Lost in Familiarity with #TheNewKia

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves” ~ Henry David Thoreau

A friend once told me, “The problem with self discovery, is all the self you discover.” At the time, I can remember internally scoffing at, what I perceived as a lame attempt to sound deep; sort of chuckling a little and answering with my go-to “throw away comment” of, “Yeah, I hear ya.”
I turns out, I did not hear her at all, because I’m literally living that saying, right now. Or, maybe it’s the complete opposite. Maybe I’m not discovering much self at all, because I feel lost.

For the past 18 months (give or take), I’ve been on a vision quest of sorts…well, a half-assed vision quest at best. No, I’m not looking to wrestle some kid for the state championship, or anything like that.
Shout out to all my 80’s kids who get that movie reference.

But trying to discover who I am. Where I fit in this world. Basically trying to figure if I’ve done anything noteworthy, or of much significance. Or, am I just another brick in the wall. Whoa…that got a little to deep there for a second.

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My #FirstCarMoment and the Freedom of the Open Road

I wasn’t one of those lucky 16 year-old kids that received their first car the second they passed their driving test. In fact, I didn’t even get my license until I was 18 and already almost a year out of high school.
I had to practice driving in my best friend’s 1970-something Datsun. The kind of car that was made before the conception of power steering, so not only was I honing my driving skills, but I was getting a nice upper body workout every time I drove somewhere. When I eventually took my driver’s test my aunt lent me her car, which was quite newer than my friend’s car, and I spent the entire test afraid I was going to rip the steering wheel off every time I made a turn, due to my newly acquired massive biceps; at least that’s the way I like to remember it.
After I passed my test there was still no new car, or even used car waiting for me. We were a single income household, and a car payment was just not something we could afford. It wasn’t until I eventually joined the military that I would experience that feeling of the #FirstCarMoment.
I purchased my very first car around the age of 20; it was a green 1995 Ford Escort.

My girlfriend at the time worked for a used car dealership and insisted on being the one to sell me my first car. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best decision I ever made, being that my girlfriend was literally a used car salesman, in every sense of the word. I paid through the nose for that car. But I didn’t care. I was a young man who lived far away from home, and finally could say I owned my first car. When the dealership placed the keys in my hand it felt something like this:

Having a car of my own meant freedom. It meant I could come and go as I pleased. It also meant I instantly became a popular person in my barracks due the fact people had to beg me for rides to places. And while the next year or two of dragging my friends around or doing whatever I wanted was awesome, it wasn’t until the morning I signed out on leave from the Army, for the last time, that I truly felt the freedom having my car provided me. That’s the morning I left my duty station of Ft. Sill, OK and hit the open road back home to San Diego,CA.
A young man of 23 years old having his first ever cross-country (well, half cross-country) road trip. Just me, my car, my music and the road. It felt like every movie I had seen where a young person hit the road to find themselves. It is one of the earliest memories I have of actually feeling like an adult, and I loved it.
I savored every moment of that trip. I took deliberate detours to stop and see the sights. I lingered in towns longer than I needed to, took my time when I stopped to eat, soaking in every moment of being free and on my own. Like in the Pixar film Cars, I wasn’t on the road to make great time, I was on the road to HAVE a great time.
One thing I wish I could change about my experience of owning my first car is that I wish I took better care of it, especially prior to making a 2000-mile journey across the country on my own. I was very lucky nothing serious happened during my summer travels, and looking back I worry about what could have happened. Growing up I knew very little about car maintenance, and it’s still not in my wheel-house of information today. I don’t think in all the time I owned my first car, I even checked my tire pressure; not even once.
This is why I’m glad to be part of the Michelin #FirstCarMoment campaign, where not only are they celebrating the awesome feeling young people get when the receive their first car, but raising awareness of all the possible safety hazards out on the roads that young people face.
Summer is a critical time to remind drivers of the importance of tire safety. The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is often referred to as the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers, based on accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Safety Council.

