Humble Pie

12 Aug

letter So what use is social media if not for bragging about your kids (or fomenting revolution)? In general I’m not particularly calling for any revolution — except perhaps against dental insurance companies. Seriously people, you have no idea how much you are being taken advantage of; even those of you who think you have “pretty good coverage.” But I digress. That means the only thing I have to offer the internet of any value is bragging about my kids.

I make no apologies about it. Heck, I’ve got an entire blog dedicated to them. They are the only thing I have given the world that has made my time here worthwhile. They are my life’s work and the metric by which I measure my success and value as a member of the human race. They are amazing kids, all three of them, and I am justifiably proud of them. And ultimately that’s what keeps me coming back and wasting so much time on social media.

It isn’t the “Candy Crush” time wasters, or the fast-track to news on the latest Batman casting rumors. It’s sharing with the people in my life (past and present) that which I am most proud of – that which is quintessentially me – that which consumes my every thought and informs my every decision: my family. Because let’s get real – I really have no life, and therefore nothing to offer, outside of my family.

So share I have since the first day I set foot in Facebook back in 2008. I’m the obnoxious, in-your-face guy spamming your newsfeed with pictures “Look at this awesome picture she drew. Isn’t she amazing?” or “Look at them on the roller coaster. Aren’t they amazing?” or “Here he is wearing his sister’s clothes. Isn’t he amazing?” or “Check us out posing outside the gates to Skywalker Ranch. Aren’t my kids amazing?” For those of you who only follow this blog’s FB feed, you may think it’s bad. Trust me. My personal feed is ten times worse.

This weekend was nothing different. We went up to visit my parents at the lake for Episode V’s 5th birthday, and I fully expected to spam all my FB followers with scads of obnoxiously cute pictures of that weekend’s activities, chief among which was an hour spent with Episodes IV and V on jet skis, something we’ve never done before. We mounted our jet skis and I went out of my way to get just the right shot of us ready to head out. I posted the picture with the title “Episode V’s 5th birthday of awesomeness” and we headed out for an hour of thrills on the water.

family

When we got back and the kids were all packed up in the car I thumbed the FB app on my phone to obsessively see what had happened while we were out. A comment under my recently posted picture grabbed me.

“I am jealous. You give your kids things I couldn’t even dream of.”

Yikes.

Maybe my FB friend thought we frivolously bought and now owned two jet skis just for the sake of my son’s 5th birthday. I wanted to make it clear we don’t roll like that.

“Rentals. Rentals,” I replied.

“Still, it’d take nearly three months of paychecks to get that done”

That short little exchange stuck with me all weekend. I went to bed last night thinking about it, and it was on my mind when I woke up. All I wanted to do was share my joy with the people in my life, and in so doing I had inadvertently made someone else feel marginalized.

The last thing in the entire world I want to do is make someone else feel bad.

I’ve known these people for the better part of seven years. They are good people, all-in parents (and hardcore dorks to boot). They pour everything they have into raising their kids. They work very hard to make ends meet and they deserve all the dignity and respect that comes with that kind of commitment.

…but when you’re excited about something, as I am about my family and was about our little jet skiing adventure, it’s easy to lose sight of just what a luxury it is to “have” anything at all to pour into raising your kids.

Being a dad doesn't suck. But flaunting it might.

Being a dad doesn’t suck. But flaunting it might.

I am very, very cognizant of how fortunate I am to be in the position I am. My career affords me more free time than most, latitude with how I use that time, and the ability to rent two jet skis on short notice should the opportunity present itself. In fact, that’s precisely why I chose this career over others that I might have enjoyed more but didn’t provide the fringe benefits that this one does. Every day I am aware of how lucky I am, and I never ever take that luck for granted. It gives me the ability to revel in what gives me joy (my family) and I want to share that joy with the people in my life. For crying out loud, I’ve got an entire blog dedicated to sharing that love.

But perhaps, in my enthusiasm, I’ve lost sight of how that same enthusiasm can come across to other people. There are people in my newsfeed who I know would love more than anything to have a family and children, but for whatever reason it just hasn’t materialized. The last thing I want is for my constant “I love my family!” posts to be a droning reminder to someone else about something that they want but don’t have.

There are people in my newsfeed who would kill to go to Comic Con… even once. Perhaps my “*Sigh* Comic Con isn’t what it used to be” posts are the sort of 1st world problems Veruca Salt would complain about.

There are people in my newsfeed who would love to take a little mini vacation on the weekends. The last thing I want is for my “look at this Optimus Prime costume we made” or “check out what I brought home this weekend” or “build a hovercraft in your backyard for around $200” posts to bring someone down because making ends meet doesn’t leave room for those sorts of extras.

What I don’t want to be is that guy who says “Look what I got. Neener, neener, neener!”

stark-car

Obnoxious.

