Daddy Duties – Part 2

Yesterday was my day with my son. Today I got to celebrate being a dad with my daughter.

After picking her up at her university and helping her partially move out of her dorm, Natalie accompanied me on several errands I needed to run. The first stop was the post office. We then headed over to the DMV so I could surrender the license plate of my car that was totalled in my accident. From there, our grumbling stomachs lead us to Panda Express. Then off to the credit union so Natalie could move her accounts from being U-13 (kids accounts) to her own, stand-alone accounts now that she’s eighteen years old. Following a quick stop at Target Optical to pick up replacement frames for the ones that were broken in my car accident, we headed home.

If I had trouble yesterday wrapping my brain around the fact my son will soon be seventeen, it was surreal at times having conversations with my adult daughter. The cliche is true: I still see her as my little baby girl. I still think of her in terms of picking her up from elementary school and taking her to dance recitals and soccer games. I still think of Natalie is terms of how old she was when she met Lee, and how she’s had over a decade of having both a mom and a step-mom in her life. She’s doing what I’ve always wanted her to do; flying out on her own and being her own woman. I just didn’t realize I wouldn’t be ready for it.

The last two days have been such a blessing. I will cherish this time I’ve shared with my kids. In the near future, Lee and I will board a plane to the D.R. and it will be an excruciatingly long time before I get a chance to do this again. But until that day comes, I will jump at every opportunity to still be a dad to my kids.

Daddy Duties – Part 1

I really do enjoy ‘being there’ for my kids. Especially now that they are older and have their respective significant others and it’s sometimes hard for me to get on their calendar. But with having been out of town for a couple of weeks, coming home and hanging with my kids is a great feeling.

Today I got to drive my son to his math final. It’s a dual-enrollment class at Pasco Hernando State College, and the exam was at the West Campus of PHSC. In short, it was about an hour’s drive with traffic. When I previously drove him to his mid-term, I ignored Google and we arrived 5 minutes after his exam started.

Today, I would not make the same mistake. I adhered to Google’s directions and we arrived fifteen minutes early On the drive both to and from, Danny and I got to talk about planning for his upcoming Senior year in high school. We talked about college planning and how he’s well positioned to get a full Bright Futures scholarship so long as he keeps his GPA up. We spent all of three seconds talking about his relationship with his girlfriend, and the pivoted to how he’ll be attending the Thirty Seconds to Mars concert in June.

The great thing about today was that it never felt like a chore. Although he could have driven himself to his exam, I eagerly wanted to take him. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation, and I am still flabbergasted that in one week he will be seventeen years old.

Being a dad has its challenges, but when you get to be a mentor and consultant to a bright young man whom you helped create, there is no greater feeling in the world.

Dad In Progress

So my son informed me he registered for an online gaming tournament, but he was very vague and non-specific with the details. I don’t think he was deliberately trying to hide anything. Rather, he still doesn’t see things from the perspective I do as a dad (what’s the tournament?, what’s the URL?, is there a fee?, what type of personal information, if any did you provide?, etc.)

So I turned to reddit​ to try and research it. I tend to shy away from reddit because sometimes you need a thick skin to navigate the comments, but the users were really helpful and supportive.


Then I got to these comments. The both filled and broke my heart at the same time.




I think I am a pretty cool dad, but I am by no means perfect. For as tough as I used to be with my kids, I know I’ve gotten a little soft these last couple of years. Still, I am very proud of the job my ex-wife, my current wife, and I have done in bringing up the two stellar, well behaved, and loving young adults that are my children.

Still, the road ahead is long, and they – as sixteen and fourteen year-olds – have the most challenging time in their lives yet to come. Sports radio personality Colin Cowherd once said it best about this age for kids. “You stop being a parent and you start being a consultant.”

I think there’s a lot of truth to that, but how I really see myself right now is as an enabler of dreams. I still have a lot of responsibility to make sure they’re getting good grades in school, behaving, staying out of trouble, etc., but I also need to continue asking what they want to do when they grow up, where do they see themselves in ten years, and what their dreams are. Then, I need to work my tail off to help steer them in that direction.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to being a good parent, except to say love them, learn from them, let them develop into who they want to be. Because life’s not a video game and there’s no reset button.


