Seven Best Moments From When We Were Just Dating.

  1. First Kiss. We were taking a walk through Boston after dinner and I steered down to Long Wharf. Now this had been part of the plan because after dinner I wanted to take her cappuccino in the North End and I figured going there by way of the waterside would be sort of romantic. What had not been part of the plan was that as we stopped by the water for a moment she would kiss me. Let’s just get that absolutely clear for the record. She kissed me. I put no move on. A move was put on me. And I’m 70 per cent certain it wasn’t just to shut me up.
  1. Dating Anniversaries. When we hit one year of dating on April 12, 2004 we decided to run down to Mohegan Sun for the weekend. Mohegan was really all we had on our radar, but we wound up discovering Mystic Seaport and Mystic Aquarium and the Mystic/Mohegan package tour became a tradition we have maintained to this day, kids and all.
  1. Trial by Idiot Friends. Only a few weeks into our relationship, I had a gig in Cambridge (this was back when I was still doing comedy) which turned into Meet The Friends Night. I had planned for her to drink in my friends in slow controlled doses, the better to build up a tolerance. Anyone who knows them can vouch for the wisdom of this strategy but the real point was that they knew me and had had front-row seats over the years to some of my truly profound moments of numbskullery…when they weren’t playing starring roles in the misadventures themselves. As per usual, the planning got away from me and now they were all here in a horde in the same room as this poor defenseless girl. Then I really screwed up and walked away from all of them momentarily to go to talk to a comic friend about another upcoming gig. Just left the likes of Bill and Michael and Mario without adult supervision around her. When I came back I found they had formed a semi-circle around her and she was just sitting there, nodding occasionally, not saying much. They on the other hand were fighting each other to get a word in edgewise.  Even from a distance I could tell they were fully into a merry round of “that’s nothing, remember the time when Sean…” and then another tale of some past stupidity would begin. My blood ran cold at the sight. Nevertheless, by evening’s end we were all sitting around after dinner with everyone acting like she had been there for years. And by some miracle, that also happened to be the same night she first referred to me as her boyfriend.
  2. First Grand Romantic Gesture. We started dating in April so Valentine’s Day and her birthday were already long past, so I wasn’t sure when I’d be able to make my first big move. A few months into the relationship, she had decided to quit her job, a fairly big decision at the time and which she had done without really knowing what her next move would be. I decided her last day at work would suffice well enough for a pulling out of stops. So I took the day off, learned how to make spinach and artichoke dip which I had seen her order a bunch of times when we were out at dinner, and delivered it and some flowers to her personally as I picked her up at work…in the limo. We went to dinner at one of her favorite restaurants that, with her friends meeting us there as I had arranged. Our friend Jim that night cautioned me that I had set the bar too high. If this was what I was pulling off for a last day at work, what could I possibly do for those future Valentine’s Day and birthdays? I’m just glad there were future Valentine’s Day and birthdays…and flowers, limos, and homemade spinach and artichoke dip have made repeat appearances. I’m a romantic but a dogged romantic, not a creative one. I stick to what works.

5. Surviving a Terrorist Attack. We had been dating six weeks or so and went to a Memorial Day cookout together. Cook-in actually, but it happened to be pouring rain that day. She drove me home to Somerville from the party in Salem. We didn’t have a GPS or Mapquest directions so we had only my wits to guide us home. Needless to say we became lost. Hoplessly lost. Deeply and maddeningly lost. Somehow we wound up at Logan Airport. In the rain. In some sort of obscure parking lot behind a chain-link fence that had a sign that said “RESTRICTED” in big unfriendly lettering. As she turned her car around to exit the lot, she heard a strange sound coming from under the car. Now she’d had it and she started to panic. I jumped out of the car and crawled underneath, with the rain still pouring. I yanked out the empty milk jug that had somehow gotten crammed between her car and the pavement.   When I got back in I said “some day when you tell this story, instead of rescuing you from an empty milk jug at Logan Airport, could you make it a gang of bloodthirsty terrorists that I fought off single-handed?” Some day is here and I’ve kind of blown the story. But thanks to her sense of humor and inexhaustible patience I didn’t blow the relationship

6. Vegas Baby, Vegas. My friend Bill and I have birthdays within a couple of weeks of each other so a bunch of us went to Vegas for a combined blowout when we each turned 30. Within a couple of hours of landing, she was sitting across from me, looking gorgeous of course, at the Eiffel Tower restaurant at the Paris. We were having what to this day she calls the best meal she’s ever had, looking down on Las Vegas Boulevard at night, the second most spectacular view I had on hand. I ordered wine and they actually asked if I wanted to smell the cork. I did and looked up said “smells good” in my best imitation of Kermit the Frog smelling the bottlecap in the The Muppet Movie when Steve Martin serves him and Miss Piggy one of the finest wines of Idaho. Vegas baby, Vegas.


7. Pizza and Wine. This was what many Friday nights were for us. Getting out of work, getting out to her place in Rockport, ordering pizza, picking up some wine, and just hanging out like that. Pizza, wine, her. Are you supposed to want more than that?

Seven Best Moments from the Wedding.

