I started the first iteration of this blog back in 2010 right before I moved to England for a year. The new and improved re-boot took hold about three years ago, which coincided with the birth of my second child. Perhaps becoming a father for the second time was the boost I needed to finally accept my position as a (mostly) stay-at-home parent or maybe I was just getting bored, but for whatever reason, I started writing again. And running. I did that, too. The piece that got me back in the game was one I wrote about parenting and running that I submitted to Huffington Post Parents on a whim.
The elation from the unexpected acceptance and subsequent congratulations on social media gave me the bug. I pretty much gave up running shortly thereafter because it is super boring, but the writing has stuck.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time the last several years writing and submitting and getting rejected and posting to my blog and setting up and maintaining social media pages and compiling a book and self-publishing a book. And in all that time spent, I never really expected it to take me anywhere. It was just something I enjoyed (kind of…when I didn’t hate it) and it gave me an outlet from kid world. But, if nothing else ever comes from my writing, I can now say that it has taken me at least one place: New Orleans.
About a year ago, I started taking notice of the Dad 2.0 Summit, a conference for dad bloggers and others committed to the dad life. I toyed with the idea of attending, but not too seriously. After all, signing up for things, travelling, leaving the house, or deviating from my routine in any way are not things I typically do. But, I kept an eye on the social media channels and ended up applying to the Summit’s scholarship program for travel grants. To my surprise, I got one. After a couple hours of consideration, I committed to going. I was nervous.
Later, I saw a call for submissions to be a Spotlight Blogger and read a blog post at the conference. I submitted because I like to submit things using online forms. Again, to my even greater surprise, I was selected. I was super nervous. I’m still super nervous.
One night recently as the kids and I were driving home, the topic of my upcoming trip came up. My 6-year-old asked where I was going and why. My 3-year-old, on the other hand, cut straight to the heart of the matter.
“When it’s time for you to leave, I’m going to hug you forever,” he said.
The car was dark and he was in the seat behind me, so I couldn’t see him, but could hear his voice break just a little, as it does when he’s holding back tears, when he said “forever.” What a gut punch. He sure knows how to deliver them. When his words fade into tears, his little mouth turns down, his lip quivers, and his eyes water, it is both unbearably heart breaking and endearing. His pronouncement was also a bit concerning because he can be particularly tenacious when he wants to be.
The next day he followed up on our discussion by saying, “When it’s time to go to your meeting, don’t.”
So, hopefully I’ll make it to New Orleans. I’m really looking forward to doing something new, making some connections that will hopefully help further my writing prospects, drawing inspiration from other dads, connecting with like-minded dads beyond the digital space (which is a term I use now), and sleeping all night without interruption in a supine position in a king-sized bed.
And who knows, maybe I’ll overcome my nerves and make it through my reading without choking on my words. I will be thinking about my children and my wife all weekend and particularly while I’m on stage. And not just because I’ll be reading a story about them. I’ll be thinking about how I’m doing this because of them and for them. Because they have created a world for me I am so eager to share with anyone who will read about it.
I’ll certainly be thinking about my 3-year-old and how he never wants me to leave. I hope he always wants me around. Or if not always, at least for a long time to come. And if I keep thinking about all that, I won’t choke on my words. However, if I wasn’t an emotionless ice creature in real life, it certainly would be very easy for me to get choked up.