The OBHF Podcast: Ep. 7 – Dads Who Inspire me: Meet Dave Cain Father of a Blended Family of 7

Dads Who Inspire Me: Meet Dave Cain

Well, having a family of seven kids might set YOU on edge every now and then!

Another segment in the dads who inspire me series on the pod today. As with many friendships, Dave and I met because our kids went to the same school. Unlike our family, with one kid, Dave lives at the other end of the spectrum – with seven kids! We often wonder what life must be like in his household, that takes some serious organizational skills.

In this episode you’ll find out about:

  • How to get a roomful of middle-school kids to be quiet
  • The challenging math of 7 kids and 2 adults
  • Knee to knee communication
  • What empty nesters look forward to the most

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  • OBHF Ep. 7 Transcript - Dads Who Inspire Me: Meet Dave Cain

    From the Dusty Urban Ham Shack studios of WB6QWD lit by a single Edison bulb hanging from a wire in the center, this is the Our Bird Has Flown podcast.

     

    [Music]

     

    Paul M Bowers: Hello and welcome to the Our Bird Has Flown podcast, I am your host Paul M Bowers. And today I have a special guest for you my friend (another in the dads who inspire me series) Dave Cain, say hello Dave.

    Dave Cain: Hello Dave. 

    Paul M Bowers: Never heard that one before but, I hear a chime. And that chime means that we need to talk about our sponsor; Green Fresh Florals. Our friend’s business, Carlos Franco is in Hillcrest; incredible florals, and floral decorations, and big arrangements, and small things, and all kinds of stuff. You go down to his shop there in Hillcrest and there are pots, and plants, and all kinds of things. It’s like a French Garden shop all right there in Hillcrest. I highly encourage you to have a look. He’s online at greenfreshflorals.com. You can order things for your sweetheart, order things for whatever you like, order things for yourself. It’s a fantastic shop that’s Carlos Franco at greenfreshflorals.com.

    So Dave, our guest today. 

    Dave Cain: I’m honored.

    Paul M Bowers: Well,your part of the series that I’m calling, “Dads Who Inspire Me”. And you have a very different story than mine, and I’m hoping that you can bring our listeners along for the story. 

    Dave Cain: Well first thank you. I got to tell you, you were always too cool. You were the cool dad in school. So when I would look at other dads I’d think there’s Paul Bowers. He’s cool, he’s wearing all black, and he’s got a good perspective. And I didn’t think we’d actually hang out and become friends. It’s kind of like Groucho Marx; I don’t want to be in any club that would have me as a member. So I’ll say thank you, I’m honored. But you have to know you’re a dad that I looked up to. And we’ve shared some conversations about awkward specifically boy child moments [laughter]. 

    Paul M Bowers: Yes,we have. 

    Dave Cain: So I will spare my poor son Charles any details. But there were some challenges that we had.

    Paul M Bowers: We’ve all had our challenges, and it’s comforting to have been there. I remember I had met you once or twice, and then at some point you were the chaperone on a field trip; an overnight field trip to I think to Catalina.  

    Dave Cain: Catalina was the sixth grade trip [laughter].

    Paul M Bowers: That’s right and Jesse came home and he said, well we were all kind of clowning around, we were supposed to be sleeping and then Mr. Cain said something like, “Do you hear this, it’s the sound of me becoming very angry.” [Laughter] and I thought that guy could be my friend. 

    Dave Cain: I don’t want to take away from the story as you heard it. I remember it a little differently, and to get there we kind of have to understand that my wife and I have a big blended family. So we have seven, is it seven, seven kids [laughter].

    Paul M Bowers: You’re supposed to know.

    Dave Cain: We have yeah seven kids, well in the house right now anyway is six; one off to college. But we had a tough transition because three of the kids from the previous marriage, Claudia’s marriage. They lost their dad, and they lost him right about the time we were going on that trip. So it was important for us to go, largely just you know we’re engaged, and we want to do things with our kids. But we had a kid who was emotionally having a rough time. So we went on that trip and I took care of the boys, and Claudia took care of the girls. And we were in; I guess it’s a hut, [laughter] with the boys.

    Paul M Bowers: What some hut of some sort? 

    Dave Cain: And it was late man and we’d been running around, and running kids around and everybody knew it was time to go to sleep. And there was a certain amount of time where it was cool. Let’s say, I don’t want to overstate it, maybe twenty minutes where–

    Paul M Bowers: Well you could relate to them.

