Here’s how I found my car Monday afternoon, leaving a meeting downtown Atlanta. This on the heels of an already rough morning where I spent hours at the pediatrician with my daughter in waiting room purgatory. Not my best day. Who did I immediately text (and share the obligatory pic with)? Not the wife (she was my second call, I knew how that conversation would go), nope it was my boys and we had a hilarious text chain that ultimately ended with this synopsis…just another day in the life right? Somehow that made me feel better, and off I was to the next thing in my day.
I’m fortunate enough to have a close circle of dads that we’ve experienced this journey of marriage and fatherhood together in lockstep now for well over a decade. For our circle of dads, the ties run deep: our wives are besties, our families vacation together, our kids are god-siblings…you get the picture. We’ve been there for each other through marital struggles, childbearing struggles, job loss, new homes, all the ups and downs. Last year when my wife at 36 weeks pregnant was in a car accident and I was an emotional wreck as I met her at the hospital, I called one of these dads to meet me there and he was there immediately. We spent the evening traveling down the dark country roads of Georgia looking for my abandoned van, while my wife recovered at the hospital surrounded by other love ones.
It’s the sense of being present for one another that has forged such deep friendships. Sure, we regularly chat via text about all the everyday quips of marriage and fatherhood (most of which I hope never sees the light of day!). But my favorite times are when we get to catch up in person or over the phone. Yesterday evening while driving to a meeting in Milton I had the opportunity to catch up with one of my friends, Chris.
So we’re doing the usual rundown of how things are going…i.e. spent Monday in pediatrician purgatory while waiting for my daughter to be seen, have a parent teacher conference coming up, interrupted in the bathroom yet again by another invasive child…those kinds of things. Then, as conversations usually do, they took a turn. This time, we started talking about our future. Our hopes and dreams. Those not so distant things that from time to time, seem to feel distant when we get caught up in the rigors of everyday life.
It just so happened that earlier that day, both of us had been in a space where we wanted to take some steps towards our bigger picture futures. I sent out a few emails launching our sponsor a student campaign for a nonprofit that I support. He sent me a text about a focus group he was organizing for a book he was in the process of writing. The cool thing is, we didn’t plan to organically be on the same page about pursuing bigger picture goals that day, but there we were, both thinking about the forest, despite the trees.
So when we hopped on the phone to catch up that afternoon, it was no surprise that eventually the conversation turned from the mundane (but relatively important), to the exciting steps we were each taking towards our future goals. Truth be told, this always tends to happen with my circle of friends, whether it’s my two childhood friends Yusef and Reggie, or my close dads that I associate with, Chris, Paul, and Hosea. We share our hopes and dreams with each other, and we have the kind of relationship that allows us to be accountable to one another. So, when we catch up, we acknowledge the trees (what’s right in front of us), but then we start looking at the bigger picture of each of our lives. That’s when the real fun of friendship begins.
For dads, it’s crucial that we have people like this in our lives, other dads who know our hopes and dreams who can serve as companions on a similar journey. I’m so thankful for friends that through the years have been able to walk through 5 year plans and yearly goals with Samantha and I, people who care about us and who are invested in our daily realities and our future. It’s this kind of friendship that at the end of a long day, in a parking lot miles away from home, keeps me going.