Category Archives: Fatherhood
I tend to shy away from writing about my family. It has gotten me into hot water before and I since then, I try to not muddy the waters. But this past weekend I saw something from a family member that was worth writing because I was blown away.
My brother-in-law amazes me. Simply put, I don’t know how he does what he does. Not only do I see this, but many people on the Mrs. Rookie Dad’s side of the family sees it as well. It was no more evident than this weekend.
He was a Superdad!
The Rookie has three cousins on the Mrs. Rookie Dad side of the family. All of which belong to her sister and husband. This past weekend we attended what could be the last wedding on her side of the family. One of the cousins was the flower girl and the other cousin was a co-ring bearer with the Rookie. If you are counting you may realize that there are only 2 cousins, well one of his other cousins is 9 months old and not able to take part fully in the wedding ceremony.
On top of this, Mrs. Rookie Dad and her sister were both bridesmaids in the wedding. This meant that the Rookie would be spending nearly the entire day with his cousins as the girls got ready. The dads, in charge of taking care of the children. For many that can be a scary thought.
Four years ago the doctors were wondering how I was even able to walk into their office. They had never seen someone with numbers as high as mine. They wondered how I was even able to function. I asked myself the same question. I was also asking myself, how I wasn’t being a healthy dad.
A diet of gas station and fast food just wasn’t cutting it. It was all I had access too. Not because my family wasn’t eating healthy at home, but because it was the lifestyle that I was living at the time. It was my career.
I was a news photojournalist. I was running from story to story grabbing a bite to eat when I could. Taquitos and flaming hot Cheetos from gas station and I had a very intimate relationship. One that I am sure Mrs. Rookie Dad was jealous about at the time but didn’t tell me.
It was at that moment four years ago that things began to change. I started realizing the effect that the constant diet of chips and soft drinks were having on my life. It showed too. I was the heaviest I had ever been. I could feel my belly spilling over my seat belt every time I got in the news van to drive off to the next news story. There was no way that I would win a back alley news fight with the Channel 9 news team. There would be no throwing tridents or setting people on fire. I would be out of breath within 2 minutes and you would see me curled up gasping for breath being set on fire and stabbed with a trident.
That wasn’t who I wanted to be. That wasn’t the same person who played 3 sports cross-country, basketball, and baseball in high school. I didn’t want to be that person. I was making my career and excuse for healthy habits. I tried to work out on my crazy news schedule but it just, for the lack of a better term, wasn’t working out.
It was the most important part of the interview process. My work life balance.
It was something through the nearly 50 job interviews that I was a part of asked each and every time. The recruiter could see the ring on my finger. They would see my position with Dads Round Table on my resume and ask me about my family.
They would bring up how much of a commitment this job was. That there could be some long days even some weekend work. It wouldn’t be just a 9-5 job. But what job isn’t in our current culture.
When I was a kid, there was no MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, or smartphones. We were forced to go outside and run in the streets. 20 years ago it was a different time. Myself and our neighbor kids ruled the street. We had a tree house in an empty lot down the street, to which you needed the secret password to get into, until the city came to tear it down. Scouting was big in my hometown and I cannot count the weekends that I spent camping out with our Boy Scout troop.
My favorite memory of those many camp outs was a starry cold night at Scott Lake in Western Kansas. We always stayed in the same cabin on the east side of the lake. It wasn’t very big. In fact it only had one room with nothing but a fire-place in it to keep the place warm a bunk bed and a few extra mattresses for us all to sleep on.
The cabin was right below the bluffs to the lake. At the time, there were three cabins along the side of the bluffs each about a quarter-mile apart. To our troop’s camp fire story-teller, he called them the Troll houses. I realize now that this “Troll” family traveled from campsite to campsite, sometimes they were in different states then the story we were told a month before hand.
Just down the dirt road from the cabin and across a highway, there was a small boat dock that we would send ourselves off in our canoes to explore the lake. By that boat dock, there was a section of thick cat-tails that was no larger than a football field. This cool crisp night, the cat-tails were laying flat. They were thicker than the humidity on mid-summer day. So thick in fact that, you were able to walk on top of them without even touching the water.
I am not shy in saying that I have had 3 jobs by the time that I turn 30. Each of those jobs have increased in difficulty in different ways. All 3 jobs have had their sets of challenges and rewards. One job though, is the hardest job that I will ever have AND the most rewarding.
Being A Dad.