Father Time

Comment

Father Time

My birthday falls on Father’s Day
As it does every year or so
That used to bug me as a kid
But I never let anyone know

Seeing that I have two kids now
And how quickly the years go
I focus on the father part
Cuz fast they sure do grow

I see my innocence in their eyes
The simplicity of life
And tell myself to slow it down
And always kiss the wife

For one day the kids will all be grown
With their own firm hopes and thoughts
And I’ll try so hard to remember
All that I forgot:

The little moments wrestling
Or scraping dried food from cheeks
Little toots that make us laugh
Giving them away at hide-n-seek

Spontaneous hugs and I love you’s
And questions about everything
Trying so hard to learn the words
To that song they like to sing

Amazed by every rock and leaf
Desperately wanting to learn
Splashing too much in the bath
I laugh too hard to be stern

Keeping tabs on my blessings
Balancing play and work
And always in the mirror
Seeing ever-aging Kirk

So as these times pass before me
And another year floats away
This weekend I’ll be thankful for
Another Father’s Day.

©2012-2018 Kirk Weston Jackson

fathrdy12.jpg

Comment

Monsters Do Exist

Comment

Monsters Do Exist

This entry was originally posted immediately after the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings. With recent events at other schools, namely the Santa Fe, TX high school shooting which hits close to home to me and many of my family and friends, I found the timing right to repost this piece.

Original posting date: December 15, 2012

Like many parents across this country last night I lay awake in bed, tired but unable to sleep, the thoughts of the horrors of the day keeping me awake.  ”What are those parents doing right now? Are they out of tears, collapsed in exhaustion?” I wondered.  ”And the parents of the survivors, how are they keeping it together in front of their shaken children?”

In a tragic moment this sick sub-human being took away not only precious, innocent lives, but brought a heavy cloud upon everyone’s holiday season.  I found out the news as I set up a booth for my book in a quiet holiday boutique at a local church.  In a moment, darkness descended.  The boutique seemed unnecessary.  The incredible and massive Living Nativity being prepped outside seemed excessive.  My book seemed minuscule and insignificant.  The only place I wanted to be at that moment was with my children, holding them tight and gathering way more comfort from them than I was able to provide in return.

I spoke with Jackie, the sweet woman in the booth next to me, and our eyes welled up as we sat in disbelief and anger and utter sadness.  I said “You know, we tell our kids all the time that there are no monsters, no excessively evil villain or big bad wolf like they see in a cartoon or Disney flick or book."  And yet, there he was… terrorizing those children in their last moments and leaving nightmares scattered across millions of bedrooms.  Of course, we (and our son’s karate sensei) talk about strangers and how to deal with the creepy person trying to get close to you, but this sort of monster is not in my parent or dojo playbook.

Our oldest child is just short of 5 years old, young enough to be sheltered from this event and not hear about it through the usual channels.  But last night I thought about how we would explain this to our child.  Suppose he was 6 or 7 or older.  He’s going to hear about it.  One way or another he’s going to get some version of this tragic story and become aware of this existing violence.  Then the questions will follow: Why was the man so angry? Why did God let this happen?  Does this happen everywhere?  When will it happen again? Will it happen to me?

So my question to you parents, past and present, how did you or would you explain something like this to a child?  How do you tell them that monsters do exist?

Comment

Ode to a Cardboard Box

Comment

Ode to a Cardboard Box

Like most parents I’ve noticed a distinct difference in what my children are exposed to versus what I was exposed to growing up.  In this new age of constant media bombardment, saturation of branding to our children, big box toy stores of goods made overseas, and digital doodads to keep one tuned out for his/her entire adolescence, I thought it fitting to start this series.

In an effort to kick things off, allow me to wax poetic on one of the most simple, accessible, and affordable of playthings… the cardboard box.

Ode to a Cardboard Box  by Kirk Jackson

You arrive at my door full of padding and fluff
Or were used in a move to carry odd stuff.
Maybe you delivered gifts of pure birthday cheer.
No matter. The point is, I’m glad that you’re here.

You start so bland… boxy and brown
Taking up space until I break you down,
But of course the opportunity arises one day
When the little ones have a request during play:

“Make us a castle, with a tall princess tower”
Or “a hideout for me with my superhero power”
“A big one with lots of windows and rooms!”
So to the garage I go where the dusty stack looms.

With box cutter in hand and a roll of good tape
You come back to life with a new improved shape.
With freshly cut edges and reinforced seams
You’ll take on the form of my rascals’ grand dreams.

This time you might be a fast race car or wagon
Or fortress with drawbridge to keep out a dragon,
Perhaps a puppet theater complete with backdrop
Or the station of a choo-choo train’s very last stop.

Cut out the top and two sides to the floor
We now have a convertible with two working doors,
A center hole in the bottom and one more in the top
We’ve now made a pirate ship by inserting a mop,

But no sooner does my son yell “Arrr” & “Ahoy!”
That he’ll want you transformed to Super Robot Boy.
You’ll be colored and painted and folded and bent
And then taken outside to be used as a tent

Sometimes you’re a quiet place for the kids to sit
To quietly contemplate their thoughts for a bit.
But whatever the shape, you still teeter and totter
Even as an outhouse for my potty-training daughter

Oh Box, over your life you’ll wear many new hats,
One day you’ll play this role, then another day that.
We’ll keep you around til they grow tired of you
Then off to recycling to become something new.

But in our photos all the memories live on
Even after your scrappy, paper body is gone.
So no thanks to more toys from online toy shops,
Just give us some time with a big cardboard box.

©2012-2018 Kirk Weston Jackson – www.GoingHomeStories.com

Comment