Wednesday, February 17, 2016

On My Way

I am sitting at LAX right now heading to Washington D.C. for Dad 2.0 Summit. I’m  a first time attendee thanks to being a recipient of a Miller Grant. I truly was honored to be selected to receive this grant and opportunity. It is beyond my wildest dreams that tomorrow I will be experiencing my first day of the summit.

Now, I have been blogging since I became a stay at home dad. I am onto my 7th year as a stay at home. I honestly set out to tell my story. How I have prevailed. I want to share the experiences I had growing up. How I overcame adversity, strife, adolescence, adulthood, death of my first husband and the list goes on and on. I didn’t ever stop blogging even if it was here and there. I really utilized social media as a away to let my friends know what I was up to as a new parent and stay at home dad. I was the first among my friends to become a father. My husband Sean and I were the first among our core social group of friends to have children.

So that to me was an opportunity to be the first at many new experiences as a parent. Did I feel that my blogging would lead me to my first discovery of a gay dad blogger, Henry Amador-Batten, of DADsquared, which was my first resource of any kind about parenthood? No. His blogs, posts and actual email interactions helped me navigate the ins and outs of being a parent. Those feelings of loneliness faded away when I could share with someone the same feelings, struggles, questions and funny stories about parenting. I developed a friendship with him even though I hadn’t ever met him.

Now, I did discover other parenting groups which didn’t work out well. One group consistently gave me the impression of being racist and elitist. The proof was that no one welcomed us, by us meaning my husband and I. I would approach people and have pleasantries but nothing afterward. Our children were ignored by the children. It felt like we were intruding on the event versus being welcomed. Anyhow, that didn’t last long. I still kept searching for that group or niche where I belonged. Clearly I was seeking a dads group.

DADsquared was able to connect me to City Dads Group, which routed me to LA Dads Group. It was local to me as it was in the city I live in. Ha! Yay! Well I was nonchalant about it to be honest. Too many failed attempts at dad groups left me feeling very wary. I went in with an open mind and without any emotional influence. I wanted to give it a fair chance. I could have found what I was looking for. Right!?

I learned that LA Dads utilizes an app called ‘Meetup’ to notify its members of events, RSVP options and a message board too. Well I signed up for my first event and went in with my fingers crossed. A Cinderella movie premier in an IMAX theater. Well that event was all red carpet with a kids bar, tea sandwiches, fruit and more galore. I also had a MAC makeup artist give me a touch up. Face painters made our children Cinderella ready. Oh did I mention swag bags too!!! Trevor Mulligan was the organizer for this event. He was welcoming and communicative about any questions I had about the event.

It was a stellar event with my husband and our children. I continued to attend various events of LA Dads and befriended Trevor. I then went on to learn about the National At Home Dad Network and their convention details. I applied for a scholarship to attend their event. I fortunately received the scholarship and had the time of my life there. I made lasting friendships with many fellow dads. I learned a lot and took home a lot. I was blown away by the entire organization, dads, programming and more. Yay!

All of the above has led me to Dad 2.0 Summit. I was awarded the Miller Grant. I made it in to this event. I hustled, worked and scrounged it all up to attend. The grant afforded me so much and I can’t wait for it all. I also was able to secure a new business relationship with Clifton David Clarke, wardrobe stylist and image consultant. His talent, keen eye and versatile fashion expression was able to create a wonderful wardrobe story for me to showcase at the event. You will see the fashion on display via my social media profiles and more.

I am beyond blessed and fortunate. My hard work, passion and continuing dream pursuance has afforded me many wonderful opportunities. I have my brand ambassador bag, Chabee Outfitters, with me, my tablet, selfie stick – thank you Melissa W., travel keyboard, awesome hat – Clifton again!, my joy and kinetic energy and much much more. I am coming DC, Dad 2.0 Summit. My husband Sean and my two children are what keep me motivated and focused. If it wasn’t for my husband believing in me, his love and my children I don’t know how I’d be so driven. I am here and I surrender to it all.

Namaste!

P.S. Thank you to all who helped me as well. You know who you are and I will send you each a personalized thank you. To name a few Warren Carlyle, Stephen Tupy – can’t wait to see you bestie boo, Peter Bedard – your belief in me is beyond!, Andrew Carter – words will never be enough to express my love and gratitude. I could go on and on and on. Okay gotta go get ready to board my flight and see you all in Washington D.C.

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