Never get those two flipped…obviously because people get weirded out when you start kissing hands.

So this is my hand shake.  Hi.

I’m sure that it was firm, strong and full of eye contact – but it most likely was slightly less than par for one of us.  That’s kind of the game right?

I always wonder if I’m enough of what people are looking for.  Too strong, not enough, or simply shaking the wrong hand.  I’m always gauging myself to see if I’m right for the moment, the conversation, for the person.  I guess that’s why I’m here.

Let me apologize, I’m not really here to speak to you.  I’m here to speak to me.  Yep, I’m that guy who talks to himself in public sometimes.  You see I’m here because the stuff rolling around in this brain-pan of mine needs somewhere to go.  So I’m shaking hands with my shadows on the wall.  I think a lot of us do that, well I hope, then I won’t be alone with only my voices, tee…hee.

Back to that hand-shake, my introduction to this internet world full of people.  I’m a guy, I suppose like most guys in certain ways – Sorry, I won’t talk about cars or the latest football team’s trades.  More like the Husband, Dad and Employee.  Married for almost 12 years, with 3 kids: 14, 10 & 7, working in the amazing world of insurance for most of my adult life.  Sounds exciting right?  Keep up with my ramblings in the future and you’ll see how much fun I have.

The Wife Unit is my greatest asset. When I look at myself through her eyes, I hope I see a gentle, kind, loving comedian full of hope and courage to face every challenge.  What I see when I look through my own eyes is usually something completely different. I’m an attention-depraved, lunatic who is running in too many directions at the same time. SQUIRREL.  Some days I am the romantic who missed the memo that today was not *that* day or who believes in being soft in my words when the Irish sneaks out of me and throws my sucker in the dirt.

My three greatest teachers have been my children: The Teen, The Warrior and Little Miss.  Each one provides ample test environments for trying new things.  The Teen constantly challenges me to work harder to understand him, but let’s face it – HE’S A FREAKING TEENAGER!  And as awesomely weird as he is like me, most days I just don’t get it.  The Warrior looks at the world around him and fights for what is right, his convictions about how closely we should be more like The Doctor or Ninjago competing with why isn’t everyone a superhero.  And then there’s Little Miss – Big brown eyes like her Mama, that no matter how much that Irish wants to come out I can only yell in whispers.  She has reminded me of gentleness and compassion and yet at the end of the day, SHE SCARES THE BEJEESUS OUT OF ME!  She’s so strong and all I can do is hope that one day I’m more like her.

And that’s where this is going – Shaking hands and kissing babies.

I believe strongly in being more than someone else expects me to be.  Better yet, being more than I expect I can be.  With that, I’m always meeting someone new – not in the physical sense.  There are these voices that I have to constantly banter with, like persons all to themselves.

I’d like to think that this “Internal Committe of My Mind” is full of wise, idealistic, open-minded individuals, all with the goal of making me a better human.  Most days the meetings turn into chaos, complete with tantrum-wielding, sucker-in-the-dirt, stodgy politicians vying for who is the best!  Not much different than some of the real-life, work meetings I’ve attended in the past.

So I “shake hands” – looking for someone to help me make sense of all this “stuff” we have in life.

And then I kiss the baby.  I try something new.  I look for words of wisdom from a book or remember a really good quote.  And like babies, I’ve been kissing so many words and thoughts over the years, all I feel like I’ve ended up with is a spit-stained shirt, with stinky diapers all around me, standing there exhausted with bags under my eyes.

But in the stillness of a moment – I realize those “babies” I’ve been “kissing” over the years are growing steadily into a new committe of voices that don’t worry about how much I’m not what I wanted to be.  But how much I can still become.

Nice to meet you – did you still want me to kiss a baby?