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Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
3 years, 4 months.
Until last night, I had never seen a full episode of the popular TV show, How I Met Your Mother.
But after hearing all the hype about the final episode that aired this week, I decided to check out the first couple of episodes on Netflix.
It’s interesting because the first episode flashes back to the year 2005, when the protagonist and narrator was 27 years old and meets the woman he wants to marry… and sort of ultimately begins to chase for 9 seasons.
Seeing the show took me back to a place in my life when I was that single 20something year-old guy without a wife and child.
It’s such a different state of mind.
Yes, there was so much “freedom” back then, yet I clearly remember that deep yearning to meet the love of my life, who would in essence connect me to a universe in which the world made better sense to me.
For me, the year 2005 was when I moved to Nashville to truly “start my adult life” as a 24 year-old single guy.
A year later, I met Mommy. Less than two years later, she and I got married. About two and a half years after that, you were born.
To me, this current version of my life is the one I would pick every time.
I know it could be said that raising a 3 year-old boy is at times, chaotic.
But one of my roles in our small family (and in this world as a whole) is to help organize chaos.
It’s as if I find safety and security in the structure of chaos, because it brings meaning to my life.
There are so many things I can’t do well. And there are many obvious roles in our family that Mommy handles.
As for me, I’m here for “everything else.” That’s what I’m good at. I’m starting to fathom that now.
That includes getting rid of spiders for Mommy. That includes being the official disciplinarian for you. That includes me being consistently positive for the two of you even when I don’t feel like it.
I bet it’s hard to imagine me any other way though, right? Before I met your mother, I was a lost boy.
You and her changed that for me. I like 2014 a lot better than 2005.
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Thursday, February 13th, 2014
3 years, 2 months.
I’m starting to really appreciate infographics. They provide an organized visual for interesting research; like this one, below, on sending text messages:
- 69% of all respondents said they “would be lost” without the ability to text
- Men text more than women (an average of 17 regular contacts)
- Men send shorter messages
- they generally see texting as a functional form of communications
- Women have an average of 13 regular text contacts. Men are 3x more likely to text work colleagues than women:
- Women tend to send longer messages
- more likely to say “I love you” via text (54%)
- they often use texting to deepen relationships
That’s interesting, yet I’m not at all surprised to see those findings.
Men and women not only think much differently, but they speak much differently to match it. You and I are males, meaning we are wired to speak in a different language than females.
It’s not a bad thing, though it often is a frustrating thing. But it’s also what makes the dynamics between males and females work.
Otherwise, we would function more like robots.
So instead of writing off the other gender because I’m not the best at speaking their language… I’m learning to speak their language.
I’m making myself the victor, not the victim.
Being married to Mommy for 5 and a half years has helped me a lot, via immersion, to learn how to say what I am wanting to say, in a way that others will hear it the way I want to say it.
Similarly, I have learned how to better understand what Mommy actually means versus what it naturally sounded like she was saying- because I was hearing hear with “man” ears.
I will always be very aware in helping you to speak. And I don’t just mean basic sentence structure and vocabulary, as I am right now with you only being 3 years old.
Basically, I mean for the rest of our shared lives- I will be here to help you know how to talk… like a man.
But more importantly, like a man who knows how to speak and listen in a way that is most efficiently understood by the listener; regardless of their gender.
Image By Scratch Wireless
Infographic by Image By Scratch Wireless
What career will your child have when he grows up? Find out.
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Wednesday, February 5th, 2014
2 years, 3 months.
It was seven years ago today that Mommy and I stopped simply being friends, when I basically tricked her into going on a date with me to that fateful John Mayer concert.
Since February 5, 2007, we have been together; that day was such a defining moment in my life.
That was seven years ago! We have been married five and a half years; and you’ve been around for the past 3 years and 2 months.
In this moment, as I step back and think about it, I am so not the same person I was seven years ago when Mommy and I went on our first date.
I may have been more optimistic back then, but I definitely was much less experienced in life- therefore, I was much more naïve, by default.
Not only have I changed, but so has Mommy. The two of us have become improved versions of ourselves throughout the character-building exercises of marriage and parenthood.
We are different people than we were on February 5, 2007. The challenging part is always making sure we continue to grow up together, not apart. That’s what real love is about; it doesn’t always come easy or automatic.
Real love has required me to be more sensitive to her needs and less sensitive to mine.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned how I took that Ninja Turtle quiz on Spike.com which proved to me what I had already predicted about my personality: I am Leonardo, the aggressive, yet reluctant leader.
But I am confident that, had I taken that quiz seven, or even 5, or 3 years ago, I would have been a Raphael:
“Charming, charismatic, and very good with people… Unfortunately, you’re driven almost primarily by emotion, often to your detriment… It puts you on the defensive a lot.”