    Dave Cain: –you can go off on a riff, and you could do the fart noises you know it’s funny for a while but at some point. I’m like forty at the time, I got to get up at 06:00 and we had to go jump in the bay or something’s going to happen. And the guys were just going off and I went, “Hey,hey you guys shh,shh do you hear that.” No, no, “That’s the sound of me getting pissed off.” [Laughter] and you could cut the silence after that.

     Paul M Bowers: Well I, it earned big points for me. At that point I had been on pretty much every field trip. Oh to the museums, and to the tide pools, and everything. I’d done every one of those and then to Middle School and I thought, this overnight trip to Catalina I’m not going to be so good at it. Now there’s a beeping sound you might hear. And the funny thing about the beeping sound is this was Jesse’s first watch that I bought him. And there was an alarm set for noon and it goes off in this room every time, and I forgot about it, nevertheless. 

    Dave Cain: Was that like a gift that we’re to have now? Do you have to talk about fresh green florals?

     Paul M Bowers: Green Fresh Florals?

     Dave Cain: Green Flesh you got it [laughter]. 

     Paul M Bowers: No I don’t, that’s just another chime. No this is just a watch.

     Dave Cain: Can I add something there?

     Paul M Bowers: You may.

     Dave Cain: That watch, you pick up a watch and it has this this weight of memory and association between a father and a son. And I don’t know if that’s specific to men and their boys, or parents and their kids, or women to their daughters. But for me and my dad, we connected over stuff it was something that moved. And for us it was like a big fat bellied C130, like the smell of the airplane.

    Paul M Bowers: Indeed.

    Dave Cain: The way the fuel would stick to your hands, just everything about that airplane carries this weight of that father son relationship, a good relationship I think. 

    Paul M Bowers: Yeah and that’s why this watch is here. He has since upgraded watches twice. As of yesterday with his newfound earnings, from his new job, he went and bought himself an Apple watch. And he is all over this, and he’s not an Apple guy he says. Nevertheless, that watch has been sitting here and I refused to take the alarm off of it because every time it goes off in the middle of the day it reminds me yeah that little G-Shock. I bought him his first G-Shock.  

    Dave Cain: I know this is going to age me a little bit, but I had a Casio Calculator Watch when they first came out.  

    Paul M Bowers: Nice

    Dave Cain: And it was super awesome.

    Paul M Bowers: Did you have a pocket protector? 

    Dave Cain: I did not, but I will tell you that the iWatch is the Casio Calculator Watch of the early 2000s.

    Paul M Bowers: It is an Apple watch not an iWatch. 

    Dave Cain: What did I say?

    Paul M Bowers: You said iWatch. 

    Dave Cain: Are you getting paid for this?  

    Paul M Bowers: I’m not.

    Dave Cain: Then why are you correcting me? 

    Paul M Bowers: Just because–. 

    Dave Cain: Does it even matter everybody knows.

    Paul M Bowers: No, I just have to make sure because you know I’m a father– I have a fondness for technical gear. 

    Dave Cain: That’s fair.

    Paul M Bowers: And I can’t it just grates on me. However, we’re going to roll back a little bit. Let’s start talk about when you first started being a dad. And that’s not when you met your wife, that’s not when your first child is born; you first start being a dad when you’re a son. And whether we like it or not it sort of determines what we do as dads. Now tell us about your dad.

    Dave Cain: First my dad right now is a voice in my head, and I don’t mean that anything other than just a sort of way to access it. And someone asked me recently.

    Paul M Bowers: Is it a big deep voice, David?

     Dave Cain: No, it’s kind of cool, and it’s kind of a flight instructor voice. So in the back of my head when I’m getting ready to do something I hear a, “Little left rudder. A little more power.” you know. “That’s going to get you dead, if you do that you’ll die.” Like that kind of stuff, and it’s a healthy, it’s a nourishing kind of voice. So when we talk about what my relationship was with my dad. It was unique, from my sisters and brothers who had a completely absent Dad.

     As a little guy my Dad was an Air Force transport pilot. And he was a hint of the smell of leather and Aqua Velva on the way out the door. I saw more of a green flight suit back, than I saw the front of my dad for the first seven or eight years. And I got to tell you throughout my flying, because I flew professionally. I was kind of chasing that Dad, I was going for that feeling. At some point I came home as an Airline Pilot Dad, and I had a sad kid who pointed to a picture of me on the door. The last place he saw me, and he was in tears, and I was smiling getting into an airplane.

