few Saturday mornings ago Episode IV and I were snuggling together in bed talking about her upcoming birthday: “So you’re going to be nine pretty soon” I said. “That’s pretty cool, huh?” “You know what that means, Daddy.” “What?” “That means I’m half way done with living in your house.” *input the sound of a grown man getting punched in the solar plexus* Before I go on any further, watch the video below. The reveal happens at about 0:09. I promise it isn’t what you think it’s gonna be. That’s how it’s always been with her. One day when she was 16 months old she just decided “Today is the day I’m going to start walking”. No lead up. No rehearsal. No preparation. Just *BOOM*. Off she went. “See ya, folks! I’m out’a here!” When she learned how to ride a bike it was pretty much the same thing. When this girl decides she’s going to do something, there is absolutely nothing in the world that can tell her she can’t do it. My mother likes to tease me that it wasn’t my academic prowess that got me into dental school. I got in on pure moxie. She’s probably right. It’s no mystery where Episode IV got it. If you knew her, the fact that she asked for a unicycle for Xmas wouldn’t surprise you… in the big picture. In the moment though, sitting there over raviolis and mashed potatoes when she made the request, I’d be lying if I said that UnDorkMommy and I weren’t a little shell-shocked. We exchanged looks as if to say “WTF?!” because seriously, what 8yo girl asks for a unicycle for Xmas? Apparently mine does. So courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa, a unicycle is exactly what she got. I was convinced it was going to go one of two ways. Either she was going to try it once or twice, figure out that it was too hard and move on, or it was going to be 6 months of Saturdays at the elementary school basketball court while my little drama queen got mad at the unicycle for not doing what she wanted it to do. As it turns out it only took 4 practice sessions. That’s it. Done. Off she went. I love that my girl doesn’t accept the notion that there are things in this world she cannot do. When she makes up her mind how things are going to go, there is no discussion. That’s just the way it’s going to be. That will serve her well in life, in this world that is tougher for women than it is for men. I am especially proud of the fact that, as opposed to her slacker father, she is willing to put in all the hard work necessary to make it impossible for anyone to tell her “no”. So consider this a warning: If you happen to sit on the admissions board at Stanford University in about nine years, be advised. My daughter is coming for you, and she won’t take “no” for an answer. -Dork Daddy
To everyone who helped raise funds for his family through our t-shirt campaign, you have my immeasurable thanks. Between our efforts and those of so many others, over $30,000 was raised, and it made a huge difference. But I’ll tell you who made a difference.
Oren Miller made a difference.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I started this blog because I was lonely.
It wasn’t that there weren’t any people in my life. It was that there weren’t a lot of people who could relate to the specific life I was having… the life of an engaged, caring (dorky) husband and father. I had visions of this blog becoming a hub for other nerdy dads to come together and share their love for nerdiness and fatherhood.
And then I found Oren’s group. It’s a community of fathers and bloggers that started off small and has grown to over 1000 members strong. It’s a support group where we can come together for advice. It’s a therapy session where we can find a virtual man-hug if we need one. It’s a safe place for us to share our victories, our failures, our laughter and a well-placed dick joke. It’s a community. It’s the community I needed. It’s the community more than 1000 of us needed.
Oren built that.
Not two days after hundreds of us returned from a powerfully positive, uplifting, life-affirming dadblogger conference, sharing our stories and our pictures and our misadventures, Oren – our friend and leader – shared with us the news:
The treatment wasn’t working. His body can’t handle it. There are no more options. The fight is over.
We love Oren and he has many legacies. Of course he has his children who, although they may not remember him well, have been immeasurably affected by his influence on their lives. Of course he has his writing, which exists on a talent-plane beyond the reach of all but the very best of us and will live inexorably on as long as there is an internet. But he also has this community, which he cobbled together. He built this community that I needed, that so many of us needed, and for that I can only say two words which sound so desperate, so weak, so insufficient:
Oren, count me among the chorus of lives in which you have made a profound difference. May your remaining time be spent with love, warmth and comfort. May you feel your children’s kisses on your face and may your ears be filled with the sound of their laughter. May you feel ever more clearly the warmth of your wife’s embrace. May you feel the sun as spring blooms and know peace in your heart. Know that there are men, writers, fathers all over the world holding you at the front of their hearts, grateful for the fact that you walked on this planet.
We love you. We will miss you.