My son, my muse…

As everyone noticed from my last entry, my son and I have a special relationship. My daughter and I do as well, but c’mon, I’ve known my son for longer, our roots are deeper. While my daughter also has my heart, and will inevitably have an entry or two about her as well, lets be honeset, she still has a lot to prove, she hasn’t been here all that long. I mean, afterall, we are from the show me state, you’ve gotta earn it! I’m sure the first time she says “I love you Daddy.”, her child stock will skyrocket, and I’ll melt to her feet where I’ll remain for the rest of my days, but until then…

Grayson, my chosen one. The one who forever changed me for the better in every way humanly possible. He truly did save me, not that I needed saving in the commonly thought of way. I was never depressed or going down a bad road of any kind (I thought). More like he saved me from what I didnt even realize was happening to me, or moreso, he saved me from regret, of not doing things I deep down knew I should be doing in order to be the best version of myself…

For example, he’s the sole reason I started this blog. He helped me kick away my fear of what people might think, and helped me be vulnerable by putting my thoughts, feelings and jokes out there for everyone to see. He helped me not care about the people who see that I posted a blog and scroll by rolling their eyes, as if I wasted their time, or mine. If any of you eye rollers have gotten this far, guess what, I don’t care what you think! About me, about my blog, whether you think I’m funny or a good writer, none of it. This is for me and for the people who enjoy it, that’s all that matters. But more importantly, you shouldn’t care what other people think about you either, eyeroller, so quit being judgy and go out there and do something you’re too scared to do, and enjoy the liberation of not giving a f**k. That’s one of the things my son did for me, and thats probably because when he arrived, he quickly became all I cared about.

Look at that little muse…where it all began…

Grayson gave me a great deal of confidence. One that allowed me to embrace and not be ashamed of the softy he turned me into. He replaced any sort of hardness or sterness I had inside of me with gooey butter cookies. Just ask my wife, she is without a doubt the disciplinarian in our house.

January 3rd, 2017. That was the day where not only my life, but who I was changed forever. When Grayson was born, he wasn’t handed to Rachel right away, and he was taken to the little incubator to get checked out. Without hesitation, I followed him. (Sorry babe, I know I kind of left you hanging there on the bed by yourself) But next is where it started for me. I looked down at the table and stared my son in the face for the first time, (which by the way, was like looking at baby pictures of myself) and he too, without hesitation, grabbed my finger and held on (See below). The moment everything changed…

The moment everything changed…

Everything changed in that the way I looked at the world, my emotions, my mindset, and my physical goals all took on new forms. Personally, I believe that in order to achieve complete mental or emotional health, physical health is a contributing factor, and vice versa. No, that’s nothing earth shattering, everyone knows that, but not everyone allows themselves to believe it, much less act on it. I was guilty of that too…

Here is how my journey went. Everyone has an identity, one that they feel best describes them or what they believe people know/knew them for. For me, up until I wasn’t anymore, it was an athlete. I played soccer and basketball in high school and college. I’m not saying I was D1 or anything like that, but like most athletes, after their time is up, who do they become? For me, I became out of shape, and lost that part of me. If you read my blog entry “Pushing 30, and the Waistline”, you probably found humor in it, as did I, that was the point. But after stepping back and thinking about it, and looking at my son, I realized that didn’t have to be my fate. I didn’t have to be the fat dad, the sit on the couch and drink beer and watch sports instead of playing them dad, and deep down I knew I wouldn’t let that become my reality, but that reality was quickly approaching and I needed to act. It wasn’t until Grayson came along that I had the motivation I needed…

There is no motivation more motivating than looking down at your excited son in his stroller going up a huge hill, where you want nothing more than to stop and sit down on someones driveway, but you don’t, because you will never let him see you give up. I should probably take my son to anything and everything that is difficult for me, I’ll just look at him and then do whatever it is, no questions asked.

