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The Beginning

You are here. 
We are happy. 
Our world is better. 

Amelia in delivery room

You have a beautiful mom. 
She will get older. 
Tell her how great she is. 
Even when I’m not there. 

She is always right 90% of the time. 
That’s a pretty, pretty good batting average. 
It’s not worth disagreeing over 10%. 
You will learn this the hard way. 
You have been warned. 

Now we get to learn to be parents.
I apologize in advance. 
We looked for a manual. 
When you discover lasting damage, consider writing one. 
That’s a good target market. 

Mom read an economics professor’s parenting data analysis. 
That’s what she does. 
Data is also right 90% of the time. 
But easier to disagree with.

We agree to give you the best environment we can.
With your genes, we can only tell you what might be easy or hard.
You are Irish and Lithuanian. 
I know more about the Irish. 


The Lits like bland white food.  White fish.  White potatoes.  White pierogies.  No pepper.  No spices.  No flavor. Still, they’re good people.  Good workers.  Like your mom. With no feelings. Like your mom.  But her cold, black grinch heart grows bigger every time she looks at you. We break off chunks of each other’s church wafers on Christmas Eve.  Even aliens find this strangely fun.  The contrast in food and storytelling and feelings between Lithuania and Ireland is a match made in heaven.  Lithuanian stories are all about facts.  A twelve-hour workday becomes three sentences.  Efficient.  Luckily your mom likes flavorful food.  She tolerates a good, long story…most-of-the-time. Sometimes she takes a break to get water.

Grinch heart growing until it almost explodes


The Irish are good storytellers, good people, good drinkers.  What makes us considerate people might drive us insane.  Alcohol helps.  Or so I’ve heard.  I prefer to punch, squat, or sprint.  Women seem less afflicted or better able to cope.  Not all Irish people are good but the odds are higher.  Just walk around a town in Mayo and you’ll see.  Still, you have to work at it.  Everything worth anything in life works this way.  Aim for the women.  Learn what to do and not to do from the men.  Storytelling is both art and science.  Exaggeration is encouraged.  It’s not a lie if some part is true.  When the family gathers round to tell their tales, lean in and listen.  Especially Brad and Uncle Mike.  There’s is a gift.


When you notice good parenting, thank Paddington. You won’t remember him but he stuck around long enough to see you born.  Well, not see exactly.  He’s blind now.  Still happy for a minty bone, a patch of grass, and a diet of love.  We learned how to negotiate, train, and care from Paddy.  We learned to support each other.  We learned that even when we’re mad at each other, we still love the dog.  You’re here in part from Paddington, the marriage counselor.  So when you draw your family tree, start with the happiest bear dog between us.

Our dog Paddington
Paddington bear dog

Family Photos

It’s a good family.  Plenty of strong women.  These came to see you first. And a good uncle. More will come.  

  • My wife's mom
  • Walter, Amelia's grandfather
  • My sister Tara
  • My wife's sister Ali

I owe you a picture of Grandpa Walt. He seemed more hesitant he might break you than me.

My parents couldn’t be here. We’ll tell you their stories. So many stories :)

  • My mom
  • My dad

The Name

Amelia Kilcoyne Dever

August 24th, 2019 12:26 am

8 pounds, 20 inches (the nurse didn’t stretch you out, so you were actually 21-22 inches, else you grew 2-3 inches in your first two weeks of life and never made it onto the growth chart +99% for the many years that followed)

amal meaning ‘work’, and connoting industriousness and fertility

That’s your mom to a T.  Don’t try to keep up with her.  Just hold on for dear life.  Your Aunt Tara and grandparents too.  The rest of us are just learning how to work hard in the wake of their hummingbird ways. Work ethic can be learned but takes practice. We’ll talk more about practice.

Thank your mom for your name.  I read names and names and names to her.  Nothing stuck.  Finally weeks later she said, “Amelia”.  Yes, we read a list of famous women names.   Thank Amelia Earhart too.  Your life is the time for women to soar higher than ever.  I like it.  Plus, I can dance around the house butchering lyrics like “Amelia, you’re breaking my heart…” and “Amelia, what you wanna do?”

AKD are my mom’s initials.  Kilcoyne is her maiden name and means son of the gentle lad.  Gentle is the perfect description of the Kilcoyne clan from county Mayo in Ireland.  We will visit.  We hope you inherit that gift and some of my mom’s positive, caring personality.  This gives us more of an excuse to tell you about her.  To know her, to be like her is to serve a slice of heaven to us normals.  We’re a bit selfish wanting another piece.  Mostly, we’re just glad you’re here, you’re healthy, and your mom is safe.

source –, August 26, 2019

Why Listen to Mom?

Your mom’s full post-delivery ordeal is a story for another day.  I remember a short brunette blood-runner sprinting down the hallway again and again while I fed you your first bottle, happy to have something to occupy my mind besides “Didn’t they say they already stocked blood in there?” and “Do they always run that fast?” Since they told me she was okay these words ring through my head, “You’ve never lived until you’ve almost died.  For those who have fought for it, life has a flavor the protected shall never know.”

Ask your mom.  


Amelia and Bria at Zummo's with Amelia staring at Bria
This is the proper amount of attention to give to mama bear.

Choose Your Choice

Your life starts now Amelia.  We’ll help you with the training wheels.  Someday soon you’ll tell us you want to live it on your own.  Tell us when you love us.  Tell us when we’re wrong.  Tell us the hard things, the good things, any things – just tell us.  And tell us when you want to be left alone.  For a little while.  We’ll understand.  For now, we’ll help you find your voice.

We wish you a life of happiness and sadness, love and pain, freedom and constraints.  You don’t get one without the other.  Might as well embrace it.  Take risks.  Be smart.  Lean in and fail.  Learn.  Repeat.  Eventually, succeed.  Master your craft.  See the world.  Read the classics.  Enjoy one moment.  Dream and reach and stumble and fly.  Do this ten more times and the world is yours.

No pressure.  

We just hope you live a good life by your standard.  

We don’t know what that is yet 🙂  

We can’t wait to find out.

Matt and Amelia in the delivery room
Amelia and dad

That shirt reads, “Leave it better than you found it.” An engineer’s motto. Sometimes just start over.

Also, do your homework.