Father’s Day Reflections

Happy Father’s Day, to all of my fellow dads! Today I’m reflecting on my 10th time being honored on this day and my second as a single dad after an unexpected divorce.

In the last 18 months of being a single dad, I’ve had to grapple with the fact that I’m now prevented from keeping my original promise when they were born: I would always be there for them. I’ve had to adjust that promise from always being physically present to being emotionally and spiritually present in their lives. Often I feel guilty about the situation they’re in, and the ways they’ve been asked to adjust, in some ways, grow up more quickly than I would have hoped. I never asked to be a co-parent, and they never asked to split time between homes, yet here we all are.

Shannon and I were talking about Father’s Day and how ironic that many celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Days by the spouse giving the honoree the day off, away from parental duties. However, now being a single father, the parental duties are what made it an incredible Father’s Day. While it was still jarring to wake up without my daughters, with no Father’s Day snuggles, having them over in the morning and cooking breakfast together was a blessing. It touched my heart to get handwritten cards from them with beautiful messages. I loved playing Just Dance with them and having them make fun of my dancing abilities. I loved helping Clara make the Banana Ice Cream she had been wanting to make for weeks, then making them lunch. In the morning that we spent together, I had no downtime – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As a single parent, I’ve really come to appreciate the love conveyed through the mundane tasks of each day, and how everyday activities become opportunities for learning and expressing love. I’ve learned that my love language is doing nice things for others, and I relish every opportunity to express it for my daughters.

It wasn’t easy when 12:30 rolled around and I realized that my allotted “Father’s Day” time was over, and now they return to the normal co-parenting schedule: my weekend without them. These long stretches, when I’m without my kids, try my soul. I’ve managed to fill the void with a lot of healthy outlets, relationships, and activities, but it still feels like a big part of my heart is missing until my girls are back home.

It goes without saying that I realize I’ll always be their Father, and my girls know that I’m only a video call away – but there is no replacing the joy I experience when I get to share the same space with them. I’m grateful that I got to spend Father’s Day parenting my daughters and relish every chance I get.

Friday Tech Roundup: New Parent Tech

So my tech roundup  is a bit late due to my adventures in new parenthood. As you can imagine, I’ve been pretty much out of the tech news stream (and I also think it’s been a slow week due to the July 4th holiday), but I’ve made a lot of tech discoveries being the first time parent of a newborn.

When I haven’t been holding m new daughter or catching up on sleep, I’ve committed some thought towards how we want to capture and share our special moments.  I’m not sure if Facebook is the best vehicle for this, in large part that I’m not quite sure if I have a true awareness – let alone control of – who would see all of the content.  I use Facebook as a social media public face, and am extremely sensitive to Facebook over-posting.  Given this stance, splashing multiple pictures and videos per day is the last thing I want to do.

However, I do recognize that there is a segment of people in our lives (namely our families and friends who live further away), who wouldn’t mind an avalanche of pictures.  So with that I have prepared two vehicles for social media sharing:

  • Clara’s Tumblr Page – I think Tumblr provides the perfect vehicle for the two of us to submit these bit-sized chunks that Clara-admirers can scroll to their hearts content. The app is a joy to use, and I love that the both of us have an easy way to publish.
  • Flickr – Given that Picasa is all but dead, folded into Google+, and that I currently use Google+ as a de-facto backup for my phone’s pictures, I’ve decided to use Flickr.  I love Google+ in concept, but the reality is that their notification system is too overreaching. I’d like to think I’m a reasonably smart guy when it comes to technology, but I still can’t figure out how to post things to my circles without them receiving a notification (be it in email or on Google+). I’d like to simply push content out and if people see it: that’s great – don’t notify them.  Anyway, so I’m back with Flickr, and do think their re-design is pretty compelling. The only problem I have is that Flickr has become a virtual ghost town, I’m not sure if people are viewing these images or not.  Oh well. I’ll keep pushing my higher quality images to Clara’s Flickr Set.

Speaking of pictures, I can’t rave enough about the Nikon D7000 that we bought for the baby.  My hope was that we’d have a camera that could take some high quality images, but not be too difficult to use. For the most part I’ve been keeping the camera in “Manual” and have produced some images that have made us pretty happy. I’m excited to learn more about the camera and start playing with some other lenses.

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On the email front, I borrowed the “Dear Sophie” idea in the Google Commercial only to find that I had to lie about Clara’s age in order to create an account. I understand there are terms of service, but I found it a little surprising that Google advertised a method of using Gmail that requires you to break their terms of service.  So yes, Clara now has an email address that I’m hoping to periodically contribute to.

Mobility speaking, there have been two apps that have been pretty helpful during Clara’s first week of life: iBaby and White Noise Lite.  We’ve been using iBaby to track all of the feedings and diaper changes, and the only major complaint I have is its (or any similar apps) inability to share this data across the cloud in some way.  I’d love for both Bethany and I to be able to contribute to the same data set through each of our devices. I’m majorly tempted to go back to using a Google Spreadsheet.  As for White Noise, for new parents that are using the Happiest Baby methods, this has made all the difference.  We have this app on each of our phones (as well as a docked phone we’re using as a music player in the nursery), and I love that I can press a single button and have white noise blaring through the speakers.

It’s a girl!

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My wife Bethany and I are so happy to introduce you to our little bundle of joy, my daughter, Clara Marie.  She arrived into this world on Sunday, June 30th at 3:58am, weighing 7lbs 5oz and 19.5” long.  We’re all doing fantastic and I couldn’t be happier. God has given us a  beautiful little girl, and I’m so happy to be taking on the hardest and most regarding job ever: parenthood.

I’m hoping to keep my posting up. As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been spending June trying to get in the habit of making regular posts, in hopes I’ll be able to maintain my reflections and ramblings when I’m massively sleep-deprived (like tonight). Stay tuned!

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