make no mistake, you are destined for greatness, whatever that looks like to you.

So many wonderful moments this year. Too many to count. From your vivid imagination (stuffed animal characters) to your inventor’s drive (LEGO, recyclable materials, sock puppets, literally anything you can get your hands on) to your musical heartbeat (writing songs, your beautiful voice, the rhythm of your soul), to the persistent hard work of learning new skills like ballet, climbing trees, hiking mountains, and swimming; there hasn’t been a single thing you’ve wanted to do that you couldn’t do.

And the selflessness! Together you and I have put in so much work to make our community a better place. You’ve rung doorbells in the searing summer heat for some of the best political candidates I’ve ever met. You’ve marched in solidarity with our LBGTQIA+ friends. You’ve stood with me in the pouring rain to ensure that immigrant families stay together. You’ve literally faced down an anti-choice protester, proudly proclaiming with conviction that you “stand with Planned Parenthood”. And all of this at FOUR. YEARS. OLD. I cannot adequately capture the deep well of gratitude, humility, pride, and joy that I feel knowing that I could share these experiences with you and also see how they’ve added so much knowledge and depth to your character. You’re not only building your own world; you’re making it so much better for everyone else.

And through all of it you’ve never once lost sight of humility and gratitude. And you captured that perfectly in our last exchange just before bed on the eve of your birthday:

Me: “When you wake up you’re going to be five!”
You: “I can’t thank you enough.”

No, my son, I can’t thank you enough.

I love you.


I’ve lost the inspiration to write. Hopefully it’s temporary, but everything that’s happening in this country is so stressful that I’m barely keeping my head above water being an adult, let alone a parent and a husband. It’s not supposed to be like this. I’m supposed to be spending my vacations truly enjoying time with my son, my weekends relaxing and doing fun things, and my evening shutting off my Work Brain and turning on my Family Brain. Instead, I’m calling my congressional representatives from the base of Hurricane Ridge, on vacation no less. Weekends are for showing up en masse to rallies for Planned Parenthood, Women’s Marches, Pride Parades, Immigrants’ Rights, and trying to move the Sisyphean needle on keeping asylum-seeking families together. Evenings are spent gathering intel and activist strategies through podcasts while accomplishing the bare minimum of chores before collapsing from exhaustion around 11pm.

My 4-1/2-year-old son is with me for all of it, at least when he’s awake. Because if he’s not then I don’t get to spend time with him. There’s too much to do and not enough time to do it. So I try to make the time as high-quality as possible. He knows why we rally for women’s health. He’s cold stood up to a protestor and unflinchingly said “I stand for Planned Parenthood,” without any input from me. He knows I’m referring to him (and a whole bunch of other people) when I wear my Black Lives Matter t-shirt. He knows why we march in the Pride Parades. He’s met many of my LGBTQIA friends and recognizes their humanity. He’s expressed profound, real sadness when I explained to him that children are being taken away from their parents at the border, his empathy shining through as I watch him consider how he would feel if he were separated from us. Again, all completely unprompted.

Parenting is hard. I anticipated some (but not all) of the growing pains of being a first-time parent. You know, the standard stuff. Everything from the chronic lack of sleep with infants to the frustrating, maddening boundary-pushing sociopathy of toddlers. I knew I would have to figure out how to help him navigate his complex racial identity in a bleakly racist world. But I never anticipated all this. I never anticipated that my generation and the generations before me would be gleefully setting fire to the world. That the scorched, salted earth my son will inherit may be appreciably worse than what I have. That I’ll have to explain to him how to stay safe when angry white men spray bullets all over his school. That the one parenting constant – that all generations strive to ensure better lives for the generations that follow – is a myth steeped in white supremacy.

I don’t know where we go from here, and I know I can’t protect him from all of it. My one hope is that he finds the strength to bring his generation together and fix this; to succeed where we have clearly failed. But for now, one step at a time I guess. There are signs to make, snacks to pack, and people to meet at the next rally.