Dalyn Montgomery lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two daughters. He paints, blogs, boxes, plays rugby, and home brews gourmet ginger ale. He has a degree in PR and was, till just recently, a manufacturer’s rep for a very large company. You can read his writing and see his artwork at dalynart.blogspot.com. You should hire him.


I heard a squawking outside my office door. When I went to check it out I found my one-year-old crawling up the stairs with her shoes on her hands. She was quite proud of herself.

It made me a little sad.

I’m a grown up now. Not just a parent approaching my thirtysomethings, but a real grown up. I don’t get excited by elephants at the zoo, I don’t like cartoons just because they are cartoons, and reality has killed my dreams.

My dreams aren’t dead in that I don’t have hope or aspirations, but rather, dead because hope and aspirations killed them. I watch my five-year-old play dress ups. She becomes a princess, a pirate, a fireman, and with each costume change she is happy. She is in the moment, happy to sport an eye patch and make me walk the plank. She has no thoughts of the logistical implications in commandeering a ship or concerns over the consequences of being apprehended for piracy. When she is a fireman she has no regrets of choice of schools or lack of current physical fitness, or a clue how much/little they get paid. She is thinking about rubber boots and sirens.

I like who I have become, but where has my sense of wonder and fantasy gone? When did it die and was it natural or homicide?

I could point at my kindergarten teacher who unknowingly crushed my patriotic optimism. She said in America you can grow up to be anything you want, unless you were me, who wanted to be an Indian.

Maybe it was reality. Running through the field behind my childhood home I knew I had blazing speed and was destined for NFL greatness. Then I ran next to other kids in school and decided I should be an astronaut in stead. Higher math and eye charts told me otherwise.

As time went on I achieved things, experienced others, and along the way the fairy dust was blown away. Places are less exotic once you’ve been there and heroes are less majestic once you’ve met them. Dreams are less appealing when you need a paycheck and risks are less exciting when you have a family.

What perplexes me is I don’t long for childhood. I play with the kids because I love them and enjoy their company, but they would be a lot better company if they could talk politics. I tried to get my older daughter into international policy studies but she said it was boring and asked if I knew where her magic wand was. So I watched Strawberry Shortcake with her and I found the songs lacking and the animation low quality. I tell my daughter I’m more Captain Hook than Peter Pan. She agrees since I have brown hair.

My wife, reading over my shoulder just now said, “Huh? That’s funny because you act twelve.”