A Picture Says A Thousand Words

Here I sit, on the days counting down to Christmas, in my office. Headphones on, the surreal sounds of Bach’s Chaconne, Partita No 2 in D Minor enrobe me. In true form, I take pause, and find myself reflecting. Not just on this day, not just on this season, but on the last five and a half years. All while staring at a picture frame hanging on my wall.

Yesterday the team that I lead and I celebrated the holidays at lunch. It was a time of food, gifts, and conversation. We did a Secret Santa drawing this year, the favored gift being that of Starbucks Gift Cards. Hey, my analysts live on caffeine. I was given a beautiful bottle of scotch, which I cannot wait to open. Then, amidst the fanfare and thankyous, a bag was handed to me. My team got together to get me something. This was unexpected. But they informed me that there were two things in the bag. One is kind of a gag. The other, very much not so.

I reached in, opening the gag gift first. I actually really loved it. It is a set of boxing gloves that they all signed. There is a lot of meaning in them. Albeit a humorous gift, it is one that I have on my wall for all to see. Then, I reached into the bag. My hands found something hard and square. As I withdrew it, the tissue paper fell away.  The shadow box I was holding contained so much for me to take in

I noticed that the table was silent as I looked at the picture.

A collage of photos of my daughter. Mixed in were some of our family, but she is the star. This surrounded a letter. As I began to read it, my eyes filled with tears.

The letter read:

“We are pleased to inform you that a $200 gift has been made to Children’s Hospital Foundation in honor of Zoey to support Craniosynostosis services at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU by The Business Performance Team”

Picture Frame

I have never, ever, had to fight back tears so hard in my life. My heart swelled, my breath stalled in my lungs, and the most unintelligible string of “words” ever to leave my mouth in my adult life… happened.

I cannot fully describe what this gift means to me. As a leader, a mentor, a dad, a Cranio Dad, an advocate, or just a person. To have the team that I work with do something like this hits somewhere between validation and encouragement. That others are seeing what I have been doing. That they see what it means to me to be so lucky to be Zoey’s dad. I do not think that I will ever be able to thank this team enough.

Now, it hangs, in full glory and view, on the wall in my office. Serving as an ever-present reminder that I have an amazing team. Adding to the reasons that I love my job, what I do, and who I work with. It has already been a conversation piece. A catalyst into a conversation what my life is like as a cranio dad, and for our cranio family. I hang it proudly, with a set of signed boxing glove next to it.


Live big, love bigger, and be kind, always.


Day 22: The Hobby You Wish You Had.

Yet another exercise in futility. When it comes to hobbies, if it is something that interests me, I do it. Even if I am not good at it, I try. So, let us make this our own thing. One hobby that I have, that I am working towards expanding, is carpentry. I am becoming more and more adept in working on things around the house. Countless projects seem to force me to hone my skills… weekly. But, to create. To take raw materials and make something useful, beautiful, and inspiring. That is the goal for me.

I have discussed with my beloved that there will come a time which I will start projects with each child. One-on-one we will work together on something awesome. This project is aside from things like tables, chairs, fixing and mending. I want to spend time, using only hand tools, and build a small boat with each of them.

I have been following along with some channels and blogs that discuss building your own boats. There is a deep hope within me that plan on making a Tenderly 10-foot Dinghy with each child. Letting them learn how to use the hand tools, read plans, and create. Let the design speak to them, and have them learn all that they can. Then, when complete, have this time where we christen the boat, and they call it their own. Taking it out, and perhaps learning to love the water even more.

It is a hobby, and a dream.

I try not to cloud this dream with wistful hopes of perfection. I know that it will take time, and that the skills to be acquired will be demanding. But, I also understand that there is going to be so much value in the lessons that we will learn. Holding fast to the look on their faces when they put the craft into the water, I continue to work towards honing my hobby.  Perhaps, in a closer reading of my Day 21 post, their ships will be alongside ours as we begin that journey.

