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If you’re a parent like me – or even if you’re a parent who’s not like me – at some point you’ve probably asked yourself, “Why on earth did I ever have kids?” In my case, I blame my wife.

For years, I found that same question popping into my head – roughly every four minutes – as I would endure one battle after another with my rebellious younger daughter for household supremacy. I fondly recall that satisfying period when I was in charge and my word was law. But then she turned two.

Parenting is exhausting, with long stretches during which you wonder if your children will ever show you a glimmer of respect or affection – and by “long stretches” I mean from age two to whatever age they currently are. If you’re feeling anxious that perhaps your child doesn’t love you, despite all the hard work and sacrifices you’ve made, it’s understandable. But there is hope she’ll get through her awkward, narcissistic phase, and the day will come when she shows you her devotion. Admittedly, when I say “there is hope”, I mean in the way that there’s hope my Seattle Mariners may someday make it to the World Series, or how astronomers hope someday they may find intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.

The signs are obvious if you just know where to look. Here’s how I know my daughter loves me:

Over the years, I’ve sent my daughter hundreds of emails with subjects like “A great life lesson” or “Why drinking alcohol is dangerous to toddlers.” And I would never get a response. I started to wonder whether she was even receiving my communiqués. And now I know she was – because she told me she’s set up a special SPAM folder called “Emails from Dad.” How thoughtful.

When she was younger, she expected me to drop everything to attend to her far more important needs. She’d shout, “I NEED YOU TO HELP ME NOW!” But in recent years, she’s really matured. Now she will always add “PLEASE” to the end of her command.

When she was a teen, she struggled with saying the words “thank you” after I’d done something nice for her – like the time I refrained from killing her when she crashed my car just after obtaining her learner’s permit. But now, whenever I do something kind for her, she routinely says “thanks” – cutting me off as she’s walking out the door to hang with friends. At least I think she’s talking to me. It’s possible she’s talking to her best bud Meagan on her cell phone.

In the past, she used to do that eye rolling whenever I’d say something annoying like “good morning” or “I love you.” But she has really matured. Nowadays she takes that extra second to turn away from me BEFORE she rolls her eyes. That’s just plain courtesy, if you ask me.

There were periods when I sent my daughter a time-urgent text and she’d ignore it completely. I’ve seen glaciers melt in less time than it took to get a reply. On those rare occasions when she lowered herself to thumb a response – usually after my sixth request – it was typically just five letters: “dunno”. But these days, things are much better. Now she occasionally responds after only three requests. Once, when I wrote, “Do you plan to come home for Christmas?” she actually typed a complete sentence: “I don’t know.” If you ask me, the extra millisecond it took her is proof of her love.

For years, my daughter would never admit that her dad could possibly be right or that she could possibly be wrong. In her eyes, for example, I was totally lame to be concerned about a sleepover, sans parents, at Meagan’s, whose drug-dealer boyfriend was supplying beer kegs. “No worries, Dad!”, she reassured me. And she should know – after all, she was eleven.

These days she realizes I’m often right – almost 15% of the time by my latest estimate. Just last week, she acknowledged my wisdom by humbly texting me the following heartfelt phrase: “Whatever.”

I realize these may seem like small gestures on my daughter’s part. But underneath it all, I know they’re her way of saying, “Hey dad, you were an amazing father and I don’t know how to thank you for all your sacrifices. I love you more than words could possibly say.”

Okay, so technically she never actually says the words “I love you”. But I know, from the way she mumbles “uh, thanks” with no eye roll or exasperated sigh, that deep DEEP down, my daughter really loves me. And I’m going to cling to that firm belief the next time she texts me at 2:17 am, “Dad, come pick me up at Meagan’s house NOW – please.”

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base. - Click the image below to go to the View from the Bleachers website or click here: www.viewfromthebleachers.net

A wise man once said, If a man’s wealth be measured in grains of rice, he could hold all the riches of the world in his hands. Okay, so that man was an idiot. He was also my Uncle Larry, and he died penniless – unless you count the 850 boxes of Minute Rice found in his basement after his funeral................. Read the complete article at View from the Bleachers

Recently I ordered one of those cool robot vacuums called a Roomba. It’s pretty amazing. It will quietly clean an entire floor while only mildly terrorizing the cats. And when it’s all done, it returns to its charging station and goes to sleep.

