The last couple of times I did this I attempted to tie things together thematically. Oh, you hadn’t noticed that? Good, ’cause this week I got nothing. Frankly, I tried a bunch of ideas out this week – from aesthetics to transcendence and, briefly, the color blue – but nothing really worked. I see a post, I like it, I feature it here. Please, please understand that it is that ridiculously subjective.
Honestly, what got me started this week was a post from the very dear and talented Brent at Designer Daddy. On his beautiful site, which is centered around a brilliant refrigerator magnet theme, he features – among other things – the notes he sends in his son’s lunchbox and the t-shirts he designs and, well, a lot of other beautiful things. However, of late he’s been posting a few more beautiful things – his words. Brent is a vocal, and, I must add, kind and tolerant, proponent of the LGBT community, but, honestly (I hope he doesn’t take this wrong) that doesn’t really matter. Of late he has been telling stories and this one blew me away. “Like a game of hide-and-seek with the Moon, navigating childhood can be simultaneously disappointing and joyous, heartbreaking and magical.” Yeah, designer my ass, he certainly reads like a talented and experienced wordsmith to me. Listen, when you go to his site to read this, look at his piece called “Is Being a Dad Turning Me Straight” it is very funny. In fact stay a while and look around.
In my opinion no one is doing what Beau, the designer and all-around great dad responsible for the perfection that is Lunchbox Dad is doing. I’ve been seeing his posts of the lunches he packs for his daughter for quite a while now and I have been consistently blown away by the creativity and tenderness he puts into making lovely and loving lunches for his daughter. And then – and then – he did this piece about what not to say to parents of newborns. It is well-written, funny, sweet and, dammit, what’s up with these “designer” guys writing moving and clever posts?
John Taylor, the mind behind The DaddyYo Dude, who actually writes for this site as well, wrote something very sad, very beautifully sad. I can’t really say why this hit me so hard, or what particular line made me wince, but I can tell you where he hit me – in the gut. Sometimes, we have to go places, think things, feel stuff we may not like. John made such a journey, ostensibly for himself but ultimately for us, courageously and honestly and I don’t think it gets any better than that.
Chris Bernholdt of Dad ‘N Charge is a large and beautiful man. He married and had children and became a Stay-at-Home-Dad. He advocates for us At-Home-Dads (the term preferred by many) and is active in organizing and reaching out to others of us. He has a wonderful family and is by all accounts an upstanding and respected member of the community in which I find myself and… well, none of that has anything to do with why I am featuring him today. No, he wrote a piece that made me happy and sad and content and melancholy and, well, I am glad he did. I know he works hard at what he writes and, in the last few months, his words have been shining brighter and brighter. The love for his daughter in this piece blinded me.
In a heartbreaking, haunting post, Charlie, one of the charming, uber-talented men who write HowToBeADad, asked and answered the question so many bloggers, writers really, ask – why do we do this? He shares a moment from his past with us, a tender, intimate moment for which I am not worthy of being a part, and cracks it open, along with his heart and mine, and leaves me, him, us, really, redeemed and better. It is a brave and powerful piece.
I see it now, a way to bring this all together. I have seen new bloggers literally lament their lack of success or hits or clicks or whatever. I try, gently, to remind them, remind me, that what they are doing, the words and images, the dreams and fears, the love and integrity they so purposefully lay out for us all to see is really, truly meant for another place, another time, another set of eyes still learning, even in some cases to read, and for that they will be rewarded. I can’t say what I wouldn’t give for a weekly epistle from my father, gone nearly twenty years now. What I wouldn’t give for a box of notes, written on graph paper, all caps, scented with Old Spice, tear and tobacco stained. Charlie wrote this: “Because even a half-written, well-intended dispatch from a southpoint in time is better than a vague, distant memory evaporating into the Heavens.” It is still gently echoing down the corridors of my memory.