Live big, love bigger, and be kind, always

Back at work…

There’s a part about being a parent to have a child go through any medical procedure. That part is having to go back to work once recovery is over. I’m not saying that I don’t like my job, in fact I love it! However, that does not make the desire to be home helping take care of my little ones go away.

I AM A CRANIO DAD, I am scared out of my mind, and keeping my nose to the grindstone is the best I can do.

14 days…. whhhhaaaattttt?

We got a little bit of a chance to sleep in today… much needed and long overdue.  There was just something more awesome about waking up and seeing the bassinet at the foot of our bed.  I sat there for  a little and just took it in.  Then we got ourselves together… the wife did something that I cannot recall her doing even before she was pregnant… she was ready to go in 10 min… from bed to door…. Now, I must say that my amazing bride is not one to take FOREVER getting ready, it was just awesome and impressive that as a woman who is as pregnant as she is, that she could do that.  Where were we going? To go watch my fellow toastmasters compete in the district competition.  Both of the speakers from our club did an amazing job… so well that they BOTH won.  Yeah, our club rocks!  Then it was off to work for a few hours.  I had to give some recipes to a good friend who had his last day, deliver some gumbo to a dear friend that was not there on Friday, and try to get ahead on my work for next week.  The operative word was try in that statement.  Some of the stuff that I needed, the data that I had to uses… was not populating.  What does that mean… Monday morning is going to suck.  I was able to get some of the stuff changed for the compliance changes for the first (which was the main reason I had to go in).  I would love to take pictures of some of the stuff that I do.. but thanks to HIPPA… probably not the best idea…. I will see what I can come up with.  Now, it is late and tomorrow is going to be full of getting homework done, going over the taxes, cleaning the house, perhaps taking our brilliant border collie for a much needed walk, and Lord knows what else.  Good night tumblrland.  (Oh… and I see that my queue is FINALLY catching up….lol…. perhaps I should do the picture-a-day thing to fill it up again).

I AM GOING TO BE A DAD, I am scared out of my mind, and as things come together… the reality sets in… an is surprisingly weightless on my shoulders.

19 Days – Awesomeness

So, work… blah.  Or so I thought.  For some time I have been in the middle of a small brokering between two departments at the company that I work for.  It is not that I do not like where I am working,  or my boss.  Heck, my boss is the reason that I have turned down a few lucrative job offers… and he is a damn good friend.  In my position I am fortunate enough to have proven myself to only have a director over me in my department, putting me in a unique position in the company.  What this haggling is about is a case that by working for the other department I am going to be able to provide more clear and consistent data to gauge what and how we are doing.  Well, I received word today that they had reached an agreement and my move will be taking place at the end of this week.  This news was amazing news, not just for my career, but for my wife.  To top it all off, I received a call from my father today………. The bassinette is DONE! My father built the bassinette for his future granddaughter.  It is being delivered this upcoming weekend by my youngest brother (whom I also cannot wait to see)! I cannot express what it means for me to have my father build this for our soon to arrive daughter… as well as her possible future siblings.  This is going to be something that we will be able to pass down.. a heirloom created in my generation.  I cannot express the joy of this day… oh little daughter… you can come when you are ready… and it will so eclipse this day… but it is all rooted in you.  (yeah, gushy moment from me… deal with it).

I AM GOING TO BE A DAD, I am scared out of my mind, and 19 days…. Bring it!


    Never thought I’d say this, but I miss working. The first trimester hit me hard and I didn’t last long before I was falling asleep in the parking lot. Not safe when my merchandising rounds allotted at least a few hours of driving each day between stores. So I quit working much sooner than I had initially anticipated. Here I am…28 weeks into the game and doing good to walk for 30 minutes…and wishing all the more that I could work.