My goal these days is to be the calm-assertive leader; to not react so emotionally to emotional situations and to not take things personally… even if that’s how they were meant.
I am learning to be a stronger man. I am learning what empathy means.
If only I knew all this stuff back when I was only 26… man, I could have been so much better of a husband and dad from the beginning, had I only had this mindset since 2007.
But that’s not how it works. Instead, it’s that annoying learning curve of love.
What I am learning is that family is about growing together, which means learning the hard way together about how to become wiser, more improved, and more humbled versions of ourselves; and to earn a better understanding of what love really is:
Being more giving and sharing of myself and being less expecting of those things from others.
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Sunday, November 3rd, 2013
2 years, 11 months.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a letter to you called “Family: A Witness To The Best And Worst Parts Of Life,” in which I explained how building a marriage and a family isn’t the cure for problems in life.
Our family of three is no different.
I’m pretty sure we have the same basic struggles and weaknesses as most families out there; despite the religous affiliation.
It’s just as easy for me to crop out the rough spots for social media, as the next parent on Facebook could- and instead, post a geniunely positive photo for everyone to see, as if the cloudy and stormy days never happened.
A strong marriage and family provides a more stable support unit for the good, the bad, and the ugly that makes up what life is all about. To me, that is real love and real life.
I also mentioned in my letter the importance of being the kind of love we want to receive. I told how love isn’t easy; it’s hard work, a true investment- not simply a given.
While others could surely and easily disagree with my wording, that’s how I see it.
And now, as I write this today, there’s a related blog post that is going viral. It’s so viral, it’s currently impossible to look at my Facebook news feed without seeing at least a half a dozen people of sharing it in any given hour.
I’m referring to a blog post, simply entitled, “Marriage Isn’t For You.”
The author, Seth Adam Smith, is not a famous writer; at least, if he wasn’t a famous writer before, he’s probably becoming one now. He managed to publish a simple, yet revolutionary idea that is totally resonating with people I know.
In the post, he quotes his father’s words of wisdom:
“Marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children… Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”
So perfectly said.
I think that like most people, I went into the article thinking it was going to explain that certain people just aren’t good at, or ready for, being married.
Instead, he totally surprised me with a fresh concept: Marriage isn’t for me.
This Seth Adam Smith guy is on to something. I’m going to be mindful of his (and his father’s) words for everyday of the rest of my life.
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Sunday, October 7th, 2012
Consciously attempting to give someone “I’m married” vibes is not something I am used to having to do.
After all, I have so forgettable of a face that even people who are “good with faces” have a hard time remembering meeting me the first time.
But a couple of months ago, there was I minding my own business at Starbucks during my lunch break, reading a book on how to read people, when a college-aged looking girl asked me to watch her laptop while she went to the restroom.
When she returned, with a deadpan delivery, I said something like, “Your laptop is still there, so I must have intimidated any potential laptop thieves.”
That was just my non-boring way of relieving my job duties now that she had returned. But maybe it sent a different message?
Barely a minute later, she dropped her pen, which happened to roll to my direction. So of course, I picked up it and handed it to her, barely even looking her in the eyes, as to make the favor as generic as possible.
Then she started asking questions, like if I was also a student. The thought of someone mistaking me for a 22 year-old caught me off guard. After all, when I turned 22, the year was 2003!
By this point, I knew officially that I needed to bring my left hand to my chin, as to flash my wedding ring to her like a Batman signal. To no avail.
The questions kept coming and she ended up asking me what I did for a living. Sure, I have a day job, but I felt it necessary to go ahead and cut straight to the chase:
“I write a daily blog column for a magazine’s website. It’s called Parents magazine.”
From there, I was able to throw in a “my wife and I” in conjunction to my son.
Whew. It was a relief to finally make that message clear: I’m married.
I was caught off-guard that day. I didn’t want to let the mystery continue for any longer than it needed to. At the same time though, I didn’t want to be rude to the nice and seemingly innocent girl.
It’s a delicate balance of being both direct and subtle in a case like this.
Personally, I don’t expect this to happen again anytime soon. Who knows? Maybe when I’m 42, someone will think I’m 31.
And if that’s the case, I’ll do the classic “left hand to the chin” move, followed by a “my wife and I.”
If that doesn’t work, I think I’ll just pick up my phone and casually give my wife a call right then and there.
Being flattered by a curious stranger who thinks I’m single; well, it does me no good.
There’s nothing good that can come out of me allowing myself to think for a second, “Man, I still got it. This chick digs me.”
That’s one of the many reasons I wear my wedding ring; especially when my wife and son aren’t around.
It’s an instant reminder, as if I needed it, that I already have a beautiful girl who digs me, and I’ve been married to her for over 4 years.
These days, it’s not always enough to give “I’m married” vibes.
Sometimes you have to give the “I’m happily married” vibes instead.
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