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  • God, Humor, and Irony

    We are living proof that God has a sense of humor.

    Please understand, I don't want to offend anyone with that line. But it's true.  If irony left us with the turn of the century, as some say, then we were the poster family for it in the late 1990s.

    If irony did not exist, why else would we have three kids who are the same age for 16 days each year? Why would it happen within the first two years of our getting married? And why would all four of my children be born in the month of December?

    When people saw us struggling to manage a toddler, two baby carriers, and a then 6-year-old at the same time, they confirmed God's role in everything. Rarely did we have a conversation without one of these three phrases, all of which managed to invoke the supreme being who resides in life's penthouse suite:

    • Oh, my God.

    • God bless you.

    • Thank God it's not me.

    We've heard everything, from sophomoric to sympathetic. My favorite was about Ben and Emma: "Awww... They're twins. Are they identical?" Somehow I always managed to avoid asking back, "Have you changed a diaper recently?"

    But I digress.

    The point of this is that irony persists in our lives, as does proof that God's sense of humor remains pretty much intact. For example, this year on the week of Christ's birth, we will have one child in New York while our girls are in Orlando performing in a "Frosty Follies" revue at Disney World. And that will be just after the oldest finishes two plays in North Carolina.

    How is that not irony, or some higher order's way of having a small laugh at our parenting expense?

    Not that it's a bad thing. Far from it, in fact. We are very lucky that our children are healthy, talented, and smart, and that we are in the position to give them opportunities to have fun and be successful. And we're very fortunate to have a strong faith, especially given that it is so battle tested. 

    The next time God chooses to be a stand up comedian for a day, however, I wish he would look elsewhere.

  • A Song For You

    Remember how I said that irony is not dead? Let me prove it to you.

    Today, I should sing “Happy Birthday” to my oldest son, except that the best present I could give him is not singing at all.

    “Dad, please… I mean, really, I’m not being rude … but I’d rather hear the cats.”

    Yep, I have a voice that stands out in a crowd — for all the wrong reasons. My solution is to be the Milli Vanilli/Britney Spears/Janet Jackson of the “Happy Birthday” set. (Except that you wouldn’t want to see me dance, either.)

    • Irony No. 1: Rhythm, tone, and pitch — three things I want more than almost anything — are nowhere to be found. And three of my four children, plus Jill, have beautiful voices.
    • Irony No. 2: I love music. 
    • Irony No. 3: Over the past three years, both sons have been in productions of, yes, “A Christmas Carol.”

    In case you haven’t noticed, it’s December (although retailers would have you believe that the month started just before Halloween). It’s a month built for music, from carols to hymns to show tunes to “Happy Birthdays” and everything in between. And over the next 18 days, the height of the singing season, all four of my kids have birthdays.

    Now there is irony, topped only by the fact that for 16 days, from this Friday through Dec. 27, I will have three 12-year-olds.

    So as we kick off birthday month and continue through the holiday season, the best gift I can give to my children it to remain vocally silent. As the DJ says, this one goes out to Nicholas, Emma, Ben, and Katharine — by request.

    “Overture. Purple lights. This is it. The height of heights. And oh what heights we’ll hit… On with the show this is it.”