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.
The phone rang. I was in a glass edit bay looking out a newsroom buzzing with activity. I had been out in a live truck all morning covering an overnight shooting in the Kansas City metro area.
It was Mrs. Rookie Dad. This is the 3rd time she has called me that day. I had been anticipating a phone call from her to tell me that it was time to go to the hospital for a few days now. The newsroom had been put on baby watch, knowing that at any moment I would have to leave.
But that morning, the calls from Mrs. Rookie Dad had been what I like to call the “nothing” phone call. A call that can wait until I come home to discuss. We were at the point in the pregnancy that I couldn’t just let the phone go to voice mail.
I picked up the phone and in my head I remember thinking, “Now what!” but on the other end of the phone before I could get out a hello, I heard:
“My water broke!”
Instantly, a feeling of guilt rushed over me as I stopped momentarily to think and regret what my thoughts were that morning. I realized that would be a memory I would never forget, the thought that went through my head when the Kid was born. That immediate regret turned into a smile and happiness though when the Kid was born at 2 A.M the next morning.
The moment that the Kid was born, my paid paternity leave started. It was only two weeks of paternity leave, more than what most new fathers get. Most get none. I was one of the lucky ones.
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.
When I grew up, if you wanted to take pictures you either ran to the store to grab a disposable camera or you pulled out a camera with a bunch of settings that you don’t know what they mean. Today, you can still break out in a DSLR camera or you can just reach into your pocket and quickly take a picture with your smartphone.
I’m lucky enough to have both a DSLR and a smartphone. I’ve had both since the Kid was born. When the Kid was mostly immobile and I more time on my hands to edit pictures, I almost always reached for my DSLR. The pictures always turned out so crisp and clean compared to my early iPhone.
Now, the Kid is going on 4-years-old and can sprint around the house faster than it would take me to get my settings right on my Canon Rebel. Now the moment I see a moment that I want to remember, I reach for my phone, usually in movie mode and I’m able to take pictures while I am getting video of the Kid.