The misadventures of a first time father

Tag Archives: Marriage

Bar Busy with peopleSit down, kids, and I’ll tell you a story.

One of the greatest things I ever did was to take a low point in my life and esteem and turn it into motivation to focus on time for myself, and getting back in touch with things I enjoyed.

I was in my late 20s, single, and going through what might have been classified in retrospect as a form of depression. A good portion of that time was admittedly spent going out, drinking, dating, and in some form or another, always landing right back to the same starting point again, rinse and repeat. I also (being able to look back retrospectively and introspectively on myself) was not my best self and feel that I lacked a bit of maturity and awareness of the world outside my own interests and vision. Perhaps a symptom of my age at the time, perhaps just something that develops through our life experiences. But I’m glad I can see and admit that now.

I wasn’t happy and at the time I looked at many outside factors as things that might potentially make me happy. Only now, almost but not quite 15 years later, am I able to have the perspective to realize that nothing, not a thing that I could have obtained (a different job, a different living space, a relationship with XY or Z), none of it would have actually made a difference.

Because now I’m incredibly fortunate enough to realize that happiness can’t be found in any particular thing. You can chase it, but if you get it, you’ll find yourself still struggling to understand why you’re not better. That’s because being happy comes from something much closer to home. It can only be found within oneself. It’s in your outlook, your mindset, your gratitude for the good in life and letting it tip the scale on the bad.

Hand holding remote controlOne particular Fall/Winter season, after a few of those vicious cycles, I decided it was time to pull back and focus on a new way and a new focus, namely myself. I didn’t go out. I’d come home to my apartment after work, get cozy, make some food, watch some television or read, maybe work on something creative, and call it a night.

To some I think it might have looked like turning into a hermit, but for me at the time, it was refocusing my energies back onto time for myself and things I enjoyed. Quiet time. A time to get back in touch with myself again.

I tried theatre again – something I hadn’t done at that point since high school. Eventually that led to a small part at a playhouse I had never heard of about a half hour away. A friend had suggested to me that I give it a try. There, I met a wonderful group of people in what seemed like a rag tag group of performers trying their best with minimal resources to put on a show (paralleling a similar type of circumstance in the play’s story itself). And among that crew was a new friend – well, sort of. She’d make fun of me a lot. And I’d often leave thinking “that girl is so weird.”

Theatre stage curtain seatsBut, we were becoming friends.

About five or six months later, another play came around at the same playhouse and having had such a fun experience, I tried again. Lo and behold, “that weird girl” and I were both in the cast again and we found our friendship beginning to grow.

By the time the show’s run ended a few months later, we must have realized that we liked each other because I asked her out to a touring production of a Broadway show that came through town.

And I guess the rest, as they say, is history. Three-kids later history.

The realization to look inward for my happiness, that season of reconnecting with myself led me somewhere I never would have guessed, and somewhere I wouldn’t change for the world.

And that, kids, is how I met your mother.


declarationWhile cleaning my desk in our home office, I came across an interesting little item.

When a baby enters the picture, so much of your focus goes into what it takes to be good parents, that it can be easy to forget about what it takes to be good spouses.

Upon our return from our honeymoon a few years ago, my wife and I  grabbed breakfast at a greasy little diner. There, we looked back on the road trip through Vermont in the fall we had just completed to celebrate our marriage and looked to the road that lie ahead.

It was at that moment that we decided to grab hold of those fresh-off-a-wedding-and-honeymoon emotions and make a little reminder for the rest of our lives.

With that, we grabbed a napkin and scrawled down the following, and much like our forefathers jotting down the framework of our soon to be country, we created in those moments our “Declaration of a Happy Marriage”…

10/13/2010

*When it’s time to have kids, take them into our lifestyle, not create a new lifestyle for them.

*Keep eating healthy

*Be happy for what we have, but no excuses not to dream.

*Get out of ruts

*Have friends over.

*Take the time for date nights.

*Appreciate one another.

*When we fight, remember our vows.

*Do/say something kind every day.

*Help with and/or support each other’s dreams and attempts at achieving them.


© Copyright 2012 CorbisCorporationYou can take a lot for granted before you have a kid.

Before our son was born, I never thought of how easily we would come and go from the house, run an errand here and there, pick up some groceries, or grab a bite to eat, without giving it a second thought.

Now, going to the grocery store is like planning the storming of Normandy.

A date night? Well, they don’t even really come into play, at least not this early in our little guy’s career as a being on Earth.

However, the exception was this past week when, for the first time since he was born, my wife and I actually got a chance to go out and have a night of our own. While the little one spent some quality time with one of his grandmas, we went out to dinner, and then caught a performance of “A Chorus Line” on its tour stop in town.

It seemed a little weird, the whole night. At dinner, while we both thoroughly enjoyed the meal (we both ordered steak, so this MUST have been a big night) there was the occasional “you think he’s okay?” sprinkled throughout our conversations, the glancing at the phones to make sure there were no messages.

After dinner, we went to the theatre, she checked in via phone and things were going all right except for the usual fussiness, and then we enjoyed the show.

CHORUS LINEI had never seen “A Chorus Line.” Meg had caught it in NYC some years ago, but it was all new to me. At first, I was sort of skeptical, finding the opening number just a tad too long for my liking and leaving me wondering if I was going to make it through the whole story.

I like when I’m pleasantly surprised, though. Once the characters started revealing themselves and the story took shape, I really ended up having a great time and enjoying the show. Don’t judge a book by its cover…or a show by its opening tune, I suppose.

When the curtain fell, we walked back to the car and hit the road, wondering the whole ride if we had been out too late, if he was okay the rest of the night, and if he had driven grandma to drink.

Upon our arrival, he was asleep in bed and all was well with the world.

Before we became parents, it was nothing to say ‘I’m just going to run to the store’ or ‘let’s go grab some dinner.’ Heck, if you go back to when we were dating, we went out without a thought all the time.

During all those periods of life, you never give a thought to the amount of leeway and freedom you have in the decisions you make and can choose at a split second. Honestly, why would you back then?

Now, there’s a lot more planning, a lot more shifting of the to-do lists.

But, it certainly makes you enjoy those rare date nights a lot more when the chance arises.



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