Hail Caesar!

I think it’s difficult for people in the 21st century to realize simple joys in life because we’re always looking for the bigger bangs we see that others are experiencing. A lot of this is because we are so wrapped up in being material bound. Materialism is all around us.

Every media outlet overwhelms us with reports of grandeur about stars and starlets having this or having that. Our neighbors are always one-upping us with newer more expensive cars, stories about exotic vacations in the Caribbean, or rants of their 3rd summer home in Florida. We witness similar boasts at work, at the gym, and everywhere we go. We want what others have and often miss what’s right in front of our eyes. Although these things may be important to the people whom attained them, I don’t need to make them exclusive in my heart as a means towards my immediate happiness.

The past years, I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort at recognizing the hundreds of simple things that are plainly super in my life and occur daily. These experiences are minor at first glance yet they are big deals depending upon how I really view them. I’ve noticed many remarkable situations the past days. I want to mention a few of those distinctive little things that do matter and make my life special now.

Three days ago, my oldest teenage son commented on his cousin’s Facebook page. My niece posted photos of her grandmother who left this world six years ago. He clicked the like button and posted comments about how much he loved my mother, and how he deeply missed her. My son talked about how he liked going over to visit grandma and wished she was still with us. In that moment, I felt pride and satisfaction in seeing his loving response in memory of his grandmother. I held on to his reply in my heart and let it build momentum, leading me to experience an ongoing joy for a life once lived and for a budding life in progress. Good memories last forever!

Two nights ago, I text both my sons and they responded back. “I love you too, Dad” my oldest son said. My youngest text said, “me 2 daf”. The response is awesome in its own right and he merely made a typo; the “f” is next to the “d” for “dad” on his key pad. For me, I really did laugh out loud. Reading “daf” instead of “dad” just hit me as seriously funny. I love it and giggled on and off the remaining hours of my evening. My son is the master of the text kingdom. It wouldn’t surprise me if he sends out 300 messages a day when I don’t send 30 per month. I know he was preoccupied playing video games, texting friends, or talking with a girl; or maybe he was busy doing his homework (a moment in silence for prayer). I realized love, joy, and humor, in an uncomplicated text message.

Last evening, my youngest telephoned me. He asked, “Dad, can me and Audrey come over for dinner tomorrow night?” I told him of course you guys can. Why would you even ask me that? “Can you make Caesar salad,” he said? In the early 90s, I was in northern Italy quite often as I lived in Rijeka, Croatia, only a tee-shot from the Italian border. I could see the city lights of Trieste, Italy, at night from my hillside house on the bay. However, a Caesar salad? I’ve never been to Rome! I told my boy that I would do recon to gather the necessary information on how to prepare a Caesar salad (see: any mom). He told me, “Dad, it has chicken in it!”

I smiled as we chatted and carried thoughts from our interaction to bed and they’re still with me this morning. Three months ago, my youngest wouldn’t eat broccoli and at the present time he loves it. Last week he didn’t eat salad and this week he’s craving Caesar to come party with us at dinnertime. A month ago he’s a teenager with a driving permit and today he’s a licensed driver (as a pedestrian, is my old catcher’s gear out in the shed?). Not long ago he was a popular single guy between girlfriends and today he’s a sophomore with a very pretty senior on his arm. My 16-year old boy is growing up. I find joy and happiness in his funny, unique ways.

This morning I am happy. There are so many tiny occurrences that happen in our lives daily and it helps me to be conscious of these minor events as they’re presented to me. They are big deals when I’m able to feel a magnitude of effortless joy if I open my mind and heart to receiving them. I’m evolving as are my two teenaged boys. “Hail Caesar!”

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  1. #1 by melissa on May 11, 2011 - 11:40 am

    you made me think of three things here…Italy… Hail Caesar(‘s salad) :P… and the best things in life… your simplicity struck me… i’m very glad you are present to the minutest details of your everyday events… and yes, they could be great sources of joy… keep it up brian 🙂

    • #2 by charlie nitric on May 11, 2011 - 11:59 am

      Hi Melissa –

      There are so many little things in life we take for granted. The sun rising, for example, is a nice thing. Thank you as always, for reading and commenting. 🙂

  2. #3 by Jessica Brant on May 11, 2011 - 2:35 pm

    NICE………. funny how fast they grow up and how we still see them as little ones..
    Looks like your heart is full of love for your child and they love, love their daddy…

    • #4 by charlie nitric on May 11, 2011 - 3:24 pm

      Thanks Jessica. Dad loves those boys a lot!! I still don’t know how to make Caesar salad. Maybe they have it at the supermarket deli?! Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  3. #5 by Deborah the Closet Monster on May 11, 2011 - 4:35 pm

    Li’l D had a fever yesterday–fortunately not pertaining to an ear infection this time!–so I had to stay home to take care of him. I was actually really excited about the opportunity, because he gets extra cuddly when he’s sick.

    I got Freshly Pressed and went berserk with that. I kept checking my phone every three minutes seeing what new mails I’d received, all the while feeling vaguely guilty: Isn’t this day supposed to be about my son?

    After I thought that, it was easier for me to set aside the phone and focus on what’s truly awesome–my little one!–instead of something that’s ultimately fleeting. I did spend my son’s entire nap commenting, but once he was awake, I made sure my phone checks were much, much more sporadic. It’s neat and all, but it really is fleeting. What isn’t fleeting? The love of my son. What is fleeting? Time, and each moment I have to enjoy him as he is right now. Every day he gets a little older and a little wiser, so that I’m really trying to be mindful of seeing who he is every day . . . and savoring it. (Even little things like the fact he now has things like puzzled and impish expressions are a delight!)

