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Dad Daze: Closing the curtain on the Condrans with the final column

{span}Milo making a diving catch{/span}  (Ed Condran/The Spokesman-Review)
{span}Milo making a diving catch{/span} (Ed Condran/The Spokesman-Review)

Nothing lasts forever except “60 Minutes,” Keith Richards and a parent’s love for their children. The day after Father’s Day is exactly the second anniversary of “Dad Daze,” which coincides with the final column.

Writing Dad Daze has been one of the most enjoyable gigs of my 30-plus-year journalism career. I’ve learned so much about parenting, my children and the readers, who have hit me with their take during the Dad Daze run.

I want to thank those who have offered their support as I have attempted to amuse, entertain and inform. I can’t express how much I’ve appreciated your feedback.

I want to thank my children for allowing me to write about them in a manner that often crossed the personal line. After I crafted a column about my son Eddie’s issues with a prior girlfriend and how I found a therapist for him, my son laughed about how far I went out on a limb.

“You can write whatever you want about me now since you could never reveal more than you did when you wrote about my situation before I went to therapy,” Eddie said.

That column is probably my favorite, since I received 15 letters from readers who either sought help for their sons or suffered through a similar experience. A few letters crushed me, since I was informed that some young boys turned to drugs and either died or ran away from home, never to return.

There is nothing worse than losing a child. I can only imagine the heartbreak. It must be akin to losing a limb. You know that appendage should be there but it’s gone.

As far as Eddie goes, the therapy helped change the course of his life. Eddie, 20, has a lovely, stable girlfriend, Sarah, and is studying acting.

The point to writing the column about my daughter Jillian’s music publicity gig was to detail that a child can reach for the unlikely and make it happen. Jillian, 23, hoped to become a music publicist since she was a sophomore in high school, and she is ecstatic to not just handle tour press for Paul McCartney, Radiohead and Arcade Fire but to work with an amazing, supportive staff who is helping her grow not just as a publicist but as a young adult.

Soon after publication of my Dad Daze column that focused on how my daughter Jane, 12, hopes to become a television news journalist, I was shocked when I opened an email from television news journalist icon Linda Ellerbee, who offered Jane advice. Ellerbee also noted how she always loved her middle name, which is Jane and how she wished she went by Jane Ellerbee while making such an impact at NBC during the ‘80s.

That column begat a Dad Daze in which I interviewed Ellerbee, who I idolized during my college daze.

And there is Milo, who somehow scored the lion’s share of my Dad Daze copy. Yes, I joked about how Milo is my favorite child, but ever since Milo was a kid, he was always such a provocateur and possesses endless energy. Milo, 17, was a combination of Dennis the Menace and the character Zach Galifianikis played during “The Hangover” series.

However, that kid doesn’t exist anymore. “That’s good because I was a menace,” Milo said.

Milo has morphed into shocking maturity over the past few months. The kid who once grabbed a pig face during a camping trip cookout and ran around the campfire with the face as a mask is gone, but it’s fine. The memories are there and some of those experiences landed in Dad Daze, such as when Milo and I trekked to Alaska for a long weekend and his 50th state trip.

We enjoyed our time in the Great White North immensely and had a blast bonding over ice fishing, dog mushing and just marveling at the incomprehensible beauty of Alaska.

The final note is that the summer of Dad Daze is about baseball. Milo is showcasing for college baseball teams. This is my second experience since his brother experienced the same dog-and-pony show three years ago and earned a college baseball roster spot.

Their sports lives have required considerable time and money, but I’m truly blessed since I love baseball and I’ve been fortunate enough to have boys who enjoy the game as much as I do.

Milo has been swinging a bat since he was 2 years old. At that age, he wore me out on a beach vacation. “I want to hit that ball,” Milo said ad nauseum. I’ve had no choice but to keep pitching to him.

I look back at photos of Milo running the bases at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park shortly after he could walk, gazing up at the sky as if he had hit a homer as a toddler in the Phillies’ home. Milo has belted his share of dingers and continues to play hard.

The biggest impact during his baseball life was meeting Mike Thompson, Mike Trout’s former head club coach, who molded the future Hall of Famer when he was 15 to 17 years old. Thompson worked with Milo for years after he and I met once I finished a Maxim feature on Trout.

The other big baseball moment for Milo was conversing with Pete Rose in Atlantic City eight years ago, which became a Dad Daze column.

At the end of their 10-minute conversation, 9-year- old Milo asked Rose for something to take home. “Be aggressive, be very aggressive, never be satisfied,” Rose said as he clasped Milo’s right hand in his meaty paw while staring my son in the eye.

Milo channeled Rose during a recent game when he dashed home to take a throw to cut down what would have been the winning run. Milo made what was dubbed a “malicious” tag and was thrown out of the playoff game and suspended for a subsequent contest. It was a questionable call, according to Milo’s coach, but Milo’s team won, partly because of his aggression that was in full effect during the entire game.

Milo forgets to take out the trash and clean up his room but if you ask him what Rose said, he’ll note verbatim what baseball’s hit king advised.

I remember telling Milo that he could take Rose’s wisdom and apply it to academics. “No, Pete didn’t mean it that way,” Milo said.

It should be quite the summer. When I’m not writing, I’ll be at a baseball diamond watching as Milo performs and we try to figure out his future.

Thanks again for all of your support. Perhaps Dad Daze will rise again as a podcast. A child psychologist recently asked if I would consider such a project. Who knows when I’ll have the time, considering my job and parenting duties? Regardless, writing Dad Daze is a blast.

I wish I had an incredible ending for Dad Daze à la “Newhart,” in which I wake up in bed with Suzanne Pleshette and I realize this was all just a dream.

It ends the way it began, I’m parenting four children, who I hope become productive citizens and perhaps will one day make a positive impact on society.

What more could a father want 24 hours after Father’s Day?

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