    So my relationship with my father has, I hear the word informed, the way I father. But really I’m just doing my best impression of the dad I got when he finally came home, when I was ten or twelve years old.

    Paul M Bowers: So the voice that you mentioned in your head, the way that you’ve described it, it doesn’t sound like a negative voice. A lot of people talk about how you’ll hear your parents’ negative talk all the time. It doesn’t sound like that for you it sounds like a coaching relationship and a very positive relationship.  

    Dave Cain: Absolutely and I think that I was given a lot of free rein you know when I first lived with my Dad full time, because my parents were divorced. It was as a full time cadet at a boarding Air Force school so I would get hints of my dad on the weekend. He would stop by for events, he’d see me in formation, I’d see him during flight lessons, and I’d go fly with him. And the first really tight bonding experience with my dad other than you know maybe touring the Southern California theme parks, was in a Piper Warrior. And I’m in the right seat, and we’re trying to get down before the thunderstorms roll on to the Florida afternoon coastline. So yeah it’s a positive coaching, and it was a good relationship. And I think I’m lucky, I don’t think every voice in every kid’s head is positive. 

    Paul M Bowers: Well and you talk about how your dad, essentially you’re describing a so called absent father; the father that you didn’t see very often. Mine was that way, my dad worked hard that was his thing. And that was, the value at the time was, not to be at home with your kids. It was to be providing for them, and for a lot of us of our generation.

    Dave Cain: Maybe a little older than you. 

    Paul M Bowers: It left us with this; you know people describe it in very romantic ways, an empty spot where my father was. Yeah not so dramatically, but the way that you described it, you don’t specify it as an absent father.

     Dave Cain: He came back at some point so, that’s why I say it was different for me. Because at about twelve, I got him, I got him full time for just me. I was the last kid; I had two older sisters and an older brother, who saw naught of him. 

     Paul M Bowers: Two older sisters?

    Dave Cain: And one older brother.

    Paul M Bowers: And an older brother? I got two older sisters and an older brother [laughter].

    Dave Cain: Nice.

    Paul M Bowers: So tell me a little bit now, fast forward. You go through; you have some sort of career. You go through the Military; Air force Army right?

    Dave Cain: I was in the Army, I was enlisted and then I was Tank Platoon Leader in the Army. I never deployed; I was never like a combat war hero kind of guy, but I did my time. 

    Paul M Bowers: So you went in the service, and sooner or later you started flying airplanes.  

    Dave Cain: My whole life I was flying airplanes so, there was never any other career option for me. I was to be an airline pilot. And I think that, that’s a great form of brainwashing for a kid. I wouldn’t really equate it to like a Tiger Woods kind of thing, but there was no option. I wasn’t going to do any– I could do whatever I wanted, after being an airline pilot. But first you had to do that so, I started flying officially at age fourteen, but by that time I had more stick time than most commercial pilots. 

    Paul M Bowers: And what did you fly? 

    Dave Cain: Well I started little airplanes officially in a Cessna 152. Ended up going up to like every other civilian student, a multi-engine, like that’s just those twin prop jobby. And then went off to the airlines and I started off in Brasilia which is 30 passenger turbo prop. And that was after some civil flying in a similar smaller airplane for corporate clients. 

    Paul M Bowers: And so you became an airline pilot now? My wife and I have a thing, she travels a lot more than I and I always explain to her. That when you board an aircraft, a commercial aircraft, and the pilot is standing outside of the cockpit, that the reason that they are there is to be able to accept tips for soft landings, additional service he’s giving. So when I’m talking to her and she’s far away I always tell her remember to tip, remember to tip the guy. and she has never tipped and I keep telling her that the reason that you’ve had so many safe landings is because there was somebody else on that flight who tipped the guy and sooner or later you’re gonna get one that you didn’t tip and nobody else did and I’m concerned for you. But see I’m just telling you that I have insider information about airline pilots and I understand how this stuff works.

    Dave Cain: Well I think of this as a Valujet pilot, you might be right. 

    Paul M Bowers: F… you Jet [laughter]. Are they still in business? 

    Dave Cain: I don’t know they’re coming and going so quickly. When I was a kid there was San Francisco International, and there was United Airlines, everything else didn’t really matter.  