  • The cold, hard reality is that automobile accidents are the number one killer of teens in America. They account for a shocking five thousand deaths annually.
  • In addition, we know that 12% of the 2.2 million accidents that occur each year with inexperienced drivers are due to tire-related issues (26% are attributed to low tread depth; 32% are attributed to improper tire pressure).
  • Driving on underinflated tires or tires with low tread can lead to safety issues on the road.

The good news is that accidents due to improper tire maintenance are preventable, and simple steps can save lives, including:

  • Checking your tire pressure with a pressure gauge monthly and
  • Learning the proper way to check tread depth

These are two easy tasks that can help you correctly maintain your tires and contribute to overall vehicle safety.
As a tire manufacturer focused on road safety for over 125 years, Michelin feels they have an obligation to raise awareness about this issue, and that with their help, and proper tire care, they can play a role in reducing the roughly 264,000 crashes with inexperienced drivers that occur annually due to tire-related issues.
For more information on safety as well as Michelin products check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Michelin for this promotion.  I have received compensation for my participation, but my first car memories are my own.

12 Months: What a Year it’s been

Even as I type this, I have to admit that I am really struggling on the direction of this post.  All signs point to how much I want to pile on myself for slacking on my writing….no, slacking is too kind of a term at this point; downright laziness is more like it.  But honestly, what is that going to accomplish?  This forum is supposed to be about Ferris, not me.  I have a whole other blog site where I can freely beat up on my short-comings.  So, enough about me, and more about the boy.
I simply cannot believe our baby boy is a year old.  My wife’s favorite way to get out of talking about a topic is to say, “I can’t. I can’t process this right now.”  I always get on her for it and say that it’s total cop-out, but now I can finally say I feel that same way.  I simply can’t process that Ferris is 1 year old.
When I last checked in he was barely 6 months old, and while that was not that long ago, it feels as if it were ages ago.  I often describe this last year to people that I can’t believe he’s turning 1, but it feels like he’s been around for years.  It’s the weirdest feeling.  How can you feel like time is flying by, yet feel like it’s dragging on at the same time?  Become a parent, that’s how, lol.
Lately many people have asked me what this year has been like.  It’s been a pretty even mix of people with kids vs. people without kids who inquire, but I think most of them have very similar reaction to my honesty about how I feel about these last 12 months; because it’s not always that nice.
Prior to Ferris being born I had these grand ideas of parenthood, and what kind of parents I thought the Wife and I would be. We are both smart and funny (well, the Wife is smart, and I’m funny), kind, loving and caring people, so naturally I knew we would be the greatest parents to ever walk this Earth.  While I would have never claimed that raising a kid was going to be a walk in the park, I knew for sure that we would rock it out with no problem, because we’re good like that, and our baby would be just like us.  And for the most part we were right; our baby is like us.  It just so happens he has some of our other traits we didn’t really recognize we had.
Ferris was a super fussy baby.  The first 3-4 months were some of the hardest days of my life, and for the Wife it was even worse as she was home with him all day long, with no relief until I came home from work.  Unfortunately Ferris was born with reflux issues, and to top it off he hated napping.  All of this led to a cranky and tired baby almost every day.  Tack all that on top of two exhausted parents, who live in a shoe-box apartment, and are frustrated, and until recently were really comfortable in their own selfishness…give it a quick shake, and what do you get?  Instant negative environment, that what!
But, through all the struggles; through all the fussiness; through all the trips and falls (us, not him), there were plenty of awesome moments to pull us all back together.
