Fatherhood: Reflections on the last days of summer with my son

Popcorn, beer, and fans in blue surrounded us. Summer sun was beating down; a cool wind comforted us; and the crowd roared when a homerun soared over the back wall.

His face glowed with hope and joy as we sat: My son and I perched in the Bronx. 

He knew that I didn’t like staying for a full game, but he asked me, “Dad, can we stay till the end?” 

Usually, I said no, giving a reason like we needed to get home to do something important. 

But a realization slapped me, hard. And it was this. The only summer I have with my son as a five-year-old is ending. 

“Make the most of it, fool,” I thought to myself. 

Making as many happy memories as I could with him became my aim, doing the things he wanted, even if they went against what I preferred. 

So we stayed. 

The innings were exciting. But witnessing the wonder and excitement in his eyes brought me the greatest joy. My son smiled, cheered, clapped, and laughed. And I couldn’t help but join him.

And I found myself not wanting to leave the game even after the last out. 

But we both left satisfied, hand-in-hand—father and son. 

Confessions of an introvert: unexpected events at a barbecue

Walking into a room full of people can be hard. A party isn’t just a party, especially if you’re an introvert like me. They are work.

But it’s summer in the city, and people want to barbecue. And I got invited to one in Brooklyn.

Usually, I would have stayed safely at home, giving an excuse about needing to take care of our newborn (children are always the perfect leave-me-alone-I’m-an-introvert card). But this day I felt like it would be good to put myself out there and connect.

When I arrived at the beautiful rooftop, a breeze was blowing, and the weather was unseasonably cool for an evening in August; but the crisp air was magical in the midst of the canvas of twinkling city lights surrounding us like the stars in the night. 

About fifteen guys broken into smaller groups of two to four were drinking beer, talking, and getting ready to devour meat. They were friendly, but not all were my friends. Not because they weren’t good guys, I just didn’t know them well enough yet. 

There were some I knew better than others and would even call them friends. But I didn’t expect them to treat me the way they did. They ignored me. 

At one point, one of them reached around me to throw something away but didn’t even bother to say hello. I had to remind myself that I had been invited, even though it felt so uninviting.

The night wasn’t a complete disaster. There were two good conversations with a couple of people I didn’t know well, and hearing their stories was a privilege. It felt as though I might have made two new friends. 

As the hours wore on, my bed’s call to me transformed from gentle wooing to shouting; resisting was too hard, so I left. 

And as I walked home, I reflected on the time, the interactions, and the lack of them. Gratitude filled me as I thought about the conversations had, but I couldn’t help thinking about the friends who seemingly ignored me. It was hard not to blame them. It was what they did to me. 

But then an unsettling thought occurred to me: I didn’t greet them either. I didn’t walk up to them and say hello. I wasn’t inviting; I wasn’t friendly. 

Furthermore, I said to myself, “Maybe they are introverts like me, where a party isn’t just a party but an inner battle. Maybe they were working through their own issues, and none of it had anything to do with me; and it was just me being self-absorbed and petty. Maybe. Probably.” 

A new voice filled my mind. It was a mentor’s. “Those who extend friendship have friends; those who don’t won’t,” he told me once when I was a college student. 

Two decades later, I’m still learning this lesson:

To have friends, you must be one.  

Have you ever considered a prenup?

On an episode of the Tim Ferriss Show, one of his guests, Ramit Sethi, talked about prenuptial agreements, or prenups, which are contracts signed before people get married that dictate rights to property and what happens after there is a divorce. They were both in favor of them.

It was interesting.

I don’t mean that in a snarky condescending, self-righteous way. I mean it was truly enlightening and helpful to consider.

As much as I am a huge fan of Tim Ferriss (and really enjoyed Sethi), on this subject, I disagree.

There is business in marriage. There are financials, income, taxes, losses, gains, spreadsheets, etc. Money plays a large part in the relationship and often is one of the main topics couples fight about. All true.

But marriage is not a business.

Continue reading “Have you ever considered a prenup?”

What the crosswalk lady said unsettled me

On our way home from school, a stream of neighborhood children cross at an intersection where a woman with a rich Latin-American accent greets every child by name as she helps them across the street every day. Dulce’s our crosswalk lady.

Continue reading “What the crosswalk lady said unsettled me”

The secret to dealing with people in business

At the core of every business isn’t money. It’s relationships.

Now, I don’t mean that you need to go on a business retreat and hold hands with your coworkers as you dance around a campfire singing Kumbaya. But we can be practicing ways of relating to others that build mutual respect, trust, and maybe even some love.

Continue reading “The secret to dealing with people in business”

The heart of business

At the heart of every business are relationships. In my industry of technology services, this is especially true.

We have to meet with the potential client, get to know them, ask them questions, wine and dine them, pay for the meal, all as we gaze in their eyes and make them feel loved. I call that the first date.

Continue reading “The heart of business”

Do this to become the person you want to be

We become like the people with whom we surround ourselves.

We are social creatures and can be influenced. We are more easily influenced than we think. I am.

Who do you want to be? Do you have dreams? Aspire to something greater?

You can achieve it.

Continue reading “Do this to become the person you want to be”