    Paul M Bowers: I remember People’s Express where they actually walked up and down the aisle with a credit card imprinter. That’s how you got on and then you slap your credit card on them and that’s how you paid.

    Dave Cain: Sure I flew People’s Express from Melbourne Florida to New York to start school at West Point and sort of never looked back. 

    Paul M Bowers: So at some point you were a fly boy and you met somebody and you got married? 

    Dave Cain: I was a fly boy my whole life, and then I came to college at San Diego State. It was my second or third college, fourth maybe and I pulled Laura Cain’s name out of a hat. And it was Laura Heater at the time, and it was one of these dorm mate get to know your neighbors kind of thing.

     Paul M Bowers: Was it like a party like a dating party?

     Dave Cain: No it was like, get to know your floor mates Secret Santa thing.

     Paul M Bowers: Wow.

     Dave Cain: So I pulled her name out of the hat, and you know we had a twenty two year relationship after that, and great kids.

     Paul M Bowers: How many?

     Dave Cain: Our oldest Charlie, two kids; Charlie and Evie. Charlie is now just graduated, he’s going off to University of Oregon; he’s going to be a duck quack quack. And then Evie is thirteen, she’s just starting high school. 

     Paul M Bowers: Wow, and sooner or later that relationship as they say transition.

     Dave Cain: Well you know what’s funny is it didn’t survive my presence. So [laughter] I left the airline–. 

     Paul M Bowers: Your Dad had it right the first time, didn’t he?

     Dave Cain: I left the airline life which I loved, just from my own selfish perspective, it was the greatest job I will ever have. And it was just a perfect leather fit for me. Everything about it, the smell of the schedule, and the trouble of being tired, I loved it. But I was sure that it was the cause of the strife in our relationship, and as soon as I was home within a couple weeks it was clear that that was not the source. 

     Paul M Bowers: Oh dear.

     Dave Cain: That the actually, the presence made it worse so, and I don’t want to overstate it. It was very complex, you know I love Laura dearly; I always will. The kids are fantastic and I wouldn’t take anything back, but I was not meant to be there. 

     Paul M Bowers: All right so that relationship ended at some point, you obviously–.

     Dave Cain: People change, we’re now healthy co-parents.

     Paul M Bowers: Well that phase of it ended and then you got lucky, I don’t want to say got lucky. Let’s say you became fortunate, and you met someone else. 

     Dave Cain: No I got lucky, I got lucky [laughter]. So Claudia and I had been running sort of side by side as single parents for a while. And we had a logistical relationship where we would hand off kids, and she was helping me cover kids. And the kids had a relationship because Charlie and Sophia then in preschool were classmates. so that was how the relationship formed and at some point when we were running side by side we kind of looked at each other and went, “Hey how you doing.” 

     Paul M Bowers: Well I could see why you would look at her that way. Something must have happened with her.

     Dave Cain: I used to be much more svelte [laughter].

     Paul M Bowers: Didn’t we all. 

     Dave Cain: So we started a relationship that continues this day, and it’s beautiful and healthy and we have a lot of kids. So she had three kids prior, and I mentioned earlier that her husband passed away. They had divorced prior to that, and we dealt with the passage of the husband or the ex-husband some time later. But well they had three kids, great kids. The middle child Sophia was a classmate of Charlie’s. She had an older daughter Nadia who is now in her second year in college just finished her second year of college. And the youngest Sam who’s now a freshman in high school, and then we got lucky again and Claudia got pregnant.

     Paul M Bowers: Wow you are getting lucky; you’re a lucky man [laughter]. You just stay over there okay.

     Dave Cain: Claudia likes to say that she’s so fertile that if she walks by the Nature channel [laughter] she’ll get pregnant. And so we got lucky another time. So now we’ve got a big blended family of seven kids; she had three, I had two, we have two together. And they are just as expensive as you’ve heard. 

     Paul M Bowers: Alright well I hear the chime so; we’re going to get into that. We’re going to pick that up in a minute. But I need to talk about our one of our sponsors here at Our Bird Has Flown. And that’s the National Conflict Resolution Center. You’ve heard me talk about National Conflict Resolution Center before, terrific organization. My wife Indra Gardiner Bowers is on the Board, and has been for over a dozen years. I do a ton of volunteer work and video shoots for them.