But knowing he’s watching me, learning from me, then thinking to myself, “What is he going to think of me?”, “Will he be proud to have me as a dad?”, “Will I be able to still beat his ass one on one when I’m 45?”. That last one got to me 😉 , and on all those long walks we take that poor kid is probably thinking, “Dad’s so nice, he takes me on all these long walks and pushes me around town.” When in reality I’m training for that day, the day 45 year old Dad takes down 16 year old varisty shooting guard, Grayson. I’m kidding, but really, I want to be able to do that, not just for me, but for him. I want to be a dad who participates, not spectates.

My journey back to mental and physical health started when Grayson was born, but it really kicked into gear when my daughter Spencer arrived. In the early days of Spencer, my wife and I played man to man defense. She took Spencer, and I took Gray. Rachel (my wife, for all zero of you who are reading this and don’t know my family dynamic) and Spencer got their best sleep between the hours of 6-11am. So what did that mean? It meant Gray and I left to keep the house quiet. So, what to do? Luckily Spencer was born in June, because if it was winter I guess Gray and I would of been a couple of those mall walkers, not that theres anything wrong with that. But he and I would go, and we’d go, and we walked anywhere from 4-8 miles almost every day (and playground visits), however long the girls needed. I very much cherished that time together, just the two of us.

Those walks turned into walk/runs, and then I realized its really hard to run/run in neighborhoods without stopping every minute for a crater in the sidewalk, or having to bend over to pick up binkies, blankets and snack cups along the way. But I realized something that I never realized before, you don’t have to start your journey back to being healthy by going as hard as you did at your peak. Everyone knows what I’m talking about, I wrote about it in “Pushing 30, and the Waistline”, you start off running even though you haven’t in years, you feel good for a quarter of a mile, then your tank hits empty, you quit, then you don’t run again for another year. I finally matured enough to start slow… in order to create a new, and maybe even higher peak. Between this mindset and completely changing my diet, I have successfully lost over 30 pounds and I’m only a few pounds away from what I was in my playing days. I want to keep going, not only for me, but to be healthy for my kids and to be around as long as I can be. I mean, how cool would it be to be a grandpa who can still drain from 3?

With all the exercise and diet stuff that everyone already knows aside, those walks became less and less about the fitness and losing weight, and became more about the time I got to spend with him. When summer ended I got emotional thinking about how my routine with him would change, and it had nothing to do with me not being able to exercise as much. It had everything to do with stopping by the pond with him to look at the ducks, and walking by the house with the huge gnome that looked just like the one from the movie “Gnomeo and Juliet”. I would miss him pointing out stop signs, puppies, and seeing his eyes light up when the playground was in the distance. It was about looking for lost snack cups he had dropped on our route days earlier. So many things improved in my life because of this time together that my fitness goals became the last thing I was even thinking about while doing it. People always say, you’ll get the most results and enjoyment when it just becomes a way of life and not something you dread doing, and Grayson gave that to me. Warm or chilly, we both wouldn’t pass up the chance to go on one of our walks…

To all the dads and moms out there struggling… walking is okay, taking it slow is okay, and including your kid in your exercise is possible! But fair warning, if you are a man and choose to walk without a child or dog, you will get looks. You’re obviously a predator, or around the holidays, an amazon box thief. So if you feel uncomfortable with those looks, make sure to bring one of the two. But in all seriousness, with enough motivation you might end up being in the best mental and physical shape of your life, and create a way of life better than you ever thought possible. Not because of the exercise or the food you choose to eat, but because of the people you do that for.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. My goal with this one was truly to help any dads or moms out there like me realize that its not too late, and its not out of reach. I personally do not like broadcasting my mental or physical journey, and to best describe my feeling on the matter, what better than a quote from Lil Wayne… “Real G’s move in silence like lasagna.” Which in this case is referring to the hustlers out there that do what they gotta do for themselves and their family, and who personally don’t feel the need to share a gym selfie every day to prove to others that they’re putting in the work. Now to others, that can be a kind of motivation to hold themselves accountable. To each their own, it’s just not my thing. With that being said, I at least thought the success of my journey could be beneficial to someone, it would of been to me.

Lastly, shout out to my muse Grayson, everytime I look at him I’ll strive to be better in every way that I can, knowing he’s the one who sent me on this journey to begin with..

-Chime out

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