The misadventures of a first time father

Category Archives: Journalism

ImageExpect the unexpected sometimes.

I was recently contacted by the folks with “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” who had stumbled across this blog and asked me if I would be a guest contributor/blogger for their companion website.

I had a great time and certainly hope it’s the first of many.

The result is this piece reflecting on all of the cartoons from my own youth that I can’t wait to watch with my son when he’s old enough:

http://www.whattoexpect.com/wom/toddler/saturday-mornings-ain-t-what-they-used-to-be.aspx

I hope you get the chance to check it out.

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© Copyright 2013 CorbisCorporationAs years have passed and I’ve moved from high school student to college student, part-time worker to full-time worker, then full-time worker in the news business (which is a 24/7 business), becoming a parent (another 24/7 job), I have found my window of free time shrinking more and more. That has meant less time for family, fr friends, and for bring creative.

When you are drowned in your work from the moment you open your eyes, with emails, texts, calls, etc. until you go to bed at night, there is little time left for bonding, let alone to let your mind travel to that creative place it visited so much in the past.

I think that’s why I get so sad when I see old work or writings by my younger self.

I’ll be so proud at how imaginative it is. Then, I’ll realize how I haven’t been that creative in so long and I wonder if I’m doomed to a day-to-day hamster wheel that leaves my imagination outside of the cage.

WP_000088That’s why I leapt at the chance to take a workshop with writer J.M. DeMatteis back in May. With my wife’s encouragement, I headed out-of-town for a few days of creativity, writing and a re-awakening of something inside me thought to be long gone.

Called Imagination 101, I was among a small group of very talented individuals, spending our days, brainstorming, creating, encouraging and feeding off of each other’s energy. It was wonderful and it reminded me that if you don’t flex your imagination like a muscle, it will become just as flabby.

Even if it’s a little bit of time each day, it can make all the difference in the world. I admit it’s very hard to do, but I continue to try. I usually write after the little guy has gone to sleep or if I wake up on a weekend before he and my wife do.

What had happened over time was that, due to the lack of time, I would begin to look at a writing project that I once was so excited about as just one more thing on my to-do list. When that happens, it becomes drudgery, it became work.

If there is one thing for me to have walked away from the Imagination 101 workshop with, it’s that writing should be like play. If you can get back in touch with your nine-year old self and make whatever you’re writing the same kind of fun it was then, to make it like play, then your pilot light of creativity will never go out.

WP_000090

I thank J.M. so much for his inspiration and the encouragement of those in the workshop with me – Noah, Raymond, Nicole and David – you all helped me go back to the ‘real world’ with a recharged battery and a rejuvenated sense of confidence in my creativity.

Like Golden Age superhero Johnny Quick and his magical formula for super-speed, J.M. gave us a formula to keep that fire of imagination going:

Imagination + Creativity = Play


I’ve mentioned previously here and there that I work in a newsroom by day. That can have some pretty high-energy days, but can certainly have some depressing ones based on the content.

This is what awaited me at my day job Wednesday.

Missing Levon

As I had to read the words of this story during a newscast, I was feeling physically ill inside from the entire situation and the questions, possibilities and theories that go along with it.

This may look a little familiar if you’ve seen cable or network news in the past few days, as the story has now gone national. It started here, though, right in my own hometown.

The day this happened, I came into work late. I had been volunteering at a fundraiser breakfast for a local historical society with my wife and little boy in attendance. As we left, I got a text message from my boss: “police press conference. Missing baby.”

My heart sank as I looked in the backseat and saw my little guy, only two months older than this child. When I eventually got to work and started the newscast, I was dumbfounded.

The mother was gone before the child disappeared. The father hadn’t reported the kid missing for two weeks. Two weeks?! And he did so only after a confrontation about the child’s whereabouts from grandparents who were getting suspicious?!

I follow our little guy around the living room afraid he might bump his head, and someone left a baby out on a porch by themselves at nine months old? Things don’t add up, the police have admitted it doesn’t add up, and the saga and search continues as the national media begin to turn their spotlight on our area.

If something DID happen to this child, as is often being implied or theorized, I can’t help but wonder why things are so unfair. We have friends who are going through hoops and hoops in an effort to adopt. They have all the love in the world to give and are going through everything to be deemed acceptable for it to happen. Yet, there are parents giving birth to children who they won’t give an ounce of care or attention to. I just don’t understand it.

Not that my wife and I ever feel like we take our son for granted, but it generated a lot of conversation between the two of us about just how lucky we are.

He may have bad days (don’t we all?) and he may be a bit challenging, but even on his worst days, we are still do incredibly blessed that he is here and he is safe and he is with us.

Hug your little ones extra tight tonight, please. I know I did.


© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporationThis past weekend I turned 33 and one of the things everybody asks me is “what did you do for your birthday?”

The non-intrusive answer is “spent time with the family,” but the real answer is – I got sick. And so did Meg. And so was the baby.

It’s oddly becoming a bit of a yearly tradition for the household to get sick when my birthday rolls around. If it hasn’t been me one year, it’s been Meg. If not her, me. It goes back and forth. Only this time, we had an entire household hacking and wheezing and blowing our nose. For the record, the baby hates it when you wipe boogies from his nose and face.

We made the best of it, even though the baby was pretty cranky. I can’t say I blame him. When I get sick, I get miserable. I hate feeling that way, so for someone so small and new to the world, I can’t imagine what it must be like to deal with a sore throat, a cough, mucus, etc, ESPECIALLY when you can’t tell people how awful you feel other than with a cry or scream.

starman omnibus 5I got some nice shirts and a tie for work from Meg and the little guy, as well as two graphic novels I’m really looking to delve into (Madame Xanadu by Matt Wagner, and a volume of the Starman Omnibus by James Robinson). 

