Thursday, December 18, 2014

POSTED: Thursday, September 15, 2011, 6:34 PM

I cannot get my daughter to call me back.

I leave message on the ex’s house phone, but the kid is too busy or forgetful.

It actually hurts. But I also feel foolish expecting a 7-year-old to return phone calls. Phones are hard to speak on when you’re young, and a conversation with dad feels like too much of an obligation.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 14, 2011, 12:13 PM

Fatherhood cuts testosterone, according to a recent study. The more a parent cares for his kids, the lower the level of his manly hormones drops, apparently.

Fascinating. That means that the greater effort I put into being there for my daughter, the greater the chance will be that I’ll turn into Ken, Barbie’s anatomically incorrect companion.

I don’t feel particularly like a gelding. But who knows? Maybe it’s an imperceptible though inevitable loss. By the time you realize you’re Neutered Ned, it’s too late.

POSTED: Friday, September 9, 2011, 6:35 PM

I’m going to New York City on Sept. 11 to write about the city on the 10th anniversary of the attacks. I’ll speak to people in my hometown and record their thoughts on a complex and forever painful topic. I understand the assignment, and know what I'm supposed to do.

What I’m not sure about is how to explain the trip to the Little Girl.

She wasn’t born when the towers fell, and has no idea of the pain suffered by so many people, including the family of one of my childhood friends, who died among nearly 3,000 others.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 7, 2011, 5:09 PM

First day of second grade.

The Little Girl had her game face on, marching into school this morning with her mother, hugging me perfunctorily, then fast-walking to class.

I admired her style as she casually said hello to the new teacher, then told her how she likes her name pronounced.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 6, 2011, 12:25 PM

The first day of school is Wednesday in our South Jersey town and the Little Girl will be making her second-grade debut with her mom.

The custody schedule is such that I am not the official on-duty parent on day one. I will make a cameo appearance, though, showing up at the classroom to give my daughter a hug and to shake the teacher’s hand.

I’ve bought all the school supplies and a bunch of clothes to get things going. But I’d also wanted to make her breakfast, brush her hair, and drive her to the building – then pick her up at day’s end and make some kind of ceremonial fuss. My mom would always bake a cake on the first day of school. I can’t bake, so I thought we’d get ice cream.

POSTED: Wednesday, August 31, 2011, 5:31 PM

I have a potentially huge problem with child care, just as school is starting.

Through the kind of mix-up that comes with joint parenting, I thought something was taken care of that wasn't. As a result, my daughter may not be eligible to join the after-care program in her school.

She's officially on the waiting list. That leaves me in a bind: She finishes school at 2 p.m., and the earliest I can get to her after work is 5 p.m. on my custody days. Because my ex and I split the week, I have the Little Girl for either two or three school days each week, depending on the month. That's a lot of blown coverage.

POSTED: Monday, August 29, 2011, 12:03 PM

We weathered the storm, the Little Girl and I.

With popcorn, doughnuts, and Disney, we got through Irene and her witchy machinations.

It wasn’t always easy. My daughter was upset, her fears from the rattling windows manifesting themselves in disparate ways: She began crying that she’s embarrassed that she still rides a bike with training wheels; she said that she misses my mother, dead for four years.

POSTED: Friday, August 26, 2011, 1:04 PM

The other day, the Little Girl just came out with it:

“I wish I had a sister so bad.”

It hit me gut-deep. This wasn’t the first time she’d lamented the dearth of a sibling.

About this blog
A New York City native, Lubrano has written for newspapers since 1980. He's the author of a book, "Limbo: Blue-collar roots, white-collar dreams," and was a commentator for National Public Radio for 16 years. His work has appeared in various national magazines and anthologies. He lives with his daughter in South Jersey, and has worked for the Inquirer since 1995. Reach Alfred at alubrano@phillynews.com.

Alfred Lubrano Inquirer Columnist
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