To My Son on His Last Arizona Diamondbacks Home Game

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Today a chapter in our lives comes to a close. We’re going to our last Arizona Diamondbacks home game.

My boy, I hardly have the heart to tell you this in person, and I’m not sure you’d quite understand, or even care. We knew when we agreed to move that this day would come. And now that it’s here, it’s weighing heavy on your sappy old father.

The Dbacks have been part of my life since ever there were Dbacks. And you—you’ve been going to games to since you were 4 months old. You were practically born into the Dbacks family!

As we take our seats today, I’ll be taking all this in. Remembering.

I’ll remember that your first game was Oct. 5, 2011, Game 4 of the NLDS versus the Brewers. Your mom carried you in the front pack, where you sat—or dangled?—for most of your early games.

I’ll remember that after your sister was born, your mom stayed home and we went to many games by ourselves. Just father and son.

I’ll remember that weekday start times were 6:40 p.m., dangerously close to bedtime to begin with, and so often you’d nod off in the car on the way there and I’d carry your increasingly heavy, sleeping self from the car to the stadium to the seats, sometimes trying to manipulate stroller and diaper bag and all other things in my free hand. Oh, how I struggled!

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Father-son sleepy selfie. #godbacks

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I’ll remember the times you woke up, finding your self inexplicably in a baseball stadium, and demanded we go home.

I’ll remember when you never wanted to leave.

I’ll remember that I’d keep you occupied with videos on my cellphone, coloring books and snacks from the trusty diaper bag. Paying attention to the action on the field was not even in the realm of possibility (for either of us!), but that was OK. It was quality time.

I’ll remember that you learned the art of opening a peanut and the joy of the occasional ball of cotton candy.

I’ll remember that I’d try to get pictures. It was risky because anytime I produced the phone from my pocket, you’d want it immediately and you’d get lost in videos or whatever else for the rest of the night.

I’ll remember that some nights you were totally game for the #fathersonselfie.

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I think I might have blinked. #fathersonselfie

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I’ll remember that you had such fun watching the Dbacks Legends—the “big heads”—race around the warning track and dance in the Sandlot kids play area for the seventh-inning stretch, right before we needed to leave to get you home to bed.

I’ll remember how tentative you were in the small-kids area, and how you flat-out refused to go in the rowdy big-kids area, even when you were big enough.

I’ll remember that every once in a while, we made it to the end of the game and were treated to fireworks. You were entranced.

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First fireworks.

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Perhaps most of all, I’ll remember that regardless of what time we left, it was mandatory to stop and check out the kinetic ball sculpture just outside the stadium. You watched it go on and on and on, when I was most eager to get going. Some days I rushed you more than others.

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Our new ritual after every @dbacks game.

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As long as I have anything to say about it, this will not be your last major league baseball game. I fully expect we can continue to share these experiences in whatever stadium we’re closest to. We might even catch the Dbacks when they’re in town. You might root for them then. You might not. Who knows. That’s not really my call.

Today, I’ll just enjoy spending this time with you, reflecting on all the memories we made in this stadium, watching this team, and looking forward to the next chapter.

Watch Your Mouth, Daddy

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When my wife and I were dating, she would come to watch me play slow-pitch softball. One time I was called out for leaving first base too early after a fly out, and I blew up. (THERE IS NO WAY I LEFT EARLY! THERE IS NO WAY! YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! No, really, I’m over it.) I used no foul language, mind you, but I wouldn’t let it go—some choice words for the ump as I walked to the dugout, a few more as I sat on the bench, fuming. It was so bad that the ump threatened to eject me.

After, my wife let me know how very embarrassed she was. I don’t blame her. It was embarrassing. I was embarrassing. “Is that how you’re going to act out there when we have kids?”

The answer was of course not. At least, I hope not. Besides, I have lots of time to work on how I react to things before we have kids.

Then there was last week.

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Girl or Boy for Baby No. 2? We’re Going to Have a …

Girl or Boy for Baby No. 2? We’re Going to Have a …

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The week that we found out we were expecting Baby Morgan No. 2, I took to the internets for a refresher course on when we might find out the gender. (As always, Google finished my sentence. Oh, Google, you know me so well.)

To our surprise, we found out at 12 weeks. We happened to have two ultrasounds that week—lots of extra tests for those of us experiencing “advanced maternal age” pregnancies. The first tech said she could tell us the gender with 50% confidence. I chuckled. I could have told you THAT without the million-dollar equipment. Two days later, the second tech came to the same conclusion, though she was bold enough to label the ultrasound.