So, while birthday dinner consisted of some beef vegetable soup and tea, with birthday cake Meg made for dessert (although she made some delicious steak the following night), we spent it together. We watched some TV, we did some laundry, we relaxed with the baby (when he’d allow it of course), but the important thing is, we did it all as a family.

I guess The family that’s sick together stays together.

The next day I was committed to a meet and a greet at a Home Show in casino event center about 45 minutes or so away. So, with cups of tea firmly in my hand, I plowed through, said hello to some folks, took a good ribbing from others who wondered why the heck I was there promoting myself and the news station I work for, but generally had a nice time.

After that, I caught up with some good friends I hadn’t seen in a while for a lunch (mine consisting of soup and water, of course, with the current state of things). This is the same crew who I occasionally hit up a comic show with. These days, schedules as a parent have just not been conducive to really catching up with folks the way I used to, so it was nice to see them for a little bit, and geek out over what comic titles we were reading that had been cancelled, who was working on what projects, and just what they were each up to in their lives. They’re good people, and I’m glad that we still find time, even if it’s only occasionally, to catch up.

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation

Not Me – random stock image of ‘man coughing’

Today, I was off from work and took advantage of the time to go to a nearby Urgent Care Center where they determined I have Bronchitis.

I’m not the type to really take medicine if I don’t have to, but this thing has been knocking me on my butt for days now. In fact, last night, I found myself unable to even take full breaths, and felt like I had a weight sitting on my chest. So I submitted to the prescription and will be heading back to work in the morning, hopefully on somewhat of a road to recovery.


During one of our favorite weekend rituals (a cup of tea and watching CBS Sunday Morning), I came across this report that I really found interesting. I thought you might too:

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50137957n

(sorry. WordPress won’t allow me to directly embed the video, but please give it a click and a watch)

It’s amazing to see how truly color blind (and that’s a good thing) we were when it came to our children. Leave it to the marketing folks and the manufacturers to find a way to not only make some extra cash on our kids, but change an entire cultural mindset to do so.

It’s sort of like mass-hypnosis when you think about it. Quite frightening when you think about it too much…


ImageToday has been tough.

It’s been my first day returning to work following the arrival of our little guy.

I knew it wouldn’t be easy, and I understand the necessity of it, as being without a job and an income is not exactly helpful to my wife, or my son. So, there is an inherent sense of responsibility that comes along with the little man.

While I wasn’t looking forward to it, I know it hit Meg very hard as I left this morning. With tears in her eyes, and our little boy in her arms, they said goodbye to me for the day and waved to me out the window.

I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to spend ten days with them since his birth, and they have been the best ten days of my life so far. I dreaded the countdown with each day that meant that I wouldn’t be around to help with his diapers, get laundry done while she nursed, or do the dishes when she tried to rest for a few minutes during his naps.

I’ve spent these ten days building an incredible bond with this little person, and strengthened the bond with my wife. So, leaving that behind this morning and heading back into the newsroom where I work has not been the easiest of transitions.

However, while it’s given me a great amount of sadness, it has also given me a great amount of motivation. It inspires me to work even harder, become even more dedicated, to creating a quality of life for my family that is better than what we have. It has made me realize that what stands between me and being a write-from-home dad and husband instead of a write-from-the-newsroom dad is my own dedication and motivation. I want my son to know that doing what you enjoy in life is more than just what people say, it’s something that can be yours. I want him to see from the example I will set that you can create your own career destiny.

Don’t get me wrong, as I know sometimes, it could be taken that I “hate my job,” which is not the case. I have a great boss, and I make a decent living (or at least enough to get by with the student loan debt I unfortunately have). However, it’s never been where my passion lies. I set out to be a writer. Yes, I write, but it’s a more technical form of writing or re-writing of other people’s work throughout the day. What I want, though, is that dream of writing from my home office, of being there for my family while still earning a living for them.

You can want something until the cows come home, and yes, you can work on it a little here and a little there. However, forming a plan, knowing the path, knowing what you need to get there, and most importantly, having those motivations, those people who you want to do it for, that’s an entirely different thing all together.

They’ve given me something to strive for, and I aim to reach it.


My wife recently had a dream.

In it, she says that we ended up having a little girl, and that as she got older, she decided she wanted to be a journalist. In the dream, she says this caused an incredible rift between the daughter and myself, as the many years in journalism professionally made me none too kind to the career prospect for my offspring.

According to my wife’s dream, this then created a falling out and my daughter and I were on non-speaking terms as she went forward with the career she wanted, and I did all I could to talk her out of it.

I’ve worked in different realms of journalism for a few years now. From newspapers to online content to television news, there’s always some sort of struggle and conflict.  Whether it’s the age-old struggle of journalism versus the business interests (let’s not forget that many media companies are privately owned), the ever-concerned bottom line (otherwise there will be no paychecks), or the massive egos and condescending personalities of others in the business.

At the end of the day, though, you make it through. You put food on the table for your family, you put gas in the car for another week, and maybe, just maybe, you’ve hopefully made a difference somewhere, even if there’s those around you who don’t feel a story was “worth doing” or questions its validity.

I wish there were more moments like that, but, hey, you take little victories where you can.

These thoughts and expressions are commonplace in our household with my career choice, and so I don’t find it all that surprising that it would weigh on my wife’s subconscious mind and start seeping into her dreams.

Fortunately, our child hasn’t even been born yet (any day now), we don’t know if it will be a girl or a boy, and their career paths are still a long ways off.

However, the dream definitely made me think about when that day comes that they set out on their career goals. I hope my real life self can be a bit more understanding and selfless than the version in my wife’s dream.



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