Very Good Indeed

My house feels like a continual work in progress. There’s always something that needs to get done, some project that needs to be finished. Last summer, we had the main room of the house repainted, and we still haven’t gotten around to putting up the pictures frames, etc. we took down in order to have the room painted. Like a said … a continual work in progress.


Today, however, I got a lot done to getting closer to where I want my house to be. My mother-in-law, who lives with us, downsized her bed from a double to a twin. So not only did I have to put together her new bed with bookcase headboard, I also moved her previous bed into my daughter’s room. The positive aspect is that it was definitely an upgrade for Natalie (she had been sleeping on a day bed I obtained before she was even born), but the negative was we had to clean out and rearrange her room first.

So between Daniel helping me put together the new bed (think Ikea assembly work) and Natalie getting rid of her old, little girl stuff, it was a very busy day. But it was wonderful because I go to share it all with my kids. There’s something special about having my not-so-little helpers and sharing those experiences with them. I caught myself looking at my daughter and having the realization that two short years from now I’ll be preparing for her to go off to college. I need as many of these special days as I can get, especially when you consider they live at their mother’s house and my time with them is limited at best.

So we finished all the work and went out for a well deserved dinner. Upon returning, I helped Natalie put the sheets on her new bed, and I finished moving the remaining miscellaneous items from her room. In that grouping was one item I had completely forgotten I had taken down when we had our main room painted last summer.


How appropriate that on this Good Friday, the Holy Spirit directed me to rediscovering the crucifix. I’ve been working to encapsulate my day to day in God, to start and end my day with Him. As my evening came to a close, it was a beautiful reminder of how much He loves me and the sacrifice He made for my benefit. I work and strive to give my kids everything they need, but it is all microscopic compared to what God does to provide for me.

 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”Romans 5:8 NIV

Changing of the Guard (?)

Uncertainty can be so uncomfortable. What’s next? Will we do this? What about that? I love having a plan, and like John “Hannibal” Smith of the A-Team, I love it when a plan comes together.

When things don’t happen according to plan, however, it can be easy to get lost in the chaos.

Right now, we’re in the middle of a transition period with my daughter and her path as a young, competitive soccer player. There are decisions to be made. There are adjustments to be considered. There is a valley of uncertainty we need to cross.

Normally, I’d be wallowing in my own anxiety. I don’t really care for uncertainty. I’m reminded of a time when my wife suggested we spontaneously get in the car and drive to South Florida. She thought it would be ‘fun’ to just drive until we get tired and then find a hotel along the way. My furrowed brow must’ve said all that needed to be said, because she could immediately tell I was not understanding the words coming out of her mouth.

“So you’re saying we don’t need a reservation first?” I asked incredulously.

“No. We just pull into a hotel and tell them we need a room.”

“People do that?”

With the situation with my daughter, I WANT to know what will come next. What will be the changes with for next season? What will be my daughter’s decision with regards to school versus club sports? Is she going to re-dedicate herself to what’s she’s been working on for the last four to five years?

But all this is like going to the movies and wanting to fast forward to the end just as the movie starts. What fun would that be? What makes a movie great is the story it tells throughout. There are ups and downs. There are plot twists. There are moments that will scare you, anger you, and relieve you.

Life is the same way.

In my faith journey, I’ve learned to replace anxiety with the perspective of anticipation; anticipation in finding out how God – the master screenwriter – will reveal the story’s eventual ending to me. It’s a reminder that just because things are not going great now, they won’t be great again later. It’s in these moments of anxiety that I’ve learned I’m in the middle of a story that still needs to play out.

That’s not to say there are no decisions to make. God calls us to work so that we arrive at where it is He wants us to be. I need to be patient and supportive with my daughter as she weighs her options going forward. I need to find the healthful balance between pushing her too hard and being blasé as a dad. I need to provide counsel, yet ensure the decisions she makes are indeed hers. 

I need to remember the end of the chapter is still off in the distance.

So we will press forward in prayer and in the knowledge that anxiety is useless, especially when we have faith in the story He’s written for us.

What's Next

202/365 So Long For Now

Tomorrow morning my kids head off for a 10 day vacation in North Carolina with their mom and her family. It’s always tough being apart from my kids for an extended period of time, but I am so happy of how they get to take in so many new places and experiences.

So before I kick off a week sans the kiddos, we went out for dinner and some family hang out time.

It’s going to be long week.