Tuesday, November 8, 2016

An Open Letter to My Voting Daughter - 16 Years in Advance

My darling, sweet daughter,
I write this to you while my heart swells with hope and civic pride. We are just now seeing the end of a very long political campaign for POTUS that was one of the most contentious in recent history and I am relieved it's finally over. Today, I went with your mom to vote (something we hope you will do at every opportunity you have). In the history of our country, women were not granted the same right (to vote) as men until 1920 (144 years after our country was founded), and in some Southern US States, black women didn't have the right to vote until some 40+ years later (the 1960's). In truth, there are still many undercurrents of this inequality as I write this to you today (in 2016). The women's rights movement that fought for this did so for around 70 years, to get the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution passed. We are coming up on the 100th anniversary of this and you will only be 4 years old, still 14 years from voting age. But today, your Mummum and I got to cast our vote for a great number of things, the most significant of which is the leader of our great nation. I am proud to say that I voted for the first woman presidential candidate, and I am also proud to say I did not vote for her because she was a woman. I voted for her because I thought she was the candidate best fit for the position. No, I certainly don't love every policy, every platform, nor did I enjoy the process to get where we are today, but all of that will pale in comparison to the fact that she made it this far. Like any individual/group who is discriminated against (whether by the color of their skin, their gender, their sexual preference, etc.), she stood strong in the face of that opposition. I was quite astounded by many of her adversaries who openly tried to sway voters in a political argument by saying "you're just voting for her because she's a woman" which to me, in many ways, demonstrated that they themselves weren't voting for her for that exact reason (or why else would one attempt to bully with such a comment). The bottom line is this, Hilary is the first female (candidate), and she won't be the last. Once Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, it opened the doors to many other talented athletes to be considered. Sure, #42 had to endure a great many horrific things which included death threats, belittlement, and abhorrent treatment, but he felt it important to stand up against the face of bigotry and discrimination. It's why his number is the only number retired by all Major League Baseball teams. Hilary, at worst, has opened the door to the White House to any American girl who dreams of it, and at best, she's the pioneer who could be the first elected to serve in that oval office. Dream big, my darling daughter. The world is changing in many ways, but in my eyes it's a good time to be a strong, driven woman. You only need look as far as your mother to see a shining example of that.

In closing, I invite you to hold precious your right to vote, Bardot. Hold precious ALL of your rights, which includes your human rights, which say that you are equal to every man (no greater, no lesser) as you strive to be the best human being you can be. Always stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves. Always. Speak from your heart, and I will always be here to stand behind you win or lose.

I love you, I believe in you, and I am so proud to be your dad...

Friday, February 6, 2015

Baby BAMF Turns 1 Month and Why Parents Celebrate the First 24 Months

We made it!!! We kept Bardot alive for a whole month! And we didn't kill each other in the process!
I fell asleep on top of Spirit, Bardot fell asleep on top of me. Spirit: WTF!?
After the first month of life obliterating alterations, we finally realized why people tell you how old their infant is in months for the first 2 years, it isn't that the infant survived that long, but that the parents survived those months. My eyes have been opened to this new world, new paradigm, and I am celebrating that Kate & I are still in one piece.

I nearly died last Tuesday of a massive panic attack. We were driving to San Clemente to retrieve newly screened jerseys for our Coyote Running programs, and on the drive down Bardot spit up in her car seat. Kate was driving, I was in the passenger seat, our pup Spirit was along for the ride, and baby BAMF spit up, and it plugged her nose and went partially down her windpipe. The coughing sounded so strange, and when I looked at the mirror we placed on the headrest above her, she wasn't breathing, her face was red and eyes seemed to be bulging. I unbuckled, jumped in the back to unstrap her and when I got face-to-face with her the expression on her face broke my heart 1,000 times (and sent my panic into hyperdrive). I put her on my shoulder and burp patted her back until she coughed everything up, then used the suction bulb syringe to clear her nostrils.

Babies are resilient, I'm quite positive of that when examining the world's skyrocketing population numbers, not to mention the variance of conditions infants and toddlers and children are raised in all over our globe. And obviously, this probably wasn't a true life threatening situation. But holy crap, a little moment like that is quite sobering.