    I got my first job when I was 9. It was a paper route. I had a second-hand red-framed bike with a banana seat and I wanted a mountain bike. My lunch money wasn’t going to cut it, so I entered the vast world of trading hours for paychecks. It’s a pretty neat system when you think about it. I’ve never been an extravagant spender, but I have always enjoyed the independence of earning my own check for my own needs…and every once in awhile something I especially want. Like that amazing black and hot pink ten-speed.

    So what brought all this on? Well…for the first time in quite awhile, I’m no longer making money. I’m working on an accelerated pace for my master’s online, I’m preparing for the little one, and…well…enjoying time that I’ve never really given myself before. I wouldn’t trade this time for anything. And yet, I can’t help but feel like I’m freeloading. I know I’m not much use to anyone right now as far as physical work is concerned, but “I’m pregnant” seems like such a lame excuse. Michael says I’m too hard on myself. When I first met him, I was holding down four part-time jobs and a volunteer position. I was exhausted, but I was paying bills and student loans and I was just happy that I could do it. Our two year relationship, the past one being married, has consisted of me gradually dropping a job at a time until I finally got to where I couldn’t work even if I wanted to with the pregnancy. It’s what we were both aiming toward. And yet here I am, wondering if I should have held onto something just a little longer for the rough times when an added paycheck would be so nice. Like this month.

    I miss working. I miss feeling like I have control over something as tangible as money. Sometimes learning trust sucks.


    I still find myself confused.  I have noticed an interesting trend with some of the people that I work with.  When I first started voicing my idea that it takes a MAN to be a father, not a boy to be a dad, there seemed to be a considerable about of push-back from the women in the office.  Most significantly the single women without kids.  My battle cry was picked up by a few of the guys and the rest… eh, it is work.  Now, it is being brought to my attention that the voice of the other men have fallen off, the single girls are turning a ear and looking for guys with some of the traits that I have discussed and I am still left with a social obstacle… single mothers.  Now, as I have said before, and I will say again, and again, and again, my heart goes out to the single mom’s.  in MOST of the cases, it was a scenario where it was a boy becoming a dad, not a man trying to be a father.  These women deserve our love, compassion and support.  They are doing their very best to fulfill BOTH roles for their children.  That being said, I am still proud of the fact that my wife is going to be a stay at home mom.  That she is going to be able to dedicate most of her time to taking care of our child, and let me worry about the income.  It is what she wants, and it is what I am going to work my butt of to try to make happen.  As crazy as it may sound, I am looking forward to the days that I get to come home after a long day at the office and take over the child care and let my wife take a break.  You see, men, something that we can never forget about the mothers of our children…. Parenting is a FULL TIME JOB.  While we are at the office, they are not getting to take a break.  In many ways, it is FAR MORE work than we do, it is exhausting, it is tiring, it is stressful. As I further my definition of a man I will have to include the fact that on most days a man whom is trying to be a good father and a good spouse, will come home and take over for a little bit.  You see, the neat thing about doing this is that there are so many levels of awesomeness that come from it.  You get to come home from work and spend time with your kids! Even if it is jut holding your infant and listening to your wife’s day, NONE OF YOU will forget that time.  Holding that precious little life so close to your heart, feeling their hands grasping, the funny and amazing noises… what a way to end your day of work.  There is also the aspect of taking care of your wife.  As stated, they are working their butts off.  By being willing to come home, take care of the baby and give them the first break that they have had all day, brownie points.  That… and a happy wife makes for a happy home.   Granted, I cannot speak from experience yet, but I am fairly certain that the little ones will cherish this time as they get older, perhaps more than you do.  I think back to when my dad would get home from work.  Within minutes it was either dinner… or we had family time.  Playing catch, going for walks, telling my day about all the excitement of my day, and listening as my brothers did the same.  These memories may have something to do with my standpoint on this.  It will be interesting to see how this post goes down at the water cooler tomorrow.  I AM GOING TO BE A DAD, I am scared out of my mind and my wife will be working hard to be a mom… I should acknowledge the effort by working hard to be a man.