Dads and daughters
I did it. I took a day off blogging last week. One of those days where you get up, go to the gym, go to work, pick kids up from school, play with them, have dinner, put them to bed, go to a Board of Directors meeting, go straight to pick up a client for my second job, and ultimately start your day at 5 am and your first minute to yourself comes at 1 am when you get home.
I then proceeded to get too entrapped with other stuff and not pick up the blogging machine again until today, but I am looking forward to getting back in the saddle. Thirty second synopsis of the last six days:
- Bad Boys for Life is excellent. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence never disappoint, and as a buddy cop action movie it was everything I needed it to be and more in its paying homage to a genre of decades past. Go see it.
- I got a preview of what’s to come over this weekend with helping get my nephew to and from soccer games. I learned the value of bringing lots of snacks and having blu rays on hand for the dad wagon. I’m glad those things are comfortable and well built, and that I have a good detailer guy because she’s gonna see a lot of KMs real soon.
- There are a lot of rewarding ways to give back in life once we open our eyes to the possibilities. These range from the top down level of sitting on a Board of Directors (had two meetings this week), to simply being someone others can turn to in their time of need (we were able to help arrange for a new dad to be gifted his prescriptions this month because he had to decide between his medication and formula with his last cash before payday and of course picked formula). The world around us gets a little bit better when we look outside of our own bubble to see how we can be of assistance to each other, even when our ties are loose.
I was inspired to write today’s post in two ways. Both by the tragic news of the horrific accident involving Kobe Bryant and his daughter GiGI, and also by reflecting upon things happening in my own life.
The news of yesterday's fatal helicopter crash had me stunned. My phone needs some genius bar TLC because the charging port isn’t working. As such, yesterday I had to leave it on the wireless charger when I took my kids to the children’s library downtown and the Kobe news arrived on my watch. I sincerely and truly hoped it was a prank, mistake, or joke. Apple News and TMZ unfortunately were telling the truth. I have never admired Kobe as a person while he was a player. His rape case in 2003 in Colorado really soured me on him, and I was always a Shaq guy to begin with. Marriage to me was a sacred vow, even long before I ever figured out dating, and infidelity was a line I couldn't respect or excuse him crossing. But, I did always admire him as the ultimate competitor.
His work ethic and will to win were both legendary. Kobe was inspiring in terms of his desire and dedication to being the most prepared and successful person on the floor. He would put in two to three hours of private workouts before his team practices even started, and then would go 100% every second of a two to three hour team workout.
As an athlete myself, I never had that killer instinct that he possessed, but I always admired him for it. Kobe did not have the word quit in his vocabulary. In the capitalistic society we live in, the guys like Kobe who would step on the jugular of their grandmother to win at a game of snakes and ladders at the dining room table always end up going places.
My opinion on Kobe off the court changed drastically once he retired. As a charismatic, well-spoken former superstar; his next move was really whatever he wanted it to be. He chose his family.
Kobe after retirement could’ve been a better former-player-turned-coach than Steve Kerr. Wins, titles, the works. He had the elite basketball knowledge, the universal respect needed to be heard, and the charisma to relate to and inspire players and fellow coaches alike.
If he chose broadcasting, he could’ve been better than Tony Romo. Well-spoken, fluent in multiple languages, observant, and funny. But he chose his wife and four daughters.
He took the unpaid job of coaching their AAU teams, and being there every day when they got home from school. The $500 million net worth and 20 years of adulation in the NBA was good enough, and he chose them. Hearing him talk on a podcast about how his business interests were great and all, but that being home with his family was the most fulfilling part of his life really struck a chord with me as someone who has different priorities than many of his friends.
Sadly, life ended far too soon yesterday in a fiery wreck on the side of a mountain in intense fog for both himself and his eldest daughter Gianna. Tragic. I can't recall ever being this stunned by someone passing away that I had never met. They had love, laughter, and precious time together in their very short window of life. I know he held her tight until the very last second. I know god is surrounding them with love in their journey to heaven as I write this. My heart is sad for the Bryant family.
My former stepdad on the other hand, didn’t have the same family first priority, self confidence, desire to succeed, or resources that Kobe had to be a successful father. He had booze. And anger. He destroyed the lives of his biological kids and stepkids alike, and Jack Daniels was the only person he answered to or cared for. His soul was empty and his life was meaningless.
My dad had a daughter. Their relationship started out with a bang, with him caring for her and I whenever he wasn’t working or communting 90 minutes each way to work. It was severed by the divorce and move to New Zealand, and it ended with a fizzle and in shattered pieces, with one of the last times they saw each other involving my dad risking his own safety to wrestle a knife from her before she hurt herself with it.
I have two daughters. They are brave, kind, loving, smart, fierce, sweet, loyal, creative, and hilarious. They are alike in so many ways, and opposite in so many others. They reflect the best parts of both my wife and I. They love reading, cooking, crafting, music, dance, sports, tickle fights, snuggling, movies, swimming, bike riding, playgrounds, surprises, birthday parties, arguing with us, each other, their brother, ice cream, vacation, friends, their grandparents, and a whole litany of other things. I’ve become such a better person for having them in my life, and they forced me to grow up into the man I am today in order to try to be the dad they both deserve.
Kobe Bryant went from being on top of the world to fighting for his freedom and legacy in a Colorado courtroom. Everyone makes mistakes, and Kobe to his credit realized his and redeemed himself. He picked his family over the spotlight, fully dedicated himself to his craft, and to being a dad and husband. He only spent 41 short years on this earth, and despite being loved the world over and in the top 0.1% of wealth, couldn’t protect his daughter from being taken so young with their lives in the hands of fog and a helicopter pilot.
My former stepdad didn’t care about anyone other than himself and his next drink. For all I know he could still be alive today. This doesn't seem fair.
My dad cared more than he ever verbalized; but due to his own issues, challenges, and upbringing didn’t always know how to show it or say it. His relationship with my sister was doomed early due to circumstances out of both of their controls, and he carried a sadness about it for the next 20 years of his shortened existence. He left our world too soon after a long stubborn battle with complications from surgery.
Every dad has their own unique journey, much of which is beyond their control. What they can control is the love and selflessness they live with every day.
I fully believe I was put on this earth and placed through the trials and tribulations I have been in order to love, cherish, support, and protect those around me.
Being entrusted with the beautiful yet fragile existence of my two little girls is equal parts scary and magical. I will do everything in my power to love, cherish, and protect them like Kobe Bryant did his own little girls.
I also realize that despite my best efforts in insulating, protecting, supporting, and loving them; there’s only so much within my control. That scares me. One massively tough pill to swallow.
But, with the mamba mentality Kobe bestowed upon all of us who followed him as a player, I will attack that fear head on and make every second with them count. They will never live a second questioning whether their dad is in their corner, on their side, or has their back. RIP MAMBA