This is Us in 2017

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I love these 2 pics for a few reasons:

  1. First, there’s the smile.  You can’t tell it in the first pic, but I’m doubled over in laughter and Samantha is trying her best to hold it all together.  It’s kind of a parable for our partnership.  She holds it together while I fall apart, sometimes (but rarely) it’s the other way around.
  2. Second, the second pic hints at a little of the magic that makes our partnership really tick.  It’s the intimate knowledge that comes from knowing each other since we were 18 year old college sweethearts, now, approaching 34, after 12 years of marriage, 3 kids, 1 niece, 2 mortgages, careers, loss, success, triumph, we’re still chasing dreams together…it’s just a knowing that comes with growing up together.

Last night after family movie night (we watched what my girls dubbed the “black Annie”), I wanted to re-watch the last episode of one of my favorite TV shows of all time- Friday Night Lights.  That show gets me every time, and I needed the simple reminders from both that show and the book I’m currently reading about being fearless.

We’re entering unchartered waters as a family.  I’m running for political office as a local city council member.  We’ve been civically active, but this is taking things to a new level. Samantha and I are used to it on a small scale (I ran for offices in undergrad while we dated), but our family?  Well, everything is new.  We’ve tried to normalize things for the girls, but to be honest it’s been a lot.  The hardest part for me is that I’m secretly (or perhaps not so secretly) a major control freak when it comes to schedules and routines.  So for our family, which runs on schedules and routines, nailing down schedules that incorporate new campaign responsibilities, while also maintaining previous priorities…I’ve developed a new personal mantra in 2017: ceding control.

It was actually the first serious conversation Samantha and I had about the campaign once we made the decision to run.  We sat down and talked with all 4 kids about the prospect of what a campaign might do to our lives and necessary sacrifices (though as I write this, I’m thinking this is something we will likely have to keep circling back to).  Most importantly, Samantha sat me down separately and in no uncertain terms expressed that I was going to have to let go of some things, namely some responsibilities that I hold around the house.  I remember this conversation fondly because it occurred during a meltdown I was having one Saturday morning in December. I was busy trying to figure out how to impossibly prioritize 4-5 competing tasks, when suddenly in swooped Samantha and the kids and just like that, laundry got folded (usually my task), dishes got cleaned, and I got to make a few additional fundraising calls.

It hasn’t always worked out that neatly, and there have been plenty of late nights and moments where I’ve wondered…something isn’t going to get done today…too bad I can’t remember what it was now… But I think the thing I’m most proud of thus far at least is our ability to plan for the big picture with the family in mind.  It make sense, my campaign is all about uplifting families in South Fulton, so I’ve always wanted a campaign that was inclusive of my own family.  Thus far at least, we’ve been able to plan campaign events, meetings, etc around a few non-negotiables: mandatory family dinners 3 times a week (something we started in 2015 and has served us well as a family), family movie nights on Fridays (yesterday it was Annie, but last week’s Sing was amazing), and 2 standing commitments with the girls (gymnastics on Tuesdays) and Small group on Wednesdays.

I have a team of folks that get it, but what I’m most interested in is seeing my daughters get it.  A mentor of mine once wrote, vision is more caught than taught.  I’m a firm believer in this premise, which means that as a father I’ve got to continue to model how to live out my values even as I chase my dreams and life becomes more complicated.

And here’s one final secret- I’m having a blast doing it.  Yeah, it’s hard work.   Yep, it’s been especially difficult juggling multiple full time jobs to do it, and especially hard being sick the past week on top of it all.  But I gave my campaign team 3 mottos for our campaign: let’s be disciplined, let’s be prepared, and let’s have fun.  The having fun part is by far the most important to me, otherwise, why am I doing this again?  I hope my girls see that and as they pursue their own passions in life, remember that this is where the fun begins.

SDW3

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