My name is Ryan and I did the craziest and most exciting 180 of everything in my life. In 2010, my wife and I moved from New York to Kansas. I went from freelancing at home to corporate America. We went from pet ownership to parenthood. It was a lot to do all at once but what a ride! Welcome to my 30’s.
Less than one month into our move and major life-change we found out were were also going to be parents. In 2011, we welcomed our first son Max.
Max was a happy little fellow and a chatterbox from the moment he was born. We doted on him as all parents do with a first born…scrutinizing every decision and stressing over minutia. Despite our attempts to micromanage everything to provide him with a perfect life as we saw best for him, he developed his own personality and way of doing things…and his own perfect life. He is stunningly gorgeous, hilariously silly, full of infinite love, unbelievably perceptive, incredibly smart, fantastically frustrating, and genuinely a caring human being.
The stress of all the changes in our lives ate at my mental health; no longer living on the water, the daily grind, responsibility for a tiny human being, living up to unrealistic expectations, and a lifelong battle with anxiety and depression. In June of 2012 I hit a wall. I found myself hyperventilating in my car with tears streaming down my face…and I didn’t know why.
One month later I found out my family was going to expand and in the Spring of 2013 we welcomed Dodge to the world.
Dodge changed my life. Max may have ushered me into fatherhood, but nothing prepared me for how heavily my patience would be tested with Dodge. He was a crier, fussy, handsy, and total Mama’s boy as a baby. Then, he became the shy, soft-spoken little boy who was constantly told to “keep up.” Then he started singing…and…WOW! The quiet little reserved boy became the over-the-top silly entertainer overnight! Cries were replaced with giggles. Fussiness was replaced with cuddles. Suddenly, Dada was pretty cool because, guess who else is a silly over-the-top entertainer? Dodge is probably the sweetest person I have ever met. Seriously. This kid has honey coursing through his veins instead of blood. He asked me to roll the windows down in the car so he can listen to the clouds. He has strikingly gorgeous blue eye, soft freckles across his face, and a smile that lights up a room. He is a showman and loves to play make-believe by himself, sing songs, listen to music, dance, and move his body. He is incredibly smart as well and shows the signs of a person who is a jack-of-all-trades. He’s also my little buddy who covers me in kisses, hugs me when I’m sad, asks if he can hang out with me, and we’re weekday morning carpool buddies together too.
My family and I have a lot of fun together. I made a lot of mistakes. I turned to my readers for help on many things, but I do keep parts of my story private because its not just my story. This isn’t a blog about my kids, though they do have starring roles. This is a blog about being a dad and the struggles and victories that come with that title. This is a place to learn, share, and challenge. If its my kid’s story to tell or it is private to them, you won’t find it on here. If its my story to tell and private, you will find it on here. I do my best to be brutally honest, even when it doesn’t paint the best picture of me because honest conversation must come from an honest place.
So…where should our conversation begin?