Confirming Moments For A Work At Home Dad

Plus, a bunch of other happenings and updates’ish.


Moment #1: A man makes his way out of the dining hall to say…

It was December 22nd, 2018. We had all gathered together, several branches of our nuclear paternal family, to meet together for an early Christmas dinner and visit with my grandparents.

Sadly, at this stage, they haven’t been doing that well and have been needing a lot of help — physically, emotionally, mentally. I guess, it’s normal. And, it’s normal for me to just feel a bit down and sad about the situation. Watching loved ones age and age out of their own self… it’s rough.

Well, during our dinner — somewhere towards the end of the meal; at where my grandparents are living we eat a large dining hall. There was a resident who stood up in the middle of this dining hall and made his way out and over to talk to me.

I mean… I’m in my mid-30s… I shouldn’t have any feelings of precariousness or worry when folks approach me. Right?

Well… that’s not even close to true. I totally thought he was going to confront me about something I did wrong that I wasn’t even aware of.

LOL! Oi… FORTUNATELY…. he came up to me (and, mind you… he’s significantly taller than me and is my senior — which automatically positions him with respect in my mind)… and, he says to me:

“You’re a good father.”

Then, this man looked at Nathan, pointed to him as he locked eyes with my boy and he said:

“You have have a really good dad.”

He had been quietly observing my interactions with Nathan throughout this entire dinner. And, during this time, Nathan and I were playing, snuggling, joking, laughing, and generally enjoying each other in the best ways we know how.

So, Yes… it’s good to remember how and why I came down this insane startup entrepreneur, traveling speaker, social media connecting, work at home path.

Moment #2: My son wants to grow up to be a daddy.

I like to have conversations about the future with my son. I do this regularly when we drive together, just me and him; and, when we play together — typically some imaginary Star Wars, Avengers, Legos, or dinosaur oriented game.

I asked Nathan one day:

Nathan… what do you want to be when you grow up?

In the past, he’s said paleontologist, kid chef (as in Master Chef Junior), a firefighter, a police officer, an airplane pilot… What was his answer? AND… has been his answer for the last several months?

I want to grow up and be a daddy.

—said Nathan

Nathan wants to be me. I didn’t think about this much until I talked about this with my wife. Christina’s insight was incredible. She said something to the effect that:

Kids typically want to grow up and become what their parents profession is or was at the time.

Your son wants to become a dad. That is who you are to him and that is the profession you embody. Not a doctor, not a business owner, not a marketer — a Daddy.

—Christina Fung, Super Mom & Hero Wife

Moment #3: Daddy, Show Some Grit!

I had this really telling conversation with a bunch of great colleagues… extended family, really, of the Physical Therapy profession (#PTfam) — this conversation happened in Chicago during the American Physical Therapy Association’s NEXT conference of 2019 — which I just had returned from… (which will be expanded on in Moment #4)

So, here’s the backdrop: One day years ago, I came across some stunning wrist pain — humbling to say the least. After all, what Physical Therapist can’t “cure their own pain?”

Me.

LOL! Yeah… it was humbling and actually got in the way of me doing push ups, doing certain movements in Jiu Jitsu, didn’t really hinder my Muay Thai — but did change the way I got in and out of bed, and, on and off the floor. It was an annoyance I learned to otherwise live with and had tried to self-treat many times… to no avail.

WELL…. I was sharing this story with my #PTfam and we’re all clinical geeks, of course. And, I was telling them that if there’s one thing I could impart upon my son as a life skill… I want it to be GRIT. (more on this in a TED talk, linked and embedded below)

We all knew what I meant by “grit.” And, the situation unfolded where I wanted to try push ups again this Spring of 2019. I had just spent several days teaching and reciting with Nathan…

What is Grit?

Never give up. Finish the job.

Well.. this time, Nathan was watching me try some push ups and I stopped and flicked my wrist in pain. I said, “Ah… ouch.”

Nathan looked at me with focused and determined eyes… he said to me:

Daaaaaad… Show Some GRIT!

I had no choice. I had to do it. So, after a few more fairly painful reps… the pain in my left wrist went away. Annnnnd… it has not yet come back. In fact, I’m back to doing sets of push ups and even did a few sets in my hotel room in Chicago at the conference. There’s a bunch of science on how and why this happened… but, we won’t get into that today 🙂

In any case, if you want to learn more about grit and how it’s the SINGULAR PREDICTOR of a student’s (and, perhaps… a person’s) future success… Check out this clip — it’s queued up 😉

Moment #4: Debating on a national platform.

So… on to #4. Many of you reading this know that I was one of the Oxford Debate captains on topic of social media at the 2019 APTA NEXT conference in Chicago.

It was a HUGE honor.

Every year, this conference hosts a debate that’s a blend of a stage show as much as it is a statement within the profession with aims of bringing up points from both sides of the resolution / argument — to provoke critical thought, that those who may have started out in support or in opposition might even switch sides by the end of the experience.

