As many of you already know by now, I recently went on a bit of an extended trip; hoping to the West coast, and even leaving the country for a bit. The first 3 days of that trip, I hung out in beautiful, Pasadena, CA, where I attended the 2018 Mom 2.0 conference. Why would a dad be hanging out at a mom conference? First off, stop being so judgmental. Second, I was honored to be nominated for a 2018 Iris Award, for Best Dad Blogger of the Year (about damn time, lol)
The Iris Award is like the parent-blogging version of the Oscars. Ever since I started this blogging journey, I’ve wanted to win one. But, alas, the beautiful statue remains beyond my grasp…I did not win. As cliché as it sounds though, it *really* was an honor to be nominated.
While Mom 2.0 (most likely) won’t be a yearly event for me, I had an amazing time, even with not winning. I got to hang out with friends I haven’t seen in a couple years; make new friends and writing contacts, and I got to get all dressed up for an evening…something I really enjoy doing, but rarely get to do.
My roommate for those 3 days in Pasadena, Jeff Bogle from Out With The Kids (also nominated for Best Dad Blog of the Year) asked if I had written a speech, for when I won. I laughed it off, and said, “No. Besides, I doubt I’ll win. You’re gonna take it home; everyone knows it.” He didn’t win either.
But, I kind of had written one…at least in my head.
The morning after the Iris Award was bittersweet. Yes, I lost, and it hurt still, but I spent the rest of the evening dancing the night away at an amazing after party, grabbing drinks and swapping funning stories at the after-after-party at the hotel bar, and spent hours deep into the early morning with people I care for immensely. So, as much as I loath hearing this line on any number of televised competitions, I must say…(sigh)… “Even though I lost: I still feel like I won.”
I was still noticeably quiet that morning, and as I quietly packed my bag and readied for my ride to the airport, I said out loud, to no one in particular – speaking to the universe as if it would answer me back like a long-time friend, “I know I said I didn’t write a speech, but I kind of did. From the moment I found out about the Iris Award nomination, I’ve had these thoughts constantly rolling through my head. Thinking about people I always said I would thank, because without them, I don’t think I’d even be doing this stuff right now. I know it sounds stupid, but I just feel bad for not getting to say it…like I let them down.”
The universe doesn’t typically answer me back much, but then I heard a deep voice reply, “Well, why don’t you write it, and publish it on your blog? Don’t those people still deserve to know? You didn’t win; so what. That doesn’t diminish what those people mean to you.” But it wasn’t the universe who had answered me – it was my roommate Jeff. He continued, “That’s what I’m going to do. You should too…it would be nice for them to know.”
While Jeff may not be a celestial entity, it does sometimes feel like his advice, and talent, have some sort of cosmic connection with a higher power. Jeff was right; I should write the speech. We spend so much of our time talking about the things we don’t have, campaigns we didn’t land, or byline we didn’t get; coveting awards that hold zero value in the world, yet very little about the good things we do, and even less about the people who have helped us along the way. So, here we…here is the speech I would have given, had I won the 2018 Iris Award for Best Dad Blog of the Year:
(Walks on stage, pretending to have more confidence than I really do)
Thank you so much for this award…but, I’m not surprised I won! I don’t why everyone keeps saying, “Oh my god, this is so unexpected. I really didn’t think I would win.” Of course I knew I was gonna win! I mean, just look at my competition! These other guys are teachers, world travelers, graduates from esteemed colleges, and successful business owners…and that’s on top of being great dads. I’m a 9-5 working stiff that makes jokes about my kids, and has severe social anxiety. The choice is pretty clear to me!
No, but seriously, theses other dads; some I have the good fortune of knowing personally, are some the best men the world has to offer, and I am extremely honor of being nominated next to them. It’s these men I look to when I feel like I’m not cutting it as a creator, or as a dad.