  1. Seeing her walk down the aisle. Well, duh. I had seen other guys at that moment. I’d seen them stand there, awestruck. I had seen them tear up. I’m told I simply stood there with a manic grin on my face. Well, duh.
  1. Actually saying my vows. I remember really belting them out, saying them with some conviction. I’m swearing before God Himself, to say nothing of 150 of my closest friends and family and their dates that I will love and be loyal and devoted to the woman standing before me forever. If you’re going to do that, say it like you mean it.
  1. My friend Theresa.  So seeing my bride come down the aisle doesn’t make me tear up. Saying my vows didn’t make me tear up. Somehow my friend Theresa did make me tear up. She read the Prayer of the Faithful and when she asked everyone to pray for us—“for Sean and Kelly…” she looked over at us and smiled. That got me.
  1. Entrance music. My wife and I were announced into the reception with theme from The Muppet Show playing. Always felt this was an inspired choice and you’ve known us and the people around us for any length of time you know how spot-on it was.
  1. Fenian Family Frightens Photographer. We weren’t more than two courses into dinner at the reception when my family began singing along to the rebel songs that my DJ, as per my instructions, was dutifully playing. The photographer, who did a great job and was a terrific guy, came over to my table for a close-up of me and my wife. “Beautfiul, just beautiful!” he said as he snapped the picture. Then he leaned over to me and asked quietly, “What is this, an IRA meeting?” It was a Lilly family gathering so frankly, yeah, it kind of was.
  1. My friends James, Cole, and Mario.  They swept the dance floor clean during “No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn.” Every reception has to have a moment like that. Not every reception will have a James, a Cole, and a Mario. I’d put those guys and what they did up against those idiots doing “Thriller” any day of the week.
  1. The Big O.  After the reception, the gang took the party to a bar across the street. My wife and I walked over still in tuxedo and wedding dress. The bar gave us a standing ovation as we walked in. That was just cool.

Seven Sexiest Moments

What, you think I’m going to write about that here? Yes, they exist but I’m not going to just proclaim them for everyone on social media. And why are you so curious anyway? You’re a depraved person and people are right to be wary of your company.

(Just PM me later.)

Seven Things We Like That Everyone Else Tends To Think Are Lame Or At Least Don’t Like Nearly As Much As We Do

  1. Antiquing. I always thought this was something patrician old ladies did. It is. But I realized it also involves finding albums you love on vinyl and a working 2-XL. Yes, toys I played with and albums I listened to are considered antiques now.
  1. Frasier Yet more evidence that everything I watch has been off the air for at least ten years. This is often what we fire up on Netflix as soon as the kids are down for the night. Something about those few jazzy notes played at the top of the show is now just very comforting. And it’s really well written and David Hyde-Pierce is hilarious.
  1. Skee-ball. Remember the story about the limo on her last day of work? The one part of the plan I hadn’t worked out was where the limo was going to take us. We had a few hours between her getting out of work and dinner. We wound up going to Salem Willows to play skee-ball. We’ve played at the Topsfield Fair, Canobie Lake, Jillian’s when there still was one, and now we teach the kids to play when we go to Chuck E. Cheese. All my life’s a circle. Several circles actually, marked anywhere from 10 to 100 points. If you’ve ever seen Dogma, you know this is the way God would want it.
  1. Svengoolie.  It’s a hosted horror movie show based out of Chicago and broadcast on MeTV. Svengoolie emerges from a coffin, tells jokes and shares trivia facts about the movie, an oldie and often a cheesie, has his interns hurl rubber chickens at him, and reads viewer mail. He’s our kind of guy and he’s our Saturday night now.  Okay, maybe we need a date night but sue us, we enjoy it.
  1. Top Dog. Best hot dogs in New England, if not the world. That first day it opens, we know summer has at last come to Rockport.
  1. NPR.  When we were dating and doing fun stuff on a Saturday, when we were married and running errands on a Saturday, when we had kids and were taking them to the park on a Saturday, along for the ride have always been Peter Sagel and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me!, Click and Clack and Car Talk, Brian O’Donovan and A Celtic Sojurn, Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion, and Richard Sher and Says You!. We saw the Prairie Home Companion movie in the theatre, attended a taping of Says You!, and A Christmas Celtic Sojourn at the Majestic Theatre in Boston is a holiday tradition for us. In every one of those cases, we were the only members of the various audiences to be on the near side of sixty.  We don’t care. We like what we have come to call our “NPR Saturdays”.
  1. The Kraken. One night a few years ago I called my brother at about six o’clock on a summer Friday. I asked him how he was doing. He said “I’m sitting on the porch next to your sister-in-law drinking a rum and Coke.” That sounded really really really good to me. And thus I became a rum and Coke fan, never having really been one before that. My wife and I discovered a brand called Kraken Rum. It’s a good rum and it’s a decent price, but mostly we took to it because it has a picture of the Kraken on the label. When I’m getting ready to head home from work on a Friday I’ll usually be asked to pick something up from the store on my way home. Once in a while I’ll ask “do you want me to release the Kraken?” It’s not a coy euphemism, it’s my way of asking if I should buy a bottle of hard liquor with a cartoon picture of a sea monster on it.

