Brian lives with his wife Julie and Meghan (9), Brendan (7) and Caelan (5) in Lorton, Virginia. In his “other job,” Brian is a senior vice president at Powell Tate, helping companies communicate effectively during crises, litigation and other sensitive situations (http://www.powelltate.com/). He’s been with the firm for twelve years. Previously, Brian practiced law and worked on Capitol Hill.
Dear Meghan, Brendan and Caelan:
You have all gotten old enough now to have started having really busy lives of your own. I have loved watching each of you find successes and passions, and I love the happy chaos that kicks up when it seems we’re all going in different directions at a million miles a minute.
But you know what I love even more? The times when we can put aside everything we’re always involved with – work, school, sports, scouts, and other activities – and just be together.
Some of my favorite memories are of long periods of family time – beach trips to Alabama in the spring and Florida in the summer; at home around Christmas and New Year’s; our trips to Great Wolf Lodge every February; our getaways to Disney every other year; and of course our Shrine Mont retreat every Father’s Day weekend.
Those times sharing adventures together are when I remember what I love most about each of you.
Meghan, I remember getting up with you so many times before the sun. Reading to you, outside or overlooking the water if possible. I love that you have grown into such a reader and a writer. I also love how confident and capable you are getting – able to take charge of your little brother and sister when you need to, and now being a safety patrol officer at school helping other kids; growing into a wonderful musician who sings, plays cello and piano beautifully; and also your love of – and budding stardom in – lacrosse and running. I admire how you stick up for others, even when that’s unpopular and sometimes makes things harder for you.
Brendan, when you came along, you liked to get up even earlier than Meghan! I remember playing trains all over the floor for hours at a time, building tracks, tearing them down, and rebuilding again. And all the games of rolling a ball back and forth, back and forth. When our train world grew too small for you, you explored new frontiers in the neighborhood and in video games. You’ve developed into a great baseball player. You’ve always been big for your age – but I love that most people see you as a big cuddly teddy bear, very comfortable being sweet and strong in equal measure. Love that you are the tough guy who plays chess and piano and sings in the church choir.
Caelan, by the time you joined us, we already had a lot going on. Maybe that’s why you’ve always had such star power – you were trying to make sure we noticed you! And what a little star you are. You patiently waited your turn on the sidelines many times, being a good sport and cheering on your siblings. Now that you are getting your chances, you are an absolute natural in the spotlight, equally poised whether it’s dancing, singing, art or sports. Your brashness takes some by surprise, because nobody expects it from such a little princess, but that’s your secret weapon, along with your natural charm. You’re also fearless, even in the face of things that would terrify most little girls.
I love who each of you is, and also who you are becoming. You reveal that in the daily back and forth of life, but never more so than in those special extended times when we’re together.
That’s when I remember that being your Dad is is the job of a lifetime.