Group Of Young Children Running Towards Camera In Park

A History of Love

It’s Valentines soon. The last time I wrote a post on this topic was quite a while ago. Still, it seems that I drift back to it every once and a while. I thought I would take a diversion and try a slightly exciting and vulnerable experiment.

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been a romantic. Most depictions of kids in movies showed them afraid of girls or thought they had “cooties.” For that remedy, I needed two circles and two dots, then I got my cootie shot. That sort of thing. Haha. It’s funny to think back to my life when I was a child, but on a holiday like this, I thought it was particularly appropriate.

My first crush was when I was very young. I was 6 years old and I was in the 1st grade. I didn’t waste time. I had my future to look to after all. Her name was Julie Mattic. I sat next to her in class. She lived fairly close to my house, in my neighborhood, and she was also on the same bus I was riding. I had a crush on her for what seemed like years. I have a very strong memory of Michael Danaher making fun of me because I chose to sit next to Julie in class. He said I liked Julie. This was true, but I was still embarrassed. I didn’t want everyone else knowing about it! Being a ginger isn’t easy when you get embarrassed because your face turns red fairly quickly. Genetics didn’t help me hide many emotions.

The next crush I remember having was in the 2nd grade to Caitlin Leisen. She was the kind of girl that all the guys wanted to get the attention of. I remember one day, we were passing our end-of-the-year yearbooks around so that your friends could sign them. This was a big deal. The more you got, the cooler you were. Caitlin’s turn was next. he wrote her name in my book and circled it with a heart. In the heart, in very small writing, as if she was trying to make sure no one saw what she wrote, she scribbled, “I like you.” I felt on top of the world. You have to remember, as a child, crushes and who likes who was a very common thing to be happening on the school yard. Gossip and talk ran the town. I felt very special.

I remember a game being played on the blacktop that was played from 1st grade to pretty much to the 4th grade. The rules: Chase the girls. That’s it. The girls would understand the game and play along. They would run and the boys would try to catch them. There would sometimes be a massive flock of boys following 3 girls. Sometimes there would only be 1 girl running, dodging, and escaping the horde. Caitlin was sometimes one of these girls. Every once and a while the girl would stop to catch her breath and the boys would just circle or stand there while she rested…because it wasn’t, “catch the girl” it was, “chase the girl.” Then without warning, she would race off and the boys would pursue her like birds.

I remember playing “chase” one or twice, but eventually stopped and just played kickball, basketball, or the occasional soccer game that was underway. I guess I never really understood the point of “chase” from an early age, haha.

Nothing really ended up happening with Caitlin, after all, I was only 7. What was the next possible step? haha. Then there was Taylor Brown. For pretty much 3rd grade till the 8th grade, I liked Taylor. In the 5th grade, we were in the same class and became really good friends. Taylor had a boyfriend at that time. His name was Kyle. Kyle became fairly jealous of how well I was getting along with Taylor. I found that pretty darn hilarious. Still, the reality was that I was friend zoned pretty hard. I thought about telling Taylor how I felt in the 6th or 7th grade, but I was petrified and let the moment slip past. Also as a red-haired child, my self-confidence was brought down more than a few pegs by those who thought it would be fun to point out a very obvious trait about myself…over and over again.

At this point, we start drifting away from young, careless, hilarious love, and into the teenage, awkward, avalanches of…awkwardness. Yeah. I think the snowball metaphor does justice to this stage of life.

I just think it is funny to think back on the very young, very average Eric, getting by, and crushing on girls at such a young age. I can’t help but laugh.

I ran into Caitlin again when I was a teenager. I was shadowing my mom for a school project, and my mom was working as a substitute teacher at my old elementary school. I don’t know why she was there, but I can assume it was for the same project at her own high school. I hadn’t seen Caitlin since Elementary school and it was weird. As soon as I saw her, butterflies jumped into my stomach and I was immediately self-conscious. I was 7 years old again. I’m not sure if she recognized me, but I remembered that encounter so vividly. I was immediately brought back to the second grade when she signed my yearbook and handed it back to me smiling. Funny.

Was it Love? No. Not even close. It was infatuation. It was a crush. It was a rush of feelings, for which I’ve never been in short supply of. It was an obsession cocktail of adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin, one that I would later learn the true pitfalls of. We like these feelings. We LOVE these feelings. When they say that it’s not far off from taking cocaine, there’s a reason. We LOVE the feelings associated with liking someone. They feel great!

So this St. Valentines Day, reflect on your days of youth and just thank God that you’ve grown oh-so-much since then, haha. Not without lessons and hard falls, but growth is something to celebrate. Happy Day today and show some love.


Talkin’ About Films

So a while ago, my friend Corbin and myself decided that we wanted to try an experiment. We would make a podcast. Whether that had anything to do with the fact that we had just finished listening to a hilarious podcast about the band U2 is beside the point.

It’s always be on my bucket list to do something in radio, whether that’s being on an actual radio show, which I got to do earlier last year, or start a show of my own. I figured that starting something up on my own would take more work than it was worth. I was kind of right. This is the genesis of our little experiment.

