Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things

Category Archives: Family

Rules For Dating My Daughter

Courtesy of my dad…via his iPad…you gotta love technology!

RULE ONE: If you pull into my driveway and honk, you better be delivering a package because you’re sure not picking anything up.

RULE TWO: Do not touch my daughter in my presence. You may glare at her adoringly, so long as you do not peer at anything below the neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off my daughter I will remove them.

RULE THREE: I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off of your hips. Please don’t take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are idiots. If you show up at my home with your pants falling down I will be forced to ensure that they do not come off during the course of your date with my daughter by taking my electric staple gun and fastening the pants directly to your waist.

RULE FOUR: I’m sure you’ve been told that sex in today’s world without a “barrier device” can kill you. Let me elaborate: I am the barrier, and I will kill you.

RULE FIVE: Current thinking is that in order for you and me to get to know each other, we should talk politics, sports, and other issues. Do not do this. Your ignorance and stupidity will only serve to anger me. The only information I require of you is when you will have my daughter home. To this end, you only need two words: “early” and “sir”.

RULE SIX: I have no doubt that you are a popular fellow, with opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it’s okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you’ve gone out with my little girl you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you. If you make her cry, I will make you cry harder.

RULE SEVEN: As you stand in my hallway waiting for my daughter to appear, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time you should not be dating my daughter. She is doing her hair, putting