     This is an organization that promotes civility on an international level. They have a Mediation Task Force, I don’t know about all of that, but they have a lot of Mediators for divorced mediation, or business resolution. They’re very active in schools for disruption of the pipeline to prison. NCRC is a great organization and I encourage you to check them out at ncrconline.com. So back with Dave Cain, so now you’ve got yours, mine and ours, seven kids. Tell me what it’s like? 

     Dave Cain: Did the microphone pick up that deep breath [laughter]. 

     Paul M Bowers: It probably did because these are incredible microphones within the WB6QWD Urban Ham Shack.

     Dave Cain: It’s a lot, it’s an awful lot of interaction, it’s an awful lot of individual relationships. And if you pull one kid out of the mix, say a kid goes off to college. You’re not just dealing with that one kid leaving. You’re also losing the relationship, the relationship dynamics of that kid with every other kid and the parents in the house. So that in some ways it’s a relief, but if you multiply the nine people we have in the house, times the nine different people or eight different people they have relationships with, I’m sure somebody who knows math would come up with a big number of relationships that sort of have to be managed. 

     Paul M Bowers: I think they’re permutations and commutations or something like that. 

     Dave Cain: Something like that, but it’s just a lot of activity. And I joke that I can’t wait to get to work on Monday so I can finally get some rest. But I can’t wait to get to work on Monday where I can finally get some rest, because the rest of the time is so full of scheduling, and conflict, and celebration. And it’s just a lot of life so; I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And saying there’s too many kids is like saying there’s too many flowers. Don’t forget our sponsor at.

     Paul M Bowers: greenfreshflorals.com.      

     Dave Cain: Saying there’s too many kids is like saying there’s too many flowers. A good friend of mine who now lives on some island in the Caribbean with a whole bunch of multicolored kids mentioned that at one point. And I just I absolutely agree with it.

     Paul M Bowers: Well you have a small house as well; you have a small house and a large number of kids.

     Dave Cain: I guess it’s a small house, I think by my parents standards it really isn’t. I think it’s a, I think we’re really fortunate. 

     Paul M Bowers: For a family of nine?

     Dave Cain: I know I get it, I don’t mean to minimize it. I mean we’re certainly not living in a palatial estate, we don’t all have our own rooms, and no one does. And we have two bathrooms, and we do our best to keep all, the summer at least, all seven kids in the [crosstalk].

     Paul M Bowers: So you have to share with Claudia?

     Dave Cain: I do.

     Paul M Bowers: And there are worse [laughter].

     Dave Cain: But it’s just a lot, and there’s just, you handle it as it comes. We try to plan as far out ahead as we can, but sometimes it’s just getting through the day.

     Paul M Bowers: So they’re getting to an age now where you’re starting to send them off. You have one that’s two years out, you have another one that– another two that are off this year. Tell me a little bit about that. I don’t know anything about it because we haven’t done it yet, our bird has not yet flown. You’ve got two– you’ve got one bird already gone and two about to go. You mentioned how it not only affects the bird that’s flying, but the other birds that remain behind in the nest. Tell me a little bit more about how that changes the dynamic?

     Dave Cain: Well our oldest left and she had a very close relationship with our oldest child together. So our now nine years old had a very close relationship with our now twenty years old. And we were worried about that absence and sort of actively managed it. And I’m not shy to tell you that we have a family counselor that we have had on payroll since the beginning of this thing. 

     Paul M Bowers: I hope you’re getting a discount.

     Dave Cain: Oh my, and the maybe one kid going in one week with concerns about a boy or girl at school, then maybe Claudia and I because we’re worried about money or whatever. But it’s good to have that sort of external voice. So we help manage that departure early on with conversations that included the now nine-year-old and the then twenty-year-old. I don’t want to simplify it or make a joke of it but communication is usually the problem, and it’s almost always the solution. 

     Paul M Bowers: Wait up whoa, whoa, whoa, say that again? 

     Dave Cain: Well I’ve got to quote the Navy captain who told me that. 

     Paul M Bowers: Okay go ahead, this is juicy, this is why you listen to the Our Bird Has Flown podcast. 

     Dave Cain: So Barren Asher who’s a, I want to say war hero but I don’t know that for sure. I certainly know he was an established Navy pilot, and he’s a manager of great repute in the aerospace industry. And he would apply at work and he’d say, “Well as we need to get together communication is 90% of the problem but it’s 100% of the solution.” And I soften it a little bit, because I’m a civilian now [laughter].

     Paul M Bowers: Yes, you are. 

     Dave Cain: But I do believe that’s–.