Still, we were not convinced. We kept telling people, “We think we’re having a—”

“Why do you only think?” they’d reply. Of course, that made me think. See, my online search in week 5 told me that we probably wouldn’t find out the gender till around week 18, so to find out in week 12, a month and a half earlier, well, that was a bit of a surprise.

Or maybe we weren’t ready to accept the answer.

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The Moment I Saw What Kind of a Person My Young Son Might Become

The Moment I Saw What Kind of a Person My Young Son Might Become

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New parents wonder what their babies will grow up to be like. What type of big people these little people will become. Thankfully (or maybe not so much), you don’t have to look much further than the dinner table to piece together the genetic puzzle.

Will he have his dad’s serious and driven nature?
Will he be gregarious and altruistic like his mom?

Of course you want a perfect blend that includes all of the best and none of the worst less desirable traits. The reality is, your cute little kiddo’s personality will fall somewhere in between. And that’s a good thing.

You see glimpses all the time. In the playroom, he might furrow his brow as he works out a problem. (Serious.) Or in the sandbox, he might unselfishly share his shovel with a fellow digger. (Altruistic.)

I had the pleasure of seeing into my son’s future, just a little bit, at an Arizona Diamondbacks game of all places.

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Silence Is a Rare Thing Indeed When You Have a Newborn

I started this post, my first in almost three months, just after 10 a.m. on a Saturday. I got to sleep in a bit, sleep being a relative term. It’s the first time I’ve felt like writing even though I experienced one of the most memorable moments of my life: the birth of my first child. (That’s not entirely true—I *started* a half-dozen posts, but none came to fruition.)

This morning, the house is quiet and peaceful. Not clean, mind you; it looks like a baby registry blew up in our living room. Just peaceful. Friends and family have stopped dropping by quite so frequently. My parents, after having gotten their baby fix, left for home. We’re in between visits from my father-in-law and mother-in-law.

The kid finally settled down to sleep after another restless night and mom, wisely, grabbed a nap, too. But here I am, enjoying a quiet house, my mind suddenly coherent enough to put two sentences together.

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Why the Baby Registry Scares Me to Death

I didn’t know what to expect when my wife and I walked into Babies R Us last weekend. I didn’t expect it to scare the bejesus out of me, but that’s exactly what it did.

I’m familiar with the whole registry thing. I’m a big fan. Before our wedding, we loved taking the bar code scanner gun thing and zapping china and crystal and blenders maybe an item or two that we’d actually use on a daily basis, and let our adoring friends and family buy them for us.

So maybe I expected the same with the baby registry. My wife and I, with magical scanner gun in hand, twirling through the aisles and zapping everything in site. Stroller? Zap. Pirouette. BabyBjörn? Zap. Arabesque. Diapers? Zap-zap-zap. Plié.

There was zapping, but no dancing. Instead, a statuesque father-to-be gawking at a grand wall of Tommee Tippee baby bottles.

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Naming Rites: Deciding What to Call Our Kid

Picking a name for our boy is proving to be tough stuff.

Truth is, we were always more firm on the girl name, because it had significance in both of our families. From early on in our courtship, we had that much ironed out. (Was it an odd conversation to have while we were dating? Maybe. “You’re putting the cart before the horse,” my mom would say. But it was fun for us to think about.)

We had a boy name, too—still do—but I was never as solid about it. I figured there was no sense in laboring over a long list until we knew for sure what we were having.

That brings us to now, when we know what we’re having, and that business about laboring over lists.

I’ve looked at classic names and traditional names (there’s a difference?) and I’ve even looked up the 100 most popular boy names of 1880. (No. 1? John.)

I have to admit, it seems a little strange to be perusing names from a book or online list, like I’m trying to decide what to have brought in for lunch. Then again, how else are we going to know?

So far we’ve got a fuzzy set of criteria. Easy to spell. Easy to pronounce. Easy to understand. Nickname sounds as good with “Morgan” as the full name does. Won’t set up the kid for a lifetime of teasing. (I realize I could offend just about every boy and parent by going into great detail about which names we don’t like and why, so I’ll just leave it there.)

Eh, maybe I’m putting the cart before the horse. We’ve got four months to figure this out.

Do you have a good resource for baby name research? I’d love to hear about it.