Well… it wasn’t so much the entire conference experience that was my Moment #4 as much as it was leading up to the conference. I hadn’t gone on business travels for quite some time since the last one, and so, my son didn’t need to deal with the emotional facts of me leaving in recent months’ memory.

As the day for my initial flight approached, poor Nathan got more and more attached to me and kept telling him how much he’d miss me. Of course, I told him why I had to travel for work and how important the platform is — that being asked in an immense honor and privilege.

In any case, I went on to ask him what he wanted me to bring back to him from the trip.

His response was too sweet:

I just want you daddy… and, a toy!

Because, I always bring him back some type of souvenir from the airports I visit. LOL! Apparently, his receptive love language right now is Gifts.

It’s not so much what he said, but how he said it — he wasn’t impressed by my position nor station, he yearned for my return and to receive the expression of love he feels is most tangible at his age and for this circumstance.

It may seem small, but having your kid want you around is a huge deal to me — it tells me I’m doing something right, that he is covetous of his time with me — which means, that I’m spending the right type of time with him…. and, I hope to only do more of this in the days to come 🙂


And, now… a bunch of stuff from Instagram.

PS. Don’t miss the really sweet moments of the “Secret Swing” video at the bottom 😉

LAST, AND CERTAINLY NOT LEAST…

I suppose this is just one big tell all post for me to journal for me, for me to chronicle for Nathan… and, for those of you looking to embark on a journey like ours… that it’s possible, it’s enjoyable, it’s not always certain… but, it IS certainly worth it 🙂

3 Best Waves I’ve Surfed

So, you may have noticed that 1/1/2019 has like — nearly a dozen posts being published. This is because I had so many ideas during 2018… but, well… life happened, lol.
I’ll share a bit about this as my “last” time stamped post for New Year’s Day 2019.
In any case, I wanted to share the top three waves I’ve ever surfed. Around 2008, dang… TEN YEARS AGO… that time marked the prime of my surfing days. I was surfing HUGE waves… I mean, the big waves that news channels and lifeguards told you to stay away from.
Honestly, it was a terrible idea. This past month or so, we had some big storm waves during December of 2018. My wife and I got coffee a few times and drove out to see the waves. Truth be told, they are absolutely enormous, many football field’s lengths out from shore… and, entirely horrifying.
I can NOT believe I used to surf waves like that.
LOL, that said… here are my top 3 waves. I look back with both horror and fondness 😉

1.  Best Wave Ever: Pacific Beach Point
I actually rode two waves that day. I remember it crystal clear. I was on my long board, 9’2″ epoxy. It was low tide — about 0.5 – 1.5 ft above sea level.
I was with one of my groomsmen, Josh. And, it was a Sunday. We totally impromptu’d it out there. I saw the surf report saying it was 5-8 foot waves and thought to myself… “No problem!”
Josh and I went out. We paddled out from the stairs on the side of “The False Point” — or, what we used to call PB Point Minor (versus PB Point and Point Proper, where they now call it “Hairmo’s.”
In any case, these waves were holding form like a video game. It was monstrous and as A-Frame as I’ve ever seen. The surprising thing was they didn’t close out when you think they would. And, this caused many surfers to hesitate during critical moments where one could have made it through the breakers.
I remember just paddling and paddling and paddling into deep ocean. Josh was right behind me… until a pair of building high waves which I made over, and he didn’t quite. Josh got washed into Tourmaline. I made it to the very sparse line up. Most surfers didn’t quite get out that far that day.
And, these local reef spots weren’t so popular in the 2007/2008 era the way they are now.
I remember trying for about 3 waves, realizing I needed to be WAY further down the face of the wave as it formed to properly slide down as I paddled downwards on the face of the wave to accelerate to the needed velocity to actually ride the wave.
I finally told myself, “Screw it. I’m doing this.”
I paddled for this absolutely gigantic wave. And, I started to catch it. But, I felt the board… it didn’t have enough speed and I was too far down to give up now. I pumped up with a butterfly stroke until my chest was at the nose of my longboard and paddled DEEP for a few more strokes.
That did the trick. I started to slide down the wave of the wave and stood up. Realizing I STILL didn’t have enough speed, I started stomping on my board to continue to slide down the face of the wave to gain the velocity I needed to continue riding the thing.
It was the longest ride I’ve ever had in my life. I was in open ocean and was still going… STILL going…. and, I had to keep stomping a few more times until I got to the “usual” break by the reef point.
It was then I caught more speed and enjoyed carving up and down and just standing there and relaxing.
It was so crazy! I just stood and road the board in peace for a bit…. until I finally got to the part of the wave that pushed me into Tourmaline.
It was there that I saw Josh hanging out with a bunch of surfers, watching me come at them. They frantically paddled out of the way, under, or over the wave I was on.
I connected with Josh, who was unfortunately spent. So, I paddled out again — caught another wave, just like the first.
We went in right after.
It was the first big “big” wave I ever caught and to date, the longest ride.
I’ve tried many times since then to replicate the experience, even under very similar conditions. Sadly, it’s never been the same. The waves either moved to much towards the reef area which caused it to close out, or, the water was too turbulent and didn’t allow for that same ride pasted the point, into Tourmaline. It was probably well over a minute long ride.
#BestWaveEver
2. Fastest Wave Ever: Del Mar 15th Street
Again on my trusty 9’2″ longboard. It was a heavy 6 foot day. It was well overhead. And, those of you who have surfed Del Mar know that “Del Mar waves” are consistent… until they aren’t.
Typically, they are good and stay in the same general area — that is, until that monster wave comes from the deep ocean. And, it’s FAR OUT THERE. So far out that some of the fastest paddlers on longboards have trouble getting over the top of these things and anyone in the funboard or shortboard zone… they are toast.
When these huge waves come crashing down, they have mercy on NO ONE.
All you see behind you, should you luck out and get over the top of these things — is an entire beach head of white wash, boards bobbling up and down… and frantic arms trying to find their board and/or leash to get back up again.
It was on one of these days that I caught these MASSIVE rights. They were super smooth but truly fast. Dropping in was like jumping off a 2nd story balcony. I carved up and down these waves about 3 times until they basically crested over my head about as high as a basketball hoop would be.
Both times, I pulled my board up to my knees then launched myself over the top. One time, I felt flat on my board… it hurt, haha. The other time, it was like I got thrown up in the air by a sling shot. Definitely fun 🙂
3. Most Dangerous Wave: Well Overhead at Scripps on a 7’2″ board
At Scripps Beach, I decided to borrow a board, this time from another one of my groomsmen, Brian. He was riding his sister’s 7’2″ funboard that day. I think I was on my old 6’2″ fish and just wasn’t quite getting out there.
The waves were severely well overhead. Most surfers couldn’t get out.
I got lucky with a pair of epic duck dives on that 7’2″… I remember pushing down as hard as I ever could, doing frog kicks two or three times just to get under the turbulence. I want to say, the 2nd duck dive I had to ditch the board as I started to feel myself getting pulled up over the falls.
I finally made it out.
Brian was watching from the shores and I quickly saw my wave. I just went for it. I wasn’t exactly in good position and took a diagonal line to get to a better part to paddle down the face of the wave.
I caught it! And, I started to realize that I needed to, once again, stomp down the face of the wave. And, it was BUMPY. I was super freaked out that I’d hit a rough patch of water and lose balance, getting swallowed up on the way in.
I didn’t realize how much wave down I needed to ride and how much was still forming over my head. Brian told me later that I disappeared behind the wave in front of the one I was riding.
Oblivious to the danger, I rode that sucker all the way home. Epic. And… SO DANGEROUS! 🙁
Two runners up:
    1. We used to just call it “Park” and “Pipe” for the two reef breaks down by Calumet Park. I guess now it’s called Henneman’s and … something else. In any case, I started the day at Henneman’s then went to the pipe as I saw the right forming nicely. There were maybe 4-6 surfers out there that day. I caught, I think 5 waves that morning. They were BIG and very fun / fast. Not so fast I was worried about ditching the wave in time like in Del Mar, but fast enough to enjoy carving and even hanging five. When I finally came back up, watchers and some surfers shook my hand and complimented me on the waves I caught. When I turned around to take a look at what I had just done, I saw the surfers still in the water — the size of ants amongst man eating waves. Crazy…
    2. I’ve always wanted to get good at shortboarding. The only time I was close to getting good was back in college on this 6’0″ hybrid performance fish I had no business buying nor riding, LOL. But, it looked cool. haha.. #WeHaveAllBeenThere. WELPS, this past Summer of 2018, we enjoyed some fun Baja storm waves. They made their way up to Scripps Pier, which is really nice on days around 3-5 foot waves on a high tide. And, that afternoon, it was exactly that. I was able, for the first time, to catch a fairly decent sized wave on this new 6’6″ board I bought this Summer of 2018, and rode it down with a few carves to catch speed. It was a very fun feeling. It was weird though, being on small board — it felt like I was actually going slower and appeared as if I was skimming the water’s surface. Given that Scripps is my new place, I think I’ll be using this as my main board from now on.

Fin.

Nathan’s Profile Picture

Every May, we’ve been doing this thing of taking Nathan’s profile pic. It’s worth a quick post 😉

What is probably the marvel of all is how you see this babe turn into a boy… and, it’s him! I think every parent goes through this watching their kiddo(s) grow up… they are the same as they were when they were a little infant as they were as a toddler, a kiddo, a teenager, and so on.

Nathan has grown up a bunch. I’m really proud of him. He’s going to kiddy jiu jitsu classes and he loves “playing” Muay Thai with me. LOL!

I guess, I’m just taking this short moment to stop and be thankful. He’s my son. And, I’m blessed.