     Paul M Bowers: No epaulets, I don’t see any epaulets [laughter].

     Dave Cain: But I’d rather we over communicate as a family, than under communicate. But I know that can be annoying, and I know they want to tell me to shut up sometimes so I’m trying to be sensitive to that.

     Paul M Bowers: I think that that’s probably the better side, if you’re going to err, that would probably be the one to go for.

     Dave Cain: Well as a father I never err, but if I were to that would be the side on which I do.

     Paul M Bowers: Tell me a little bit about the parent scenario. In our family it’s pretty well defined, I’m in charge at home, I’m in charge– I’m the lead, so-called lead parent, and I am the second earner at best a distant second [laughter]. But there’s a division of labor here that has been working for us. But yours sounds like a very different home, and tell me a little bit more about that?

     Dave Cain: Well, first it’s necessarily malleable, and it has to be. Because we have so many kids and so many places, I don’t think that one parent committed to it 100% of the time could do it. I think it takes both of us at whatever percentage is necessary for the given time. We’ve been lucky where I was able to not be fully employed for it’s almost a year and a half. I did some pro bono work and I took the occasional client.

     Paul M Bowers: You’ve kept busy.

     Dave Cain: But for the most part, I was able to manage the kids for that period. My wife and I both did law school late in life, both after our divorces, and I went first. And for that four, at least five years for the Bar Exam Claudia was the primary parent; there was no question she was the primary parent. When Claudia went through law school there was a little conflict. Because I think she would have rather remained the primary parent, but it was physically impossible to do it with the schedule and logistical demands. So I think there was a little bit of conflict because we didn’t clearly define that. I tried, I tried to say all right I’m in charge now, I’ve got this. And that never goes over well. 

     Paul M Bowers: I know her [laughter].

     Dave Cain: At the end of the first week of law school for Claudia, when I was now the primary parent Charlie then I think sixteen, opened up the refrigerator door and he went, “Ah this is going to be way worse.” Because I think there was a turnip in there and like maybe half an old glass of juice.

     Paul M Bowers: Left over hamburger [laughter].

     Dave Cain: It was pretty bad news. And I’m fortunate, maybe not my waistline, but I generally am fortunate that Claudia would love to just spend all day in the kitchen and cook a week’s worth of food. That’s kind of a little hell to me; I don’t want to do that at all. There’s no part of that that appeals to me, but she derives pleasure from that. So even when she’s fully engaged, her way to decompress is to cook for us, which is I mean who’s that lucky?

     Paul M Bowers: My wife.

     Dave Cain: Well there you go. 

     Paul M Bowers: Now would you say that your parenting styles are similar or are they different? And is the– if there is difference, because there is always a little bit of difference, has there been friction based on different styles?

     Dave Cain: Absolutely I think her entire history is so different than my entire history that we couldn’t possibly have come up with the same style out of that. I think that over the years, and it’s been eleven years, despite the fact that we were fully engaged; one for five years in law school, the other then for five years. Our styles have changed and they’ve become more similar because I think we understand why the other uses the specific style or has the specific style. And there has been friction because some of the things that I observe I never experienced as a child, and I’m absolutely sure that she never experienced the commune style, chairs session that I would force upon my kids when there was communication conflict.

    Paul M Bowers: Wait, wait, wait a chairs session? 

     Dave Cain: Oh my, oh chairs. So I spent fifth grade going to a Catholic school and living in a commune in Mill Valley [laughter]. So it was hard to piece my life together, but I remember chairs distinctly. When there was a conflict with someone in the House, let’s call them Elders, the House Elders who–. 

     Paul M Bowers: Presbyterians?

     Dave Cain: No, no, it was absolutely irreligious, there was nothing religious about it. I was living with kids named Sky and Free and Journey.

     Paul M Bowers: And I’m just Dave [laughter].

     Dave Cain: I’m the air force kid going to the Catholic school down the street right. But if there was a conflict, one of the adults would pull up two chairs. And the kids in conflict would have to sit, and it wasn’t just kids. it would apply to adults too, they would have to sit knee to knee and look at each other and resolve with the help of the Elder whatever the issue was. 

     Paul M Bowers: Knead a knee?

     Dave Cain: Knee to knee.

     Paul M Bowers: Oh knee to knee, I thought you were saying they would have to massage people’s knees, oh good. 

     Dave Cain: No no no no, it wasn’t.

     Paul M Bowers: It’s a commune I’ve never lived in a commune.

