Parenting Blog

Braces, Fractures, Spurs, Wolves, Digital Photo Frames and Finding Pure Joy All Alone

We’ve managed to avoid major childhood injuries and medical procedures, and the accompanying debt-inducing healthcare bills, for the first 13.5 years of family life but the streak has ended with a momentous clattering.

Both of our daughters need braces. Oof.

And the right-handed teenager took a nasty spill whilst playing around on a tightly-rolled up king-sized mattress and fractured her dominate arm. We eventually unrolled our new Tomorrow mattress and made this neat time-lapse video, but not before one of her lumberjack log rolling tricks went awry.

She’s in a tightly-wrapped sling for at least that next three weeks.

We’ll be paying off the doctor bills and x-ray invoices for much longer. Double oof.

But there’s light shining into my life this morning, a couple of somethings running interference on head-in-hands thoughts of budgeting spreadsheets, credit card statements and bank account balances. This morning I am happy, and it has exactly nothing to do with my children or my life as a dad.

And that’s okay.

I’ve long believed that a parent needs to keep the flame of their pre-parenthood passions lit, to at least some extent. I’m of the strongly held opinion that it’s far better for a child to know and to see their dad(s)/mom(s) doing what they love and/or chasing down their wildest dreams than to witness their dad(s)/mom(s) as nothing more than parents doing parent-related things.

My life, post-parenthood, has been re-framed, in bold typeface, as a

dad of daughters

…and while I’m eternally grateful for all the color my two daughters have added to the canvas, the guy in the portrait inside the frame is still me, still the intense music lover, still the bloke who finds immense beauty and poetry in sport, still the man who’s very passions have helped him become a thoroughly excitable, somewhat interesting, pretty alright dad of daughters.

We were people before we had kids, each and every one of us, and it is not fair to us or our children if we forget that (unless you were really into meth before having kids — feel free to forget all about your old meth habit).

Our kids deserve the chance to see us fly, if only so that they might grow up to know that adulthood isn’t, or doesn’t have to be, all work and bills and dishes and laundry and arguments over all of that stuff.

*****

Tickets for the Tottenham Hotspur v. Stoke City match at Wembley in London England went on general sale at 7am today, and I’ve snagged a seat 16 rows from the pitch, along the touchline, near the outer rim of the center circle, and on the aisle. I’d say that I’m ‘stoked’ but I’m not really into puns.

Tonight, I will see one of my all-time favorite bands live in concert in Philly, after their 7-year hiatus officially ended this fall with a stellar new album. I’ll be thrashing around to Wolf Parade, singing every word, playing killer air keyboard and invisible bass guitar, then driving home late at night with a ringing in my ears and sweaty smile on my face for the duration.

Wolf Parade Brooklyn 2016

In between now and then, there’ll be a little more bounce in my step as I do the laundry, vacuum up cat hair, make all our beds, juggle bank accounts, schedule credit card payments, and cook my family dinner before heading out early enough to catch the opening act (always show up for the opener).

*****

The Mrs has been clamoring for a digital frame for many years but I’ve resisted because I’d fallen down into a consumer review pit and climbed out convinced that all of the frames were utter shit. Or the greatest thing that literally was ever invented. But mostly shit. Such are the nature of Amazon reviews.

Last week I was sent a WiFi enabled digital frame from PhotoSpring.

I’m really, really, really glad I didn’t buy one before now because this thing, this 10-inch 16GB WiFi Digital Photo Frame we now own is KILLER.

Myself, the Bear and the Mrs each have put the PhotoSpring app onto our phones and we now, each night, spend a few moments scrolling through our family’s Amazon Prime Photo library. With two taps we send photos over to the frame, which updates our ongoing slideshow in seconds with the added pics.

I’m young enough to know this is reasonably basic technology in 2017 terms but old enough to still be completely amazed every time a new photo pops up. It’s a nice middle to be in.

PhotoSpring WiFi Digital Photo Frame

Mouse in Alaska this summer, moments after seeing a family of wild mountain goats (her favorite animals).

We’ve got an entire wall of mismatched wooden and metal frames holding photographs exclusively from our family travels, hanging beneath the flags of all the countries we’ve visited together. It’s the showpiece of our recently repainted family room.

Extreme Teal Family Room Makeover

The PhotoSpring digital frame sits on a side table in that same room showcasing a different kind of photo. What we see is us in various moments of pure elation; at home, together, on the road, individually, doesn’t matter what or where or with whom. So much pure joy in so many permutations.

To this incredibly cool frame I’m sending over from my phone shots of Wolf Parade on stage in Brooklyn last year because while I’m not in the photo, I am immediately transported back to that soul-satisfying evening spent outdoors on a glorious summer night in my favorite city, alone yet surrounded by thousands.

Wolf Parade Brooklyn 2016

Wolf Parade Brooklyn 2016

Next is an image of me and some friends at a soccer match in Atlanta, 3 of over 70,000 fans in a brilliant billion dollar new stadium.

Dads4Kesem Atl Utd

Three of the Dads4Kesem crew after the 3-3 Atlanta United v. Orlando City match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Sept 2017.

Then it’s a short video of the girls laughing and doing tricks in slo-mo on the rolled-up mattress, the scene of the crime that started this story.

Our PhotoSpring digital frame is a moving picture show of happiness, light and passions; a crucial reminder that life is lived beautifully together as a family but that there are also perfect moments occurring while seeking pure joy alone or with friends, far away from our life as a dad or a mom.

And that’s so very much totally 100% a-okay.

“Sometimes they rock and roll
Sometimes they stay at home and it’s just fine
This heart’s on fire…

It’s getting better all the time
It’s getting better all the time
This heart’s on fire”

*PhotoSpring sent me their 16GB Wi-Fi digital frame for review consideration and I’ve included an Amazon affiliate link to it in this post. All opinions expressed above are honest and unbiased, as always. The frame has been tremendous so far and as I write above, it’s allowing me to showcase a different set of important memories. Additionally, the Tomorrow mattress I reference was also sent to us for free but thanks to me waiting on unrolling it and thanks to my girls playing on it before it was unrolled, it will wind up costing us a lot! D’oh!

PhotoSpring WiFi Digital Photo Frame

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