Triceratops

The fossil above is part of the bony frill of a triceratops, which has always been my favorite dinosaur. When I was a kid we would always argue over which dinosaur was the coolest and I always stuck with the mighty triceratops. It’s not as scary as a T-rex or as massive as a brachiosaurus or as cunning as a velociraptor, but it’s still my favorite.

I guess the reason I loved the triceratops is because of its ability to protect itself. It wasn’t fast, but it didn’t need to be. If something attacked it or its family, it would simply turn and face down the danger. And thanks to a bony frill and a trio of massive horns, it usually came out on top.

I’ve always kind of prided myself on being a bit like the old triceratops. I’m not terribly agile and I may not be the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, but when it comes to taking care of my family I’m stubborn and I’ll always be willing to stand my ground.

This past week I had hernia surgery. It was a minor procedure and things went fairly well, but I have to admit that it really shook me up. Laying there on the operating table I couldn’t help but worry about what my family would do if something happened to me. Luckily things went just fine and I’m slowly recuperating. I’m enjoying taking life a little slower – reading a good book, playing blocks with my son, and growing a little facial hair.

Tomorrow I’ll be back at work, providing for my family again and I am truly grateful. I’m grateful for good health and a wonderful family that’s willing to take care of me when I need it. And I’m grateful that this old dinosaur still has a few more years and a few more miles left in me.

Egg Shells

I just got an announcement about the birth of my best friend’s son.  He’s absolutely adorable and I wish I could be there to see him in person.  It made me think back to the births of my children.  I remember holding each one in my arms for the first time and thinking “Oh my goodness, it’s real.  I’m a dad!”

It an exciting and frightening feeling.  It’s amazing to just look at the tiny person and think of all the adventures they have ahead of them.  You want to protect them from the world, but you know that sooner or later they will have to face it and you just hope that you’ve prepared them enough.

My oldest daughter is now nine years old and sometimes I still think of her as my little baby.  She wants to be so independent and I have to fight the urge to coddle her.  No matter how old she gets I’ll know she’ll still be my little girl.

It’s a lot like the fossils I like to collect.  I have all kinds of fossils, but one of my favorites is a tiny brownish-red one.  It’s thin and curved and has some texture to it.  It’s not much to look at, but it’s actually a fossilized eggshell from an Oviraptor.

It’s incredible to think that some tiny dinosaur hatched from that fragile egg and despite the frantic and exciting scene that it must have been, that tiny fragment of eggshell wasn’t trampled.  Instead it was preserved and now I can sit and hold it in my hands.

The memories I have of the births of each of my children are the same way.  The days, weeks and months after their births were frantic and exhausting and yet certain moments are preserved forever.  I’ll forever treasure those precious moments.