     Dave Cain: It wasn’t literally touchy feely.

     Paul M Bowers: Nice okay.

     Dave Cain: But it was absolutely touchy feely and I’ve subjected my kids to it a couple times. And I can tell how uncomfortable that has made Claudia. On the other hand I think that her style which is more direct with the children, I think that’s the right word.

     Paul M Bowers: Dictatorship.

     Dave Cain: Well I don’t want to be negative about it, but it’s a more–.

     Paul M Bowers: I think benevolent dictator works.

     Dave Cain: Maybe yeah, okay.

     Paul M Bowers: I clean it; in my house I clean it more than my wife. 

     Dave Cain: And having observed that I’ve found that I’m comfortable, I’m not going to say waterboarding a child, but certainly taking direct action when the kids were out of control. And not making an example of the child who was the first one to receive my wrath. But to certainly make it clear that they were all in the cross-hairs that day. And that you shouldn’t have been allowing that to happen, and you shouldn’t be watching, and why did this happen, and you you’re the older one here. So I don’t think I was comfortable with that early on. And I remember the first time Claudia, barked is not the right word, the first time Claudia–.

     Paul M Bowers: Asserted? 

     Dave Cain: Asserted a position with a child directly, I was sort of taken aback with that. Because I came from a sort of quiet Anglo-Saxon, we’re just going to stuff our feelings down until they burst kind of background until the commune. And that started my relationship with my Dad. 

     Paul M Bowers: Well that’s kind of interesting because your father being a military guy is used to issuing orders. My father was a commander in the Navy, and it was yes sir and no sir and yes ma’am and no ma’am. And there were direct orders being barked all the time.

     Dave Cain: That’s awesome now my older brothers and sisters may have experienced that. My dad when he came out became a hippie in the Bay Area in the ’70s, and I lived with him in a commune. So it was a totally different Dad than what you just described. So my memories of my dad in the military are him leaving. And when he came home there was conflict with mom and sure enough as soon as he got out of the Air Force they were divorced.

     Paul M Bowers: Well that’s sounding familiar. 

     Dave Cain: Right? 

     Paul M Bowers: Tell me a little bit more about what’s going to happen as these birds fly? I know that you know your youngest is eight.

     Dave Cain: Youngest is eight and [crosstalk]. You asked earlier but I think I effectively avoided that question. I can only really express it from how I observe the one who’s left right now. And she hasn’t quite left because she’s home for the summer, and she’s been home at the holidays. but I’m in my nest now, I’m not leaving to go fly; I’m in my nest. And I have in my nest, my wife she flies away in the morning but she comes back in the afternoon. We meet there, and we have these six little birds. And some of them are journeying out, but there’s one that we just don’t see. Now for the past let’s say six months, could be a year, we’ve had hints of her on the horizon where she appears to be flying unstably if that’s a word. 

     Paul M Bowers: Yeah.

     Dave Cain: Now we can’t fly out and get her.

     Paul M Bowers: Nope.

     Dave Cain: But she certainly is not straight and level on accelerated flight. And it appears maybe she’s been picking her feathers.

     Paul M Bowers: She’s still in the learning mode. 

     Dave Cain: Yeah right and she’s folding up her wings and trying to get air speed, accelerating toward the water. But she doesn’t seem to be pulling out in time, and that’s scary. So I don’t know that it’s any particular group’s prayer or creed. But if I were to have one it would be, “Oh Dear God let me let me figure out what I can help with, and what I can’t help with. And if there’s something I can’t help with, let me accept the fact that I can’t help with.” So there’s a lot of just, “She’s going to hit that tree, she’s going to hit that tree, she’s going to hit the water. Oh dear God don’t let her hit the water.”

     I can’t keep her from hitting the water, but if she does we might be able to get the oil out of her wings with some Doves. So I don’t want to take the analogy too far, but I can’t exert any more control into my daughter’s life than she asks for. And then accept, and so far she seems to be doing okay. Yes, she’s floundering here and there, but take a look at my GPA in college. 

     Paul M Bowers: Oh yeah, we’ve all been there and I guess, I mean that’s in our future. Certainly you know how to help, but how to get out of the way as well. And how to let life start teaching some of these things that life needs to teach that we cannot. That’s a part that I’m really not looking forward to. Definitely we all have something to learn, but let’s think about this. Now fast forward another ten years and all your birds have flown. What are you most looking forward to?

