This is the first blog I have attempted to write. Ever.
On its face this shouldn’t seem that strange a statement. I’m sure most people don’t write one, and probably don’t even aspire to. About twenty years ago when the format started to gain traction it seemed that I should be expected to dive right in. Instead, the phenomenon flourished into what it is today. I remained silent.
I do have some reasonable excuses to lean against. Between 1999 and the early 2000’s I was occupied with putting the finishing touches on a Master of Fine Arts thesis, while simultaneously trying to manage self-employment as a burgeoning private tutor, writing coach, and freelance writer. There was no shortage of content to explore, no dearth of experiences to plumb, ponder, unpeel and unpackage, and certainly no lack of personal opinions to spew. At the time, this type of sharing was not something I wanted, or needed to do.
Perhaps it had a great deal to do with my age: at 25, 26, 27 years old I questioned why anyone would truly want to read anything I had to say. I wondered not about whether I was unoriginal or “corny,” but the extent to which this was true. Despite the fact that I was realizing monetary and reputational success offering insights and solutions to families, children, and professionals, I ignored any impulse to share myself publicly. I remained silent.
Recently though, something in me changed.
Let me clarify. Something aroused a change within me. A close friend (college roommate) and I were texting recently about the Celtics’ woeful chances against the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals (We knew this was the end of the line for them this year). We soon started talking about our kids, as we often do. He has two roughly middle school aged: a boy and a girl. I have one, a four year old boy named Tyler. His kids play softball and baseball, and Tyler is starting to play “organized” soccer and lacrosse. He was telling me all about how packed his weekends are with the commitment to multiple games, something my wife and I are starting to encounter on a smaller scale. He and I remarked that, despite the lack of free or “personal” time, we look forward to weekends like these because we genuinely enjoy watching our kids as they play and learn how to compete. We embrace and enjoy the vicariousness of cheering them on. It sustains us.
Then a text pinged from him that was totally unprompted. In two sentences he completely interrupted my life.
“My kids are my life. I’d be lost without them.”
Honestly, nothing new from him. He has expressed himself this way about his children in the past, numerous times. I have also heard phrases similar to this in my business life, both before and after I entered fatherhood. Generally speaking, it is mothers who speak effusively about their children. Fathers tend not to share sentiments of this type of vulnerability as freely, if at all.
But this time felt different. A matter-of-fact comment held a newfound and decidedly palpable magnitude for me. That little text carried within it the the inescapable gravity of a singularity. Ever since he pressed send and my phone alert chimed I have been drawn toward its pull to the point of distraction.
I let what he wrote take up residence in my mind for a couple of days. I walked around it, surveyed it, lifted up one side and looked underneath for some kind of anomaly that might be eluding me. The simplicity was hiding in plain sight. It had taken four years of parenthood, the right combination of words from the right person, and a couple of IPA’s for me to embrace that I have always felt the exact same way.
So I resolved to start writing what you are now reading. I decided to jettison my former apprehensions and focus on one objective alone. Tyler. I am writing this for him. I want to create something lasting about me so that when he is old enough, interested enough, or even frustrated enough with me to want to know what I was thinking throughout our lives together, a legacy will be waiting for him. I hope it will be a window into who I am so he will discover me, and in writing this I might re-discover myself. With time, it might even help him understand who he is.
In the meantime, this is for anyone interested in reading my insights, failures, and triumphs…or simply anecdotes, rants, and rambling stories. I can’t pledge that any of this will be groundbreaking or original. I can guarantee at the least that it will be somewhat “corny.” I am sure at times that what I have to say will be unusual. I write not knowing how it will turn out, or who will find any connection to it. I imagine this might be for other people who feel the way I do. But not exclusively. It is for whomever wants to read the naked thoughts of a man whose son is his life, and who would be lost without him.
This is yours, son.