Questions for Your Dad, Part 1

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Mitch here!

So what we have here is a new mini blog series. I’m a big fan of series because:

  1. They’re essentially writing prompts, and help avoid writer’s block.
  2. About once a week, Kelly falls asleep on the couch before finishing the following day’s blog post, and it’s nice being able to publish something for her instead of having to wake her up.
  3. The topic I chose for today’s post is way too big to finish in one sitting.

This series is called “Questions for Your Dad,” and it’s inspired by this article.

I think there will be three or four posts within it.

On the day that Emma was born, I wrote her a letter introducing myself and describing who I was. I told her about her mom and about our house. Noodle was in there, too. (Noodle was a big part of my life back then.) I described Chicago and New York, her grandparents, her aunts and uncles, and her cousins.

This blog series comes out of my concern that a once-yearly letter isn’t nearly enough! I’m not the same guy I was on her birthday, and our story will wind and weave until she’s old enough to read this stuff.

Of course, Emma just started talking, and her questions are currently limited to her more primal needs:
  • Can I have a bottle of water, please?
  • Wait, why don’t you already have a bottle prepared?
  • How could you be so careless?
  • Oh! Sweet. Thanks for the ‘ba.

But one day, she’ll have deeper, more thought-provoking questions. I’d like to write something down regularly so that Emma knows who her dad was–it’s me, don’t worry–and how he fit into her little world back when she was little.

Again, I’d like to thank this site for the kickstart, and if you guys are up for it, leave any questions you’d like covered in the comments below.

Here goes nothing!

Questions for Your Dad, Part 1:

1. What are some of your earliest memories?

My earliest memories are of the playgrounds in Lincoln Park. I’m one of those people who moved back to his hometown, and I live less than a mile from the house in which I grew up. The neighborhood has changed quite a bit since the 80s, but I can still find stretches of of nostalgia when I go looking for them.

Once a week we eat at Athenian Room, a restaurant that hasn’t changed a bit since the day I was born. (My parents literally ate there before heading to the hospital to have me.) Around the corner is OZ Park, which my mom helped to build back in the day, and somehow, it hasn’t been changed since. Emma plays on the same rickety wooden playground equipment that gave me five stitches on my forehead many years ago!

A post shared by Kelly Larkin (@kellyinthecity) on

Kelly and I talk often about how Emma will remember her earliest years. Will she bring her family back to OZ Park and Athenian Room? Will Lincoln Park continue in its current trajectory and be replaced by more giant mansions, forcing us out? I guess only time will tell. ;)

2. What do you remember most about your dad?

My dad sets the fatherhood bar incredibly high. He never missed a baseball game or school concert. He never raised his voice or lost his temper. He could fix what was broken and build what needed to be built. (Click here for a tutorial on the kitchen table he built us.) And he did all this with three–admittedly challenging–sons.

My dad is the hardest working person I’ve ever met. In addition to upholding his responsibilities as a father, he is an incredibly successful businessman who has repeatedly built incredibly successful companies from the ground up. Oh, and he also runs an 800-acre farm in his spare time.

My earliest memories of my dad are of just how much fun he is to be around. A trip to the pool was great, but a trip to the pool WITH DAD is the greatest day of the year. Throwing the ball, playing tennis, watching the game… I just feel so lucky that he’s my dad.

3. Is there anything that you wish you had asked your parents but didn’t?

I’m lucky that my parents live close and I pepper them with parenting questions frequently. A few of my recent gems have been:

  • “How the hell did you do this with three kids?”
  • “When does the mayhem stop?”
  • and “Can you watch Emma for the day while I curl up in a ball?”

But seriously: my parents have taken on the role of supportive grandparents in stride. When a crisis arises–whether it’s a fever, bloody lip or existential breakdown–they are there to not only help Emma but to cool me out.

My mom operates “Camp Gammy” as a haven for her grandkids during those times when their parents “can’t even.” We literally dropped Emma off there this morning. (Thank you so much, Mom.) She takes her grandkids on scavenger hunts, has arts and crafts extravaganzas, and makes huge messes in the kitchen with them. This week, Camp Gammy will feature spring gardening and trips to the farm to help Grandpa plant the fields and Uncle Charlie raise his chickens.

I guess the real question I need to remind myself to ask them as often as possible is, “How did I get to be so lucky?”

Stay tuned for the next installment of “Questions for Your Dad.” And take a peek at the rest of the Q’s here!

Mitch. Out!