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I have been meaning to write this for a while, but alas I have been a bit preoccupied. This preoccupation is precisely what this article is about.
Life before kids was about me.
Prior to having children my life was pretty easy and quite rewarding. Evenings were spent going out to happy hours with friends. Weekends were filled with concerts, movies, sleeping in, and a whole host of other things.
Life was good and it was all about me and my wife Tina having fun.
And we saw our friends a lot. Each night was spent having dinner with one couple, going out to meet others, and getting to bed late. “Guy’s nights” were weekly things.
Then came our first kid.
Our son Alec was born in 2012. Tina and I began small incremental adjustments towards a life with a kid. At first we would take him with us as if nothing was really different. Not into the bars, but for most aspects of our life he was with us. Our goal was to incorporate him into our lives rather than adjust our lives around him.
We slowly noticed that our lives were shifting away from the crazy hectic weeks and packed weekends. We went from seeing friends every day to a more reduced lifestyle spent with him as our primary focus. Our friendships began to see gaps in the frequency we saw them.
Prior to having children my life was pretty easy and quite rewarding.
Then came our second kid.
Our second son Sky was born in 2015 and thoroughly changed everything. We were now a 4-person family with 2 dogs. It wasn’t until I realized I hadn’t talked to many of my friends in months that I decided to write this out.
For all of my friends who wonder why I am not out with you each week/month: I am sorry. I am raising 2 adults and want to be there along-side to guide them as they grow into themselves.
Each week our family spends time with a close group of families whom each have their own children around the same age as our 2 boys. These children are growing up together and forming life-long relationships.
They eat dinner and play together the same night every week at a restaurant with an attached playground. They sit down to a home-cooked family dinner together on the same night each week. It is like clockwork.
When friends ask me to do something during one of these 2 nights, I gladly turn them down. It could be the most amazing thing but my heart knows there is nothing more important than my children.
A few years ago I was completing an acquisition and was scheduled to move my family to San Francisco to begin working crazy hours. I am so glad it fell through at the last minute. If it had gone though I would never have met my son Sky.
When friends ask me to do something during one of these 2 nights, I gladly turn them down.
At the time it was a bit crushing to have the transaction fail, but now I see it as one of the best things that ever happened to me. I would have left for work before they woke up and gotten home just as they were going to bed. They would know “of their father,” but not know him in the way they do today.
I have changed to putting my kids first. They are getting the childhood I could have only dreamed about.
You are welcome boys. I love you.
Richard Bagdonas is a husband and proud father of 2 boys in Austin, Texas. He is the Chief Healthcare Architect at MI7 (mi7.io) and founder of Operation Turkey (operationturkey.com), a non-profit that feeds and clothes the homeless at Thanksgiving.