I posted this photo on Instagram and said almost nothing about it. It looks idyllic. But I was miserable when I took it.

My wife left for Manhattan to hang out with her friends, leaving me alone with our two daughters, aged five and one-and-a-half. I had two options for the night: (1) plant the kids in front of the TV until bedtime so I could do what I wanted to do [bad father] or (2) take them to a jazz concert at our local reservoir where they could play with my neighbors' kids until nightfall [good father]. I wanted (1). I chose (2).

That could have been the end of the story. Val is a great dad. The End. But that's not me. Me is doing the unselfish thing (good) while pouting about not getting to do the selfish thing (bad). 

We arrived at this beautiful reservoir hidden in the middle of Jersey City. Tucked behind tall rock walls, it's something people drive by everyday unaware it exists. You step through the gate and you might as well be deep in the countryside.

The kids were overjoyed to see their friends. Harper tossed giant, dangerous rocks into the reservoir while Lennon tried to steal food from one of the musicians who was too busy performing to stop her. Meanwhile, I was committed to my sour face, annoyed that I was being eaten alive by bugs.

Soon it was dark and we left and Harper wanted ice cream. I said no. As we were walking away she saw her friends getting ice cream and started crying. She wanted to know why she couldn't have ice cream. I had no idea. I support ice cream. I made a mistake. She wanted an answer. I said, I don't know. I'm sorry. And she said, What do you mean? You're you. You have to know. Who else is going to know? I don't understand. And I said, Either do I. I'm sorry. She kept screaming and she hit me and I told her that she wouldn't be able to go to her friend's barbecue the next day if she kept it up.

We got home and I fried up some popcorn in a pot on the stove. I told Harper to put on her pajamas while I put Lennon to bed. When I returned to the living room, Harper was sitting quietly on the couch. Her bedtime shirt was on backwards. The tag that should have been positioned at the back of her neck was sticking out under her chin like a crumpled white bowtie. She asked me, Am I being good? I said, Yes. I wanted to ask her: Am I? 
* * *

In the coming months, I'll be doing more of this type of thing in my newsletter. Posts that are more personal, that peel back the curtain and let you in. I'm taking a chance, hoping that if I invest more, you might become more invested. Have I ever told you how much I need you?
What am I missing out on? Write & tell me.
Next Show:
Sat Sept 17 | Hoboken, NJ | Tickets
Sun Oct 16 | Web Concert | Tickets
New Album Out Now
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"Emmich is always dead on when conveying his lyrical message within an excellent sounding framework….[He’s] once again proved that no matter how long he’s been doing this, he hasn’t run out of creative juice and won’t anytime soon….An excellent record." -- John Pfeiffer, The Aquarian

"Earnest love songs, fretful self-doubt & gently rocking melodies." -- Jim Testa,
Copyright © 2016 Val Emmich, All rights reserved.

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