We had parental meltdowns #5 and #6 tonight. Double-meltdown #2. It's roughest when you don't feel like your partner is in your corner, i.e. you're both drained/wiped/depleted so nobody can pick up the slack for the other. I should be sleeping right now, I guess. Tomorrow is another day...

BAMF's first dress - thanks Auntie Ta'Mara!
How many cute faces can I make? Infinity. Plus one!
Was running out the door. Nope. Diaper needs changin'

Even asleep, she owns me.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Baby Laundry Trumps the Super Bowl and Postpartum Depression Support

Moment after the moment I realized I had a daughter. Oh F**K...

It's official. The thing the universe has been preparing me for all these years, creating life and becoming a father, it's real. No more dreaming about it. It's game time. I have a little BAMF on my hands.

Baby BAMF 'dunking' over me. AGAIN.
Being a new father, figuratively speaking I feel like I've been put into an NBA basketball game. I know how to play the game of basketball, I understand the rules and objective of the game, but I'm no basketball player, let alone NBA caliber player.

It's Game 1 (month 1 of fatherhood), and I'm being tasked with guarding LeBron James. Bardot is about as cute as LeBron is good at slam dunking over guys. ESPN analysts often say a younger (NBA) player sometimes forgets he's playing against LeBron and there's a split second of watching this unreal talent and boom, the young player gets dunked over. It's a highlight reel, SportsCenter Top 10 in your face dunk. I have already lost countless hours this month just staring at Bardot, and she keeps dunking on me, and it just isn't fair. I feel so ill prepared for this. Again, I understand what I'm to do conceptually, but why do I have to guard the most important player in the league right outta the gate!?

Helping me sort the clean laundry.
Right now, I'm doing the laundry. It's not just any day mind you, the second half of the Super Bowl is currently happening (and it's a close game). I care more about having clean clothing, fresh burping cloths and swaddling blankets than I do seeing Tom Brady get a 4th title ring or Russell Wilson win his second Super Bowl in a row. This little 4 week old owns me. I'm kinda partial to her mom too, for what that's worth.

This month hasn't been a honeymoon, though. Amidst all the cute Bardot sleeping pics have been some tough transitional moments. It really isn't the lost sleep. It isn't my wifes' moments of melting down into the fetal position because she feels helpless, or the similar moment when I fell asleep on a hotel floor with Bardot crying on my chest. What's truly brutal are those moments when you're trying to be the best dad you can be and you're under fire. The baby's upset, mama's chemically imbalanced, we're all sleep deprived and trying to calm a tense situation down. PPD is real, and folks, it doesn't just affect the hormonally imbalanced woman. Both husband and wife are going through a meat grinder transition to a new life, new routines that start with pure chaos. The more I reach out and look for resources and support groups, the more I see nothing really developed for men. Reading the blogs, articles on parenting sites, experts and experienced parents all basically say, "guys, buckle up, suck it up, and be tough" to which I'm gonna say is complete bullshit. How do I become a better support structure for my family (and struggling wife) if I have zero support structures available to me, to better support her? Consider that a hypothetical question, but if you know of some resources I'm overlooking, holla at a dadda, yo! (UPDATE: one resource found -----> http://www.PostpartumDads.org/ )
No help for dadda? Whaaaaaaa???

At the very least, I'm creating this blog to be an outlet to explore what it is to be a modern day dad, facing the challenges and loopholes, struggles and triumphs of fatherhood courageously, tenaciously and with a lot of love and a little swagger. We're nearly at Month 1. And I have a beautiful and healthy baby girl. Mom is great most of the time, and I have had my moments of melting down too. I'm here to share them with anyone who's interested.

Peace out for this post. Now for some more cute Bardot, KAMF & Spirit pics...

This shoulder looks delicious.

Upset Bardot gets tag team kisses from Spirit & Dadda

A gorgeous day in Ventura (our first road trip)!

Practicing our yoga frog pose?

Mama on a peaceful morning