Seven Best Moments of Being Parents

  1. Each of their births. A little hand wrapping around your finger. Holding a brand-new human being in your arms. The terrifying realization that you are now responsible for the welfare of that new human being for the rest of your life. Whole levels of unconditional love you didn’t think existed. Being in complete awe of the mother of your child. All that stuff you’ve heard happens? It actually happens.
  1. Jonesy Every morning, after I’ve left for work, my four-year old son Jonesy wakes up, walks into our bedroom and says to his mom: “Mommy, I want to snuggle” and climbs into bed with her.   Right before he goes to sleep, he lays out his routine for the next morning and can’t contain his enthusiasm: “first we snuggle in you white bed [we have a white beadspread], then we have breakfast, then I get on the bus and go to school!”
  1. Eamon.I taught my three-year old son Eamon a Fozzie Bear routine from The Muppet Show. My wife taught him the names of different gemstones and how to recognize them after he broke into her jewelry box.
  1. Mary. This one is kind of just me, but of course I wouldn’t have it without my wife. In the nursery, I crouched down to look directly at my daughter Mary in her hospital crib. All unbidden, I began to sing “I’ve Just Seen A Face” by The Beatles. It’s been her song ever since and always always will be.
  1. Watching the Super Bowl a couple of years ago, Jonesy was watching as one side returned a kickoff. As he watched the player carrying the ball race down the field into the very teeth of his onrushing opponents, he shouted “Look out! Go back!” My wife cracked up, hugged him and said “Jonesy, you’re the best!”
  1. Danny. My 19-month old son Danny can recite his alphabet and count from 1 to 10. Every time he does my wife grabs my arm and says “do you hear this? Are you listening to this?”
  1. All of us. There is a picture of all six of us at the Children’s Museum in Boston. We took the train there in midst of a snowstorm that was definitely not in the forecast. We’d been there for hours and still looked a little bedraggled. We’re sitting in a replica barbershop that was part of a Neighborhoods of Boston exhibit. The picture is of us in the mirror. Nothing has ever quite captured our family quite as precisely as this moment.


Seven Signs I’m Clearly Out of My League With This Woman


  1. Let’s face it, you ever seen a picture of this girl?   No one this hot is supposed end up with a guy like me.
  2. Four kids. Oldest is four. Very small home. Tend to work late. Wife has not taken to heroin or armed visits to clocktowers. Sheer heroism.
  3. Every time we look at the budget and realize it’s going to be another uphill battle. I feel guilty—again—for not being a better provider. She just shrugs and says “we should be all right. We’ll figure it out.”
  4. The Mets. Nothing will drive a husband or wife away quite like being as big a Mets’ fan as I am. Still married. Still a Mets’ fan.
  5. Geek-dom.  I love Star Trek, Dungeons and Dragons, Star Wars…you see where I’m going with this? Still married. Still…well the person that I am.
  6. One Brilliant Statement.  I don’t feel comfortable revealing the exact details, but when we were dating I remember telling her about something happening with a friend of mine and her first reaction was: “yeah, I went through a tough time just like that, you didn’t see me cheating on you.” When I told another friend about what she said he made it abundantly clear that I had to marry this girl.
  7. I keep trying to come up with a seventh and I can’t come up with anything specific. It’s just me. This is what marriage is. When you marry someone, you marry everything the person is and not everything about the person is going to be good. And there’s no hiding any of it. No wearing your best outfit all the time. No closing the door safely behind you after the date is over. No throwing the dirty laundry into the closet, no telling that joke or that story because she’s heard it and/or lived it, no explaining away your friend Lou. No being at your best all the time because no one is at his best all the time. Eventually, often even, you will be at your worst. And that other person has to love you anyway. Somehow it happens. Every day. With people everywhere. With me. With her. Miracle.

Seven Things We’re Looking Forward To In The Years To Come

  1. Grandchildren.  Yes, I already want grandchildren.
  2. Disney. She’s already planning our first visit to Disney World when the kids will be of an age to remember it and appreciate it. Summer 2017. The countdown is on.
  3. The Kids.  We’re both curious to see how these kids are going to turn out. Even if we are convinced that my son Eamon will have his own drawer in the principal’s file cabinet at school.
  4. Amy. She’ll be mortified, but I have a terrific younger sister-in-law who needs to get married one of these days. I have an army of ring-bearers and flower girls on hot standby and they need more cousins.
  5. Being in a house eventually. Homeowning, even home-renting, has never been something I considered a huge priority. But now I have all these kids. And every time I go to a friend’s house for a cookout, I find myself longing for a backyard and a grill.
  6. Giving my daughter away at her wedding.   And my sons dancing with my wife at their weddings. Or being in church as they pronounce their vows with the bishop looking on. My son the priest. My son the brother. My daughter the nun. My daughter the priest. Shoot, my daughter the Pope. They all have a nice ring to them.
  7. My wife running out onto the field during the All-Star Game after a line drive back through the box catches my son Jonesy on the knee. See this blog post for more information.