One particular moment stands out whenever I think about all our good moments.  It was right before Ferris turned 4 months old. The Wife and I took Ferris on a day trip to visit one of the Wife’s coworkers who had not met him yet due to being home-bound after surgery.  On the car ride home Ferris was doing pretty good, which was a feat in itself as he hates the car seat, and the Wife was riding in the back seat with him.  She was kind of being down on herself, saying how she feels like she was not doing a very good job as a partner, or as a Mom.  I tried my hardest to dissuade that line of thinking, but I knew there was only so much I could say since the Wife was struggling with some post-partum issues, like many women do.  At one point she was talking to Ferris and saying how she was going to try harder, and that point she started crying.  When I asked what was wrong, she said, “Nothing, he just laughed for the first time”….a real laugh! This was one of those moments that you say, “This makes it all worth it.”
As I have said in earlier blogs….way earlier blogs, lol….it wasn’t always fussiness and stress.  At about the 5 month mark we started to see signs of Ferris becoming a little person.  He started expressing joy for things he liked, and was very adamant about the things he didn’t enjoy; like tummy-time.  Man, did he hate tummy-time.
We also learned around this time that Ferris is very adaptable.  This is probably the main thing that helped the Wife and I ease some of our anxiety about taking Ferris places in public (because of the prior period of super-fussiness).  And what a place to show us how cool he could be, but the airport during a busy travel day.
We took Ferris to San Diego to see family and for a little vacation.  To say the Wife and I were super nervous about taking our baby into a crowded airport, then on a 6 hour flight with nowhere to go if he had a meltdown is an understatement.  But just when you think you get this kid pegged, he completely surprises you.  This kid was a total rock star; cooler than the other side of the pillow even.  And it’s been the same every time we’ve traveled this year; which has been a lot….much to the chagrin of our bank account.  Looks like the boy is going to be just like his Mom and love to travel.
Much of our travel was due to holidays.  This was especially fun for me because for the last 5 years the Wife and I have not been able to join our family for the holidays due to me working retail, and having to work the day after Xmas and Thanksgiving.  But more importantly because we got to celebrate the holidays with Ferris as part of our family now.
This past year has dragged on, yet gone by in a blink of an eye.  While I have been writing this post I keep finding myself breaking from the writing and start flipping through the photos of Ferris from this past year.  I see this little, fragile person who arrived on this Earth late one night last January, then I see him get a little bigger; a little less fragile, but even now as I stare at a picture I took of him on my iPhone of him being silly yesterday, I still that little baby who fit in the nook of arm because he was so small.  I see that little boy who I welcomed to the world and promised I would take care of him forever, and never let anything hurt him.  And somehow I think I will always see him this way.
I totally get it now, what people told me about the way you love will change when you have a child.  I used to be pretty defiant (shocker, lol) about the whole statement, “You never know how to love until you have a child,” and I still am because that is unfair to people without children, and frankly I have always known how to love.  Also, to those who said that I would “really” learn how to love someone other than myself when I had a kid, I still disagree with you too, because I loved my wife long before Ferris showed up, and every day I love her more than I did the day before.  My wife is my world.  However; what I will say is true, is that since Ferris arrived I now know what it looks like to see my heart outside of my body.  I love this boy so very much, and cannot even imagine life without him.  Like I said, it feels like he’s always been here.
Well kiddo, it’s been a pretty crazy year since you showed up.  We’ve had some awesome highs, and some trying lows.  I watch you grow and learn every day and am amazed at how you’ve changed in such a short time.  I am so proud of you, and I am so proud to be your Dad.
I’m sorry I didn’t live up to all the high standards I set for myself.  I know I stumbled as a partner, and as a Dad…a lot.  I didn’t live up to all the promises I made, and that makes me sad.  I wish I had done a better job at so many things, but when I see you smile at me, or when you laugh while you crawl over to me and climb all over me, or any of the other silly stuff you do when we play, it makes me feel all better because I know you don’t care about any of that.  You love me anyway, and in that I see your Mom in you, because she looks at me like that too.  For all my short-comings and failures, you still think I’m pretty cool.
There is one promise I have kept, and I’m pretty happy about it. And that is that I love you more and more every day.  And that I will always love you and your Mom.
I love you buddy, and I always will,