I was in the midst of wearing three or four hats Monday morning—reporting on what I knew would become a big story in Darlington, keeping the dogs away from my son's breakfast and picking out clothes for my daughter—when she came up to me and posed a pertinent question for the day.
She asked: "Daddy, am I 4?"
"Yes," I said.
After a short pause, she fired back: "Like, right now?"
Good follow-up, I thought. After all, it was a brand new concept. I laughed out another "yes," as she started to grin, surrounded by the mess of all of her new toys.
Actually, now you're 4 years old, Chloe. At 3:42 p.m.
Four and growing up way too fast.
With that in mind, I won't be attending tonight's Havre de Grace City Council meeting like I have virtually every first and third Monday of the month since we launched Havre de Grace Patch in October 2010.
I hope you understand, readers.
Keep in mind, we'll have all the info for you as soon as possible. I just won't be live blogging from City Hall. And judging by the lack of wireless connection inside council chambers—live is a relative term anymore. But that's a story for another day entirely.
Today belongs to Chloe.
That's right: who said you can't have a work-life balance in this era of journalism?
I'm not sure what we'll be doing for her birthday tonight. After all, we've been celebrating for days. Thursday she went to Build-A-Bear in Towson Town Center with my mom and sister (see photo). Saturday morning, we presented her with her first "big girl bike" from Biller's Bikes. Then it continued with a party with friends and family Saturday at That Bouncy Place in Forest Hill. We celebrated a little more in the midst of Father's Day on Sunday.
Tonight will be about her once more—but, then again, when you have a daughter, what day isn't about them?
I'm spending time with my kids today—and not everyone can say that.
If I needed a more chilling reminder of that, I need to look no further than the sites I manage and the story I was reporting on while juggling the Dad role this morning.
I didn't know Benjamin Boniface. I've met his father, Council President Billy Boniface, a few times. I grew up spending hours at my grandmother's house on Harmony Church Road overlooking their family's beautiful Darlington farm.
But whether he was a young man in my own back yard or someone across the nation, the chilling story of his death early Monday put it all into perspective.
If there's any message this job teaches me, it's to cherish the moments you have with your kids.