As with anything, moderation is always the best way to go. There’s no shame in being proud of your family. There’s no shame in proclaiming your love for them. I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong, necessarily.

But as with all things, I’ve got kids to bring up. If you subscribe to the argument that the best way to teach a child is to lead by example, then it can’t hurt for me to stop down before I do something and think about how that might come across from someone else’s perspective.

I suppose the lesson here is that turning the dork-volume all the way up to 10 really isn’t necessary when 9 will get the job done just as effectively.

-Dork Dad

humble pie

9 Responses to “Humble Pie”

  1. Mithrin August 12, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

    “I suppose the lesson here is that turning the dork-volume all the way up to 10 really isn’t necessary when 9 will get the job done just as effectively.”

    But… these go to eleven.

    • Mithrin August 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

      Seriously, though, I think it’s great that you care so much about your family. I may be a member of the “waiting for something to happen” crowd, but your posts give me a glimpse of the love and joy that I may one day experience. So, thank you.

  2. my27stars August 12, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    I don’t think you’re flaunting anything. I’m not well-off in the slightest, and there’s no way we’ll be able to afford Disney World vacations or even jet ski rentals without saving for at least a year or two – but I fully recognize that I have not worked as hard as you have in the same areas that you have and I have not had the same circumstances that you have to get me to where I am. But I’ve known a few things about you since I clicked “follow” on here and “like” on FB, and those are that you are a dork, you have a family whom you adore, you enjoy playing and doing as much as your kids do, and you’re a dentist who runs his own practice. I’ve known this whole time that you’re going to be able to afford the time and money to do a lot of really cool things that I’ve only dreamed of – but not once have I looked at pictures you’ve posted and thought, “Wow, what a jerk – he’s showing off another awesome thing that I can’t do” – but I regularly do think, “That’s flippin awesome! I love how much he loves his family! It’ll be freaking sweet when we’re in a position where we have the luxuries that he’s worked crazy hard for.” You keep loving your family the way you do, and take them on all of the adventures that they deserve. And keep showing it off – because you should be crazy proud of them and what you’re able to provide for them. 🙂

    • dorkdad August 13, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

      Thank you, Kortney. I really appreciated reading that.

    • Diana August 15, 2013 at 8:39 am #

      I totally agree. No need to tone it down. Some of us like to live vicariously and hope. And you do not come across as arrogant or entitled in anything I’ve read. People will always be jealous. No matter what you say. The grass is always greener… But that is their problem, not yours. Just keep doing what you do. Enjoy what you’ve worked for, and what you’ve been given. And let us enjoy it with you.

  3. zeudytigre August 12, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

    If you can afford the time and money to give your kids an awesome time then do it and enjoy! I couldn’t do half the things you do but I choose to read about your adventures. I have that choice, to read or not. I like the honesty of your writing and the sheer fun you seem to get out of doing all of these things as a family. The exuberance is part of the attraction of your blog; I don’t see any need to tone it down. You should not need to apologise for your success.You got there; well done 🙂

  4. larva225 August 13, 2013 at 5:14 am #

    I second all the comments above with respect to why diminish your accomplishments? You chose your career wisely and to some degree at personal expense. However, that now pays off for your family.
    I have bad spells where I need to just avoid FB for a day or two in order to avoid everyone’s vacation pictures. Those are usually the days I’m drowning in diapers x 2 and doing so on no sleep. But I get over it, and I never begrudge happiness for those people.
    And hell, I’ll never get to Comic-Con, so I need to live vicariously through you. Even if I could swing the travel and ticket expenses, realistically those crowds would freak me out.

  5. Escaping Elegance August 14, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    You weren’t bragging, you were sharing… and more importantly, you weren’t complaining.

    We have a woman who comes to our house every two weeks to do the heavy cleaning. I KNOW how lucky we are to be in a position to afford this, but my husband and I work our butts off to be able to afford this so we don’t have to spend our precious weekend time cleaning instead of with the kids. I hate the night before cleaning day because it is a mad scramble to get the house organized enough to be cleaned, but I sure as hell don’t complain about that to anyone except my The Husband… know what I mean? “Oh no, I have to go home and tidy up for the cleaning lady… boo, hoo!”

  6. Sam Lupica August 20, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    I here what you are saying we are all afforded different things in life… and yes you never want to flaunt… But what I have gotten most out of reading your blog has nothing to do with whether I can afford or not afford something.

    What I have gotten most out of it is making sure I take the time to do something!! Whether it is kicking the soccer ball with my girls or buying an atlas (my older daughter is suddenly into maps) so we can outline every road trip we have taken this year or trying to build a lego tower to the ceiling (something my older daughter and I are going to attempt in the very near future).

    Reading your blog has been about creating experiences that your children will remember and for that I applaud you and say keep challenging me to be a better “DorkDad”!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: