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Stepping Onward

Stepping Onward

So before Nolin entered our lives, Jenn & I started unconsciously planning for our family.  It started off with a neighborhood stray cat that we began taking care of, moved on to a stranded dog that we took in, then opening our home to an amazing foreign exchange student for a year, and also working with foster children through Stepping Onward an organization that we were part of.

On the weekends, we would meet with several foster children in the Boys Town program and run with them.  While probably only a few of the children enjoyed the actual running part, I think all of them enjoyed the attention and the opportunity to have someone take interest in them.  It was a fun time in our lives and a great learning experience for our future.  As our lives changed and the children and foster parents moved in & out of the program it became a little more difficult to keep the program up.

Stepping Onward’s motto is Every Journey Begins With The First Step…so it was only fitting that Nolin’s first road race  was the fun run at the Candy Cane 5K benefiting our friends at Boys Town. Continue reading “Stepping Onward”

Date Night

Friday night, Jenn and I had our first date night post Nolin. Our next door neighbors agreed to watch Nolin for a few hours and we made our way out.

So what are young and fun new parents like us to do during their brief escape from responsibility?

  1. We could go to a nice romantic dinner for two.
  2. We could go see a movie (although trying to agree on a movie can sometimes prove more difficult than watching after a 5 week old).
  3. Maybe we could act like we are 24 again and head downtown for a wild and crazy night.

We chose option 4…go to a political dinner for local government officials and individuals who had served on different boards and commissions during the year.  Oh my God…it has finally happened…I have turned into my father.  They talk about this happening, but you never actually think it will.  It is safe to say that I spent the better part of my angst ridden youth (there really wasn’t too much angst, but I tried) rebelling and trying to be different and here it is…I am now my dad.  Well I didn’t see that one coming. 

Anyway, we arrived at the dinner and immediately just started laughing  at the comedy that was surrounding our night.  Our good friend George and his wife Sandra showed up a little later so we felt a little less out-of-place.  We found ourselves placed at a table with two other residents who had served on various boards and commissions. the deputy mayor and the man who will most likely be our next mayor.

As the night went on, the conversations got more comfortable as we discovered that the deputy mayor had become a grandparent for the 2nd time just four weeks ago, serves on the board for Boys Town, and organization we volunteer with on Sunday nights through Stepping Onward, oh yeah and owned Tijuana Flats the place I have been singing at for the past few years.  Although we are regulars there, I had never met him before.

Jenn’s motherly guilt about leaving Nolin with our neighbors quickly came over her, so she left before they handed out the certificates of service to go pick Nolin up.  There may have also been some natural guilt because Nolin’s witching hours typically starts around 8:45, and we didn’t want our neighbors to never offer to babysit again.  I got a ride home from George and Sandra, and then Jenn and I concluded our date night watching a movie with Nolin and Pancake…all in all I would say it was a pretty successful date night.

The Luckiest Father

 
Nolin prepares for the World Cup

This weekend Jenn & I realized just how lucky we are to have Nolin in our lives.  On Saturday we decided to do the unthinkable…we attempted to pull off the social event hat trick.  It’s sort of the equivalent to climbing Mount Everest for parents of a new born.  We started off with a 9am promotional video shoot for Stepping Onward and then went to visit our friends for a pre World Cup party, after that it was off to another house to watch the England vs. USA World Cup match.  Needless to say this was going to be at least an 8 hour day…with a 3 week old?!  Nolin, get used to this because as you get older your life will be filled with 8 hour + workdays…none that will be as exciting as your first hat trick. 

And work it was.  Do you know how much planning goes into keeping an infant content for an entire day away from the house? A lot!  Jenn and I started on Friday night, making sure we were prepared for anything, everything and any possible variation of those two things that could potentially happen in one 8 hour period.  It was like getting ready for the arrival of a rock star. 

 And Friday night Nolin James was a rock star.  He decided that the hours of 2am until 7:30am were great hours for getting us ready for the day ahead…up all night, sleep all day.  Thankfully Jenn & I took shifts so there were small amounts of sleep allowed.  

 We made it out of the house and downtown for the video shoot by 9:15 (not too bad considering the work that goes into orchestrating chaos).  He was perfect for the entire 3 hour production.  Then we went over for the pre-party and again no issues.  So we mentally prepared for the hell that he would unleash as we entered the party to watch the World Cup match.  

 Ten steps from the door, and the fun began.  Oh great, we are not going to be welcomed here very long I instantly thought to myself, but we fed him (and changed him) right as we walked into the door (yes we are now those cool friends/guests that have decided it is socially appropriate to undress our kid and wipe away poop as we enter your house…so be prepared when you send us an invitation) and then everything was right as rain, and again he charmed the crowd.  Nolin definitely knows how to work a room. 

 I don’t think I deserve to be this lucky. To have a kid who is as socially mobile as Nolin.  The pessimist in me says enjoy while it lasts because he is going to be a terror when he gets older.  Right now, I can’t imagine him unable to sit in the palm of my hand or being difficult at all, but at least if that happens I’ll always be able to look back at these days and say remember when my kid thought I was the coolest…and maybe he will too.   

 Yesterday though was the true realization of just how lucky Jenn and I have been.  While it is fun to say that we have a son that we absolutely adore and who for the most part is very easy, there is also a very real drama that surrounds infertility and adoption.  We took Nolin to our church for the first time since he’s been home (I didn’t even have to run frantically to the sound proof screaming child room once during mass) and we met with friends of ours who attended the adoption classes with us.  They had matched with a birth mother before us and their son was due about a month before Nolin. 

Since everything happened so quickly for us, we had not seen them since we found out about Nolin.  They came into church and saw Nolin, their faces lit up with excitement and they gave us a huge thumbs up from across the church.  We met in front of the altar after church and they gave us a big hug as we introduced them to our little guy.  It was bitter-sweet for all of us. While they were so excited for us, they were also grieving because an hour before their son was to be born, their adoption fell through.  Their story was the main reason why Jenn and I didn’t tell everyone when we found out about Nolin. It was a reminder of just how emotional the entire process can be.   

Crashing after the Social Event Hat Trick

 Our story didn’t take the same twists and turns that many people face.  There wasn’t the drama, heartache and loss that so many good people face in their journeys starting a family.  I am not sure if I’ll ever know what either of us did to be so fortunate, but I definitely believe that I am the luckiest father alive.

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