Just a Lot of Folk, Sittin' 'Round the Fire Warming

Filed under: Opinions

My immediate family: Rachel, Jared, Sara, Ezra, and me.I spent a fair bit of time parked on the freeway during rush hour over the last few days thinking about what I'm most thankful for. A lot of things came to mind -- music in its infinite variations and the emotions it expresses for and to me, digital photography and the doors it has opened for me in capturing my children's spirit, the internet and its precursors which have been the gateway to so many wonderful friendships and so much information and education -- but in the end, I kept coming back to one thing: people.

There are the folks I've met through various hobbies over the years -- Land Rover owners, vintage computer collectors, Atari enthusiasts -- who have always been welcoming and open. Friends I've made online going back a quarter of a century, many of whom helped shape the person I am today. I am very grateful for other parents I know, especially the very special and unique group from my son Jared's preschool, with whom we have formed a tight community -- the proverbial village to help raise each other's children. Without their guidance and assistance, I would be a far worse parent than I am.

My extended family is an important part of me. Call them unusual, or odd, or quirky, or even just plain weird, every last one of them is someone very, very special -- Daniel, Harry, Stan, Scotty, Sellam; I am so much the better, so much the richer for having them in my life. There is not a day that goes by that I don't wonder in amazement at my incredible luck at being my father's son. That I got to know him and spend so much of my life with him was a special gift and I will forever be thankful for it. My in-laws, too, are wonderful people and I am so glad that they are an integral part of my children's lives. The love they give the kids helps make them confident, secure people, happy knowing that they are so very loved.

Then there are my kids. Wise and sensitive Jared who thinks of others as much as himself. He is smart and his thirst for knowledge and learning amazes and inspires me. Bold and precocious Sara who climbs anything and everything as if that were perfectly normal for a Disney-esque princess. She is funny and silly and fearless and she makes my heart soar thinking of all she will do and accomplish in her life. And wee Ezra, who is not wee at all but simply huge, with his gentle personality and good humour. He is so eager to get on with his life, to get past the inability goes with being six months old. He is pure potential.

And last, but certainly not least, there is Rachel, my partner as I travel down this twisting, bumpy road of life. She is far more than a lover; she is truly a friend, a partner, a teammate -- she has my back, figuratively speaking. In the very real world of bills and runny noses and parent-teacher conferences, she is every bit my equal, the other half of a symbiotic relationship that simply works.

For all these people, and for being so utterly fortunate to know them and have them in my life, I could not possibly be more thankful.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.