I wanted to first thank the Mom 2.0 community. These last 3 days, I have reconnected with many friends who I haven’t seen in a couple years, while at the same time, meeting so many new people who I can now call friends. You have welcomed me, and provided space for dads who are out there dancing a similar dance you amazing women have been doing since the beginning of time.
I typically lean away from using limiting titles like Mom Blogger or Dad Blogger. Why? Well, because we are much more than that…YOU, are much more than that. You are all amazing content creators, business owners, activist, and philanthropists; all of whom are out there kicking ass, or wiping them, and taking names. Oh, and you happen to be the only gender who can create, foster, and sustain life. That’s like some super hero shit right there. So, thank you, for welcoming me into your space, and for just being you.
I also would like to thank Doug French and John Pacini for birthing Dad 2.0…probably the only time some guys can say that. Of course, a huge thank to our late founder of the Dad Bloggers Group on Facebook, Oren Miller. I never had the pleasure of meeting Oren before he passed, but I was one of the last handful of dads he let in the group. I’ll never truly be able to express how thankful I am he created the space he did.
I’d also like to thank my fellow dads in attendance tonight, especially those not nominated, but are here to not only support us dads, but the mom community as well.
I’ve always told myself that if I should ever be so lucky as to be recognized for my rantings on line, I needed to recognize those who helped me get there; those who came before me, and inspired me to me to say, “Holy crap!!! If those bunch of whiners can do it, so can I!”
(pause for amazing amounts of laughter and clapping)
Four of those whiners stand out above all the rest in my book
- Jeff Bogle – I see you there Jeff. Don’t worry, I’m going to thank you! Don’t get your pant legs all twisted and rolled up. Thank you, Jeff, for always being there with a kind word, or some encouragement. Thank you for always being a good friend. You don’t know the meaning of quit.
- Mike Heenan – I discovered Mike’s blog, At Home Dad Matters, on my very first search through the interwebs for other dads. While I didn’t have a daughter at the time, his message of being the fatherless-father, and raising strong, beautiful, independent little women, grabbed a hold of me, and I just knew that this was someone I needed to know.
- Lorne Jaffe – Your blog, Raising Sienna, showed me that there is strength in dads who feel broken; dads who live with one form of mental illness or another, dads who crawl through the mud and the muck of depression and anxiety, and are still killing it. And even more, that there is strength and honor in talking openly about these issues.I admire you my friend. You inspire me in so many ways.
- Mike Julianelle – (sigh)…damn, this one is gonna hurt a bit. Mike Julianelle…what can I say? Well, a lot of things, but I’m pretty sure I’d never be invited back here again. Mike is like the older sibling I’m glad I never had. The kind of guy that you give serious thought to smothering him with a pillow…even if he’s awake. Yes, FINE…Mike’s page, Dad and Buried, inspired me to talk shit about my kids, and not feel bad about it. To know that it’s ok to make jokes about your kids. It’s ok to make fun of being a grown up. And it’s ok to crack jokes about other parents. Mike’s actually a great guy. He’s helped me out on several occasions. Basically, what I’m saying is…he’s a liar, and his entire persona is fake!!
(Music starts playing for me to leave)
Oh, you can turn that off; I’m not done yet.
I’d also like to thank the fans that choose to come to my page/blog each day. I feel like this award is partly yours. Well, mostly mine, but maybe a little yours too.
Lastly…I’m not going to thank my kids. They may provide the material that makes my life harder, but I do all the work. But, I would like to thank my wife. We started this crazy journey into marriage, not even sure we wanted kids. Then one day, we apparently lost our minds and had a kid, and it was downright the MOST terrifying thing either of us had ever done. So much so, WE HAD ANOTHER ONE! And while our marriage didn’t turn out the way either of us hoped (when we started our journey), and I will forever mourn that fact; you’re an amazing mom. And you have supported every move I’ve made during this blog journey; providing the kicks in the ass I needed to start writing again, and even providing the name of my blog.
Thank you for being my first fan; I will always be grateful for that.
Alright…let’s party everyone.