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Dear person who never looks up while crossing the street, no matter how much traffic there is,

Hey, how’s it going? I hope I didn’t interrupt you from anything important. Please, by all means, go ahead and finish texting LOL to your friend Brad. Don’t forget the smiley face emoticon. Your text is far more important than anything I have to discuss with you. I’ll wait……… Done yet? Super.

letter to guy crossing street - man

Anyway, I just wanted to introduce myself. You see, I’m the guy whose car almost creamed you earlier today when you walked into traffic against the light and never once looked up. I doubt you remember me.

I can imagine it must have been hard to hear my horn blaring or my brakes screeching to avoid hitting you, what with that AC / DC song playing on your iPod at 175 decibels. I could hear them rocking away from inside my car with my windows up. I have to say, excellent choice in music, dude. Can’t go wrong with Highway to Hell – a classic.

You know, when I was young, I was taught that the center of the solar system was the sun. I now realize that my teacher lied to me – because clearly the solar system revolves around an eight-inch space between those earbuds of yours.

Okay, so technically I may have had the “legal” right of way over you, seeing as the light was green for me, and you had that annoying, flashing DON’T WALK sign that you probably missed since it didn’t flash on your cell phone. But hey, who has time to read street signs when they’re busy checking out their Facebook page, am I right?

Anyhoo, what I was trying to say is I apologize. I’m deeply sorry if my car’s front bumper photobombed the Selfie you were taking. Given that my windshield was merely four feet away from your ribcage when our paths crossed, I fear I may have ruined your Snapchat moment.

letter to guy crossing street - do not walk sign

I must confess, I envy you just a little. You looked so at peace – so completely unbothered by the gridlock you created for all those cars behind me trying in vain to make it through the intersection. I am in awe of your composure in the face of a long line of irate drivers who would have happily made you into a hood ornament.

A lesser person would have been intimidated at the thought of 4,000 pounds of steel bearing down on them at the speed of a hungry cheetah. But not you. You were so courageous, completely undaunted. Even the screams of the maddening crowd didn’t shake your certitude that the urban seas would part to make way for your triumphant, regal crossing. Way to make an entrance, King Cell Phone Dude.

And I simply must applaud your amazing ability to keep your eyes focused downward during your entire crossing. As I was trying in vain to get your attention, your eyes never once wandered from your cell phone screen during your entire 36-foot journey from curb to curb. I doubt a nuclear explosion could have diverted your concentration away from whatever YouTube roomba cat video you were locked in on.

Ya’ know, sometimes I find myself having to stop what I’m doing and pay attention to other people around me who insist that I observe basic courtesies of a modern society. You don’t suffer from that affliction.  Not one bit.  It must be nice not to have to worry about anything outside of a two-foot radius of your thumbs. What’s important to me is that you were able to saunter across the street at your own leisurely pace, without having to worry about anyone else on this planet. I am in awe of you.

I hope our paths cross again sometime. Perhaps we’ll meet on an airplane. I’ll be the guy right behind you in line waiting for fifteen minutes while you attempt to squeeze a suitcase the size of a refrigerator into the overhead compartment.

But if I know you – and I’m pretty sure I do – you won’t notice me then either. And that’s okay. Because no matter how long you make me wait for you to place your special order at the drive thru or ask the bank teller to convert your collection of 2,578 pennies into dollar bills, it’s okay. Take your time. Please don’t hurry on my account. All that matters to me – and the other 25 people in line behind you – is that you focus on the needs of Numero Uno, buddy. Act like we’re not even here. That should be easy for you to do.

On behalf of all the people in this world who are forced to wait on the outside of whatever impenetrable magic bubble you live in, I just want to say, thank you for reminding all of us that your time is more valuable than ours.

Warmest regards,

Tim Jones

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base - Click the image below to go to the View from the Bleachers website or click here: www.viewfromthebleachers.net

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