    Thanks for this delightful food for thought 🙂

  4. #6 by charlie nitric on May 11, 2011 - 6:39 pm

    Hi Deborah –

    I hope your son is feeling better. A little sweet moment can be the 20 minutes you just looked at him while he slept. Thinking about all the cool things he does when he’s feeling great and happy.

    I didn’t know your were Freshly Pressed until about 45- 1 hour after posting early yesterday morning. You were on my list to go visit on Monday evening but my computer was acting up and it was late. I only got to a few on my list and came to the others yesterday morning. A little later after posting to you, I started getting swamped by closet monsters in my inbox, lol. After about 30 or so I said “What’s going on? Is Deborah doing an online lingerie show live from her home? Darn her…I wasn’t invited!” 😛 That’s when I looked and saw you were FP. Good for you ^5. 🙂

  5. #7 by Penny on May 11, 2011 - 6:51 pm

    Loved the photos, and your story was very touching. Kids say the darnest things ! you gotta love’em they are always full of laughs and precious moments. Enjoy every moment, they grow up way too fast, and before you know it-they are off on their own.

    • #8 by charlie nitric on May 11, 2011 - 6:55 pm

      Hi Penny –

      My youngest was just here with his girlfriend for dinner. They ate and are down the street now visiting his grampa for a while. He’ll be back in a little while and wow…they do really grow up too fast. There’s one story I wrote that I believe you will really enjoy. It’s called, “A Mother Whispers Goodnight.” I have a feeling this story will touch you in a way that all mothers can relate too ;). I’m glad you like my blog post. Thank you for commenting. 🙂

  6. #9 by kendra on May 11, 2011 - 8:26 pm

    i LOVED THIS! The part where he texted “daf” was too funny & cute! Wow, it sounds like you are an amazing, loving father! That is so wonderful. 🙂

    • #10 by charlie nitric on May 11, 2011 - 8:35 pm

      Hi Kendra –

      Kendra Kendra Kendra, lol. I’m not an amazing father at all but one thing is for certain. I sure do love my boys a lot. Kendra, if you like this story I think you will enjoy my story called “A Mother Whispers Goodnight”. Check it out if you have some free time. Thank you for commenting. 🙂

  7. #11 by Jessica Mokrzycki on May 12, 2011 - 8:00 am

    Time is fleeting and often not appreciated as we hurry from one pursuit to the next, trying to keep up with its demands. But really, what does life demand of us? To stop, and take notice, of the small blessings that surround us…that’s the meaning, to be aware of what God has blessed us with, to treasure the simple blessings that inhabit our lives with abundance. When we do, our lives become full of meaning, of joy, of purpose.

    I loved this post! What a beautiful message. Thank you :)…and it did very much correspond with my current post…the irony! How great 🙂

    • #12 by charlie nitric on May 12, 2011 - 8:17 am

      Hi Jessica –

      I liked writing it also and I love the message as well. It is amazing your post and mine are like sibling posts. I just smiled as I read yours – Amazing! Time is a precious commodity and I so need to become better at maximizing it. Staying within each moment and not allowing myself to get far ahead in to the future….or dwelling far behind in the past….helps me to live in the moment. I’ve not perfected this; not even close. However, I think I’m getting better at it so that’s a good thing. 🙂

  8. #13 by pissykittyslitterbox.com on May 12, 2011 - 8:01 am

    I suppose I am ‘especially’ awed by a man who sees his children in this light, because my two, ex-husband’s never had much of a relationship with mine. Oh, the one had joint custody of our youngest and helped ‘raise’ him, but he wasn’t really there emotionally, if you know what I mean. The result is that today that child lives exclusively with me and wants little if anything to do with his father, and when they text–and yes, I mean just text–it becomes a full-out war of words. It’s really sad. Kudo’s to you for knowing how important it is to be the defining figure in their lives and taking this responsibility seriously. And don’t refuse that pat on your back, Charlie, because there are more men than you think who don’t want the responsibility, or refuse it even though they’re forced. I think that says a helluva lot about your character.

    • #14 by charlie nitric on May 12, 2011 - 8:23 am

      Hi Kitty –

      My youngest son was over for dinner last night with his girlfriend. Both of them read this post and Jonathan said, “Dad this is the best one of them all.” I laughed and said to him, “Yah, because you’re in the post in a good way!” He smiled and he knows how I tease him and he loves it. I wish I could recognize all the little joys life offers us daily. I am a work-in-progress in this respect. The first step is to know that little joys are there in front of all our eyes in our own lives if we search for them. We must identify and be grateful when we SEE them. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  9. #15 by dieneboo on May 18, 2011 - 9:50 am

    Hi Charlie, as you know I am very fond of travelling! This blog and the photos brought back great memories of my time in Rome. Why do they call it a Caesar salad anyway?

    • #16 by charlie nitric on May 18, 2011 - 11:47 am

      Hello Diene –

      I am fond of travel also and had the honor of visiting 20+ countries during my adventure days in the 1990s (before becoming a father). My favorite area on Earth is south eastern Europe, without question. I have no idea why they call it Caesar salad. Good question, lol. Thank you for reading me and for commenting. I hope you come back soon. 🙂

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