Number one the day I was born.
Last dance my siblings and I shared with my brother before he died.
Reminds me of the circle of life, specifically the power of giving birth to each of my sons not long before experiencing the death of my grandmother.
Best love song ever. Pure poetry.
Best song ever. And I don't care if you hate that it's 22 minutes long.
Story of my life time and time again. Yes, I'm an incorrigible fan of all members of Genesis. (Until 1986.)
Sublime, gorgeous - I played it often around the time my father was dying... and someone else I love mentioned her love of this music just as I was writing about it, and just as we were getting to know each other. It felt transcendent.
I was born in South Amboy, New Jersey, in a little old run down hospital, to a couple of young kids named Barbara and Richie, in 1969. I was the first and they weren’t exactly planning on me, but once they knew I was on the way, it was just the beginning. Thirty descendants in total, and counting – but who’s counting? Really, it’s hard to keep up.
We didn’t stay in South Amboy long, but New Jersey was my home for the first twenty-two years of my life. Our neighborhood was quintessential seventies middle-class: eat and sleep in your split-level brown house with green and pink shag carpet everywhere, but plan to be elsewhere the rest of the time. Elsewhere included acres of deep woods, a lake with a castle (it was the local community theater, but somebody thought it was a great idea to design it like a castle), and friends’ backyards, all filled with a bunch of random kids who came together to alleviate boredom through tackle football, make-believe, and dirt.
The Jersey attitude has stayed with me through the years, but the edges have been softened by the genteel environs of the place I eventually called home in North Carolina. Never did exactly figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Was a writer for a few years, then a teacher, then a principal – I even ran the school I built. Good times. But then I went back to writing, and starting a few projects and businesses, and have since circled back round to death. Really, I’m just a serial entrepreneur. I get that spirit from my dad.
I think about death often, always – about how there has to be something beyond this life that's more real than this. I believe that the only two things that matter here are the ones that drive our consciousness from whatever is behind the veil: searching for truth, and loving each other. So my philosophy of life is simple: we are here to learn, and to love.
The whole family - about eight people ago
My first born
My first born meets his brother
Giants fans from the start
Giants' fans forever
My other brothers
And another brother, a niece, and Mom
And my sisters... still missing one, hard to get us all together
Wait, now we're all together... except for maybe five or so
And more family - miss two of them dearly
Poppy and me
When there were only seven of them...
A handful of nieces and nephews
Me and my boys, early aughts
Me and my boys, some years later
Me and my boys now
My baby with a baby
My baby with his godchild
Gramma and the kids - love them all
My lucky sweatshirt - that's real love there
Love these two
Love this guy
Love her, too
Unless it's raining, your car shouldn't have a roof
The world is a beautiful place...
...I've not seen enough of it...
...but maybe more than most...
...and I'm extremely grateful.
After college, I got married – too soon. And just five days after that, my brother died in a car accident. Way too soon. His death wound up being the defining force in my life, and although the death itself was the most painful loss I've ever endured, the way it’s shaped my own life has been pretty profound. When my first son was born four years later, I named him for his uncle. Seeing that child lock his eyes on mine for the first time was, without question, the most incredible moment of my life.
I can’t say the same for the moment I met my second child, because there was a lot of trauma and screaming and, at ten and a half pounds, he was too large for me to be in awe of anything but that fact. But the years since with both of them have been more awesome than any parent deserves, as they are kind, generous, thoughtful, patient, strong young men. They are both rabid Giants fans, and football is our thing. It was for me and my dad, and now it is for me and them. There is nothing we all love more, except each other.