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Since moving to Hawaii 31 months ago, I often begin a sentence in my mind with, “If somebody had told me three years ago …”

Yesterday was one of those days. We began it by going to our Buddhist temple community where I heard Ellen was a strong participant in Dharma School. (Parents don’t usually sit in on the Buddhists’ version of Sunday school.)

A short while and an outfit change later, but in the same location, Ben and I were the beaming parents of our little girl at a ceremony for Girl Scouts. As a second-year Daisy, Ellen has become a true veteran! I saw a marked difference from last year; thanks to her astonishingly great teacher in first grade, Ellen’s confidence has taken off.

pumpkinA few hours and, for Ellen, a costume change later, we headed out to the Children’s Hallowe’en Party at the Quaker Meetinghouse for donuts on a string, bobbing for apples, and pizza. As a Plain Quaker, this was my version of true joy. Ellen did not want to leave, but she has an eventful October 31 today. Yesterday was a prelude to the excitement, or maybe a symphony of its own.

To be perfectly honest, Ellen’s other father was the saint on the pre-eve of All Saints’ Day or what I used to know as Allerheiligen. He was with Ellen pretty much the whole time while I slipped in and out of my office and, even with the Quakers, had a business meeting.

It’s times like this when I wish I could dress up as a real father, but I tell myself that by working hard and being Ellen’s champion, I’m also doing my part for the family. Ellen looked great in her costume yesterday, Ben always looks good, and some day I’ll find the right parenthood outfit that even Ellen finds fun.

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