     Dave Cain: Walking around the house naked.

     Paul M Bowers: OH.

     Dave Cain: Walking around the house naked, I can’t wait to not pull something on to go grab something out of the fridge, or go down the hall and let the dog out. 

     Paul M Bowers: I saw a poll, a Facebook poll or something, and that’s the number one. 

     Dave Cain: Really?

     Paul M Bowers: It’s the number one reply.

     Dave Cain: Oh that’s so funny.

     Paul M Bowers: And I’m wondering, and dig deep with me here if you will. Is that expression just something of autonomy, that you finally have autonomy? Or is it just that you want to walk around naked?

     Dave Cain: I’ll tell you for me it’s more about establishing and plumbing the depths of the relationship with my wife, because we’ve been busy. Now we get together; we’ll sneak away to a hotel, or we’ll sneak out to dinner, every once in a while we get out with friends. But we get to come together at the end of the day with– at the end of all the craziness we come together. I imagine there’s going to be a coming together at the end of the kids’ time in the house. I don’t think it’s going to be incision like precision when they leave. I think there’s going to be [crosstalk].

     Paul M Bowers: Grey area a little back and forth.

     Dave Cain: Yeah and I think that we’ll get comfortable with that. And as difficult as the challenges were with that first child getting up through high school and getting off to college, I think that having been there it’s going to get easier right. The first time Charlie fell down, and I was worried that I’d broke him, and he’s never going to be the same. He was six or eight months old, he was just starting to move around, and he was rolling downstairs, and by the time we get to the last guy Mateo, he’s eight now. If he’s not actively bleeding like from a major artery we’re not even really stopping the car.

     So I think it’s going to be like that with the kids as they go off and up out. I think we’re going to get more comfortable with the lack of control and our changing role as a sort of safe place for them to come; when they get arrested, or hurt, or they break their hearts, or whatever is going to happen which we can’t protect them from.

     Paul M Bowers: Nor should we.

     Dave Cain: Nor should we, but really I think the not glib answer is, a little time with my wife where we can read or not read, or putting the stuff on the back deck, or plant flowers or something.

     Paul M Bowers: Low level decision making.

     Dave Cain: Yeah low level decision without the phone going off like; I got a flat tire, my boyfriend’s mean, you know I want to just talk to your mom for a minute. 

     Paul M Bowers: Yeah your wife for a minute. So what haven’t I asked you that I should have?

     Dave Cain: Well I don’t know if you haven’t, if you’ve missed anything. But I want to make it clear that I don’t think that the need for us to call each other and bounce concerns off is going to change as our kids get off and up out. And we’ve been doing it for a decade, is that right?

     Paul M Bowers: Yeah we’re pretty darn close to that. 

     Dave Cain: Or is it like, “You’re not going to believe what I found on her phone [laughter], oh God don’t look at her phone whatever you do.” 

     Paul M Bowers: Do you remember what it was like to be thirteen or fourteen years old now, do you remember?

     Dave Cain: Oh no no no, ah. And you know, my dad caught me masturbating.

     Paul M Bowers: Ugh.

     Dave Cain: When I was I don’t know fifteen or sixteen and it was awful, right? And I’m not saying that that happened, did not happen in our house. But that’s the kind of thing that I could call you and go, “Paul you’re not going to believe what I just saw.” And I have faith that I can do that three years from now when it’s, “I just got a call from the Counselor at UEVO and Charlie shaved his head and moved into the woods.” Like I feel like I can call you.

     Paul M Bowers: Absolutely and vice versa I mean we– it’s yes of course.

     Dave Cain: Absolutely.

     Paul M Bowers: So I think it’s time, I think I hear the music coming up, you hear music?

     Dave Cain: I don’t but this is all you know radio magic.

     Paul M Bowers: I think I hear music; it’s probably time to close the session from the WB6QWD Urban Dusty Ham Shack studio. I’d like to remind you that you can visit us on the web at www.ourbirdhasflown.com.

     Our podcast is remotely produced by Bryan Thomas at Yokai Audio in Kalamazoo Michigan. Our sponsors are; Green Fresh Florals at greenfreshflorals.com, the National Conflict Resolution Center at ncrconline.com

     Thanks for checking in, thanks for clicking, Dave thanks for being with us.

     Dave Cain: Thank you Paul you’re welcome.

     Paul M Bowers: Bye everybody. 

     [End of Music]