Corbin and I talked about doing a podcast in jest, like, “Wouldn’t it be great if…” As all things start out, we didn’t really take the idea seriously. Then one day, after finishing the U2 podcast, we decided that we wanted to create one badly enough. We decided on the topic of talking about our favorite films growing up as kids. Films that aren’t necessarily Oscar worthy, but in our hearts, get al the praise. Most of them were more cheese than laughs, but all were worth talking about. Continue reading “Talkin’ About Films”

Father’s Day: The Legacy We Hope For


Father’s day. It’s a ridiculous day every time I celebrate it…because it reminds me of how I should be living each of my days. It’s the age old critique of any holiday, “Why don’t we act this way all year round?” This especially comes up during Christmas. And yet, whenever Father’s day, or Mother’s Day rolls around, I feel the same way. I ask reflect on myself and say, “Why haven’t I been appreciating him/her every day? Why hasn’t that been a priority?”

I think it’s because we forget easily. I think that it becomes too hard, or too difficult, or perhaps it wouldn’t even be true. Let’s not forget those fathers that beat their kids, talk down to their wives, and are all around last on the “Father of the Year” podium. Those children wont be feeling the same amount of admiration that I have for my father. No. They will not.
201178_1940668633596_138621237_oI am blessed. Russ Peterson, married my mother, Sharon, and made me, so that I could grow up in a household that didn’t conform to the ‘Father’ my father saw when he was a child. My father made a choice, to be different. To be compassionate, yet firm. Honest, and maybe a little blunt, ha. To be loving, and to make sure he said it. To make sure, he said, “I love you.” I grew up knowing that. I grew up with a deeply Christ-centered man. A man with more layers than is seen, more emotions than are always expressed, and more “Father” than he was shown. He sacrificed for me and my sisters. So much sacrifice.I love my Father, because he points up and says, “That’s my example.” And I want to someday be able to do the same thing.
Happy Father’s Day today Dad. I love you so much, and it physically pains me to be away from you. I miss you so much. I hope you know that, and I hope you are surrounded today with everyone who loves you.

Old Home Videos: A Tribute to my Parents

Today I want to talk about old family videos. I’m talking about the kind of videos that make you embarrassed to watch after years of maturing. I’m not gonna lie, I was quite the weird child. From ages 0-3 I was the cuttest thing on the planet. Then it all went south as far as my cuteness goes, and my weirdness took full flight. I am not a shameful guy. I take pride that no one can blackmail me with anything because I will just laugh it off. And I have.

But…..ha. There is one home video that to this day is the most embarrassing home video to date involving my sister Nicole (who was 8 or 9 years old), my sister Robyn (4 or 5), and myself (6 or 7), and we are dancing in the living room. “Awwww cute.” No. I’m sorry no. Not even to the viewer, no. You probably wouldn’t stop laughing at how ridiculous we look….me in particular. I wont say which song, but I was dancing to it….and I was dancing very weird. Some day I will come to grips with this video and get past the awkward dance sequence that only one other soul outside my immediate family has seen…my brother in law Randy.

I was coming home from a long day at the Dominicks Grocery Store, where I worked when I was 15. I open the door to a roar of laughter from the living room. I throw my shoes and coat off to quick see what they are laughing about. As I turn the corner, my stomach drops. It’s the video. THE Video. Worst of all, there is Randy, who wasn’t even family yet…he was just Nicole’s friend at the time. I was horrified. Naturally, I sat on the couch and just let the humiliation wash over me, wave after wave of tasteless dancing and 7 year old stupidity. It lightened up when the video switched over to my birthday party at the FUnZOne. This thing was decked out with ball pits and cushion slides. McDonalds Playground on growth hormones. This video is Randy’s favorite to this day because it includes a scene of me getting out of the ball pit, sprinting around a corner, and smacking my head on a cushioned horizontal bar that lays me out flat on the ground. I then immediately get up and go into the tunnel like nothing ever happened. It was a scene straight out of America’s Funniest Home Videos.

And yet, the other day I was looking at some of those older home videos, and I had an interesting reaction. I felt closer to my family all of a sudden. For some reason, seeing my parents when they were younger brought perspective once again to how I see them as people now more than ever, rather than just parents. This shift started happening around 2006 when I would come back from college in Michigan to visit my parents and siblings. The parental roles began to dissolve and they began to take on more of a mentor role. They will always be my parents. Always. Russ will always be my Father, and Sharon will always be my Mother. And still, the relationship began to reform, as it should when a child becomes that age.

Hear me out. This is my point:

Over time, you begin to forget that your parents were once 18, 20, 35. That they too were once young and had fun. Watching videos of my parents on the beach, dancing with my newly born, older sister Nicole, was an emotional experience. The look of happiness in my parent’s eyes. Their first child, together. What happiness was in store for them. They were so young. Fast forward to a video of Robyn, no more than a year old, laying belly down on the living room floor playing with her toys. Nicole and I running around the house because our Dad was chasing us with the camera. Laughter fills the hallways. Love fills the house.

It’s a hard thing to explain to a reader the connection I’m talking about. Seeing those old videos connected me to a time removed from now. A timeless place, an eternal place. The feeling I felt was…Love. And the only thing I could think in that moment was this: This is a Love that I want for my wife someday, for my kids, for my family. I am so thankful for my parents and how they raised Nicole, Robyn and I. I am in their debt for the blanket of Love that they wrapped our home in day in and day out. Your example is what Nicole carries into her marriage, what Robyn carries into hers, and what I will eventually carry into mine. This is a tribute to home videos, haha, and most importantly to Parents everywhere who stick it out for their children’s sake. For their future’s sake…so that one day….their children’s lives will become a blessing for their devotion to Love. Thanks Mom & Thanks Dad.