Long days short years

Essay, The Charlotte News

On November 2, 2009, two weeks after Noah was born, I was laid off from my job as the creative director of a living-history park in Utah. The day had started off like any other for two new parents- hectic.

Shortly after I arrived at the office that day, I found myself sitting across from my boss as he blew sunshine where it did not belong, telling me how this was an extremely hard decision and he had been up half the night and blah blah blah. They wanted to go in a new direction, get someone with marketing experience. I was completely blindsided.

Not quite two years earlier I had been hired as the graphic designer for the park. I never pretended to be a marketing genius; in fact, I had told them I did not know much about it. I only took the role only because they had fired the marketing person for not doing her job, and with the understanding that I would only do it for a short time until we could find someone else, someone with more training than I had. Nonetheless, I loved my job, and I was excited to go to work. I may have been learning on the fly, but I was giving 200 percent every day.

I left the office mad and scared. The park is over 400 acres with dozens of buildings and I headed for one I was sure would be empty. I sat on the porch exhausted. I looked out over the valley, wondering how I was going to tell Erin. After a short time I got in my car and drove home. Thankfully I’ve never been the breadwinner in the family. Still, the pain of being out of work weighed on me.

By the time I pulled into the driveway my plan was set. I would get a job in a restaurant. Since college it had been my standard fall-back plan when times were lean. That way I could at least contribute to the household income. I was the man of the house after all. I stood outside our front door, staring at the lock, trying to find words. I walked inside and right away Erin knew something was wrong. I told her what had happened and of my plan. She told me there was no way I was going to wait tables, I hated waiting tables, and I could stay home with Noah. The running joke since the beginning of our relationship was that I had found myself a sugar-momma and someday I would be a househusband. We had stayed in Utah because of my job. Me staying home had never really been talked about when we found out we were having a baby.

Now we were at a cross roads and I had a choice to make. Did I really want to be a stay-at-home dad? At first I was on the fence; I figured I could go out on my own. I had a healthy list of contacts and the experience. We figured why not give it a try, and I set to about creating a company. Soon Erin went back to work and I was a full-time dad, trying to juggle starting a business, caring for a baby and doing some consulting work for our church. The day it took me an hour and half to write a ten line email was the day I realized I had a choice to make. I could be a stay-at-home dad or I could be a graphic designer, but I could not be both. It did not take me very long to make my decision.

The last six years have been far from easy. I’ve learned so much about who I really am that at times I sit back in pure amazement at all of the changes that I have gone through. Several times I have told Erin that I could no longer handle staying at home and needed to find a job outside of the house. I’ve made two more attempts to start my own business each resulting in me spiraling into a stressed-out anxiety riddled state that leaves me short fused and unable to deal with the little things that come with raising two very strong willed rambunctious boys and running a house. No amount of money is worth that.

Ever Faster


Written 10/10/10

The days go by
Faster than I would like
Summer has turned to fall
You were due a year ago today
We sat around
Staring at Mommy’s belly
Wondering what you were
When you would arrive
Soon you will be one
Walking and talking
Time slips away
Ever faster

Cleaning For Company


Noah’s first birthday is just around the corner and because of this we have both sets of grandparents coming to visit.  Having our parents stay with us means one very important thing.  We need to get off our duffs and clean the two spare rooms downstairs.   Adding to the urgency is that Erin only has four days off between her last eleven-day run at work and her next ten-day run.

The easiest of the rooms to clean will be the guest room.  There are mostly large objects in this room, baby swings and seats and the like, all which are now too small for Noah.  At one point all of these things were stacked neatly in the corner, but for one reason or another they have now taken over the room along with a half-erected playpen. We are very much out-of-sight-out-of-mind type of people and having a child has only made that worse.  Once the pile started to move out of the corner and make itself more comfortable on the bed, I began tossing other things in there and shutting the door.    My parents come in two weeks so sooner or later I am going to have to venture in among the tethering piles of baby stuff and herd them neatly back into the corner.  Despite the fact that we have moved the wine cabinet into the room ( to child proof the family room) and there is a dresser to put their clothes in, my parents are not going to be pleased if they have to sleep on the floor, curled up in a ball due to lack of a space.    The other room which we call our office is in much worse shape than the bedroom.  Along with the out-of-sight out-of-mind mentality we are also pilers, which means we have piles of papers, clothes, and whatever else we do not want to deal with at the moment taking up space in the office. I even have an article about pilers and fillers that I cut out of the newspaper and put into a pile.   Not only is there no wine cabinet or dresser in this room; at this point there is not even a bed, a rather important item if that is where your in-laws are planning on sleeping.


Erin has gone back to work and other than moving around the piles in the office and making it look neater nothing has gotten done. Noah has been sick and Erin has not felt well. I have just not felt like cleaning.  Now the cleaning will have to be done in mad sprints while Noah is occupied or sequestered to his crib. My parents arrive in just over a week and I am sure that mad cleaning sprint will happen the night before they arrive once Noah has gone to bed.

Victorious – A Poem


We lie awake
Listening to him scream
The minutes pass like hours
We cannot move
Eventually the crying stops
A sigh of relief
Finally sleep

Rocking in the chair
He is asleep in my lap
I stand
He starts to cry
I keep moving to the crib
Placing him down gently
Whispering I Love You
I walk out of the room

His Screams follow me
Battered by exhaustion
I have no choice
He needs to learn
He is almost one
Moments of eternity pass
Then he is quiet

In the middle of the night
He cries briefly
Arousing us
Then silence

not allowing him to cry

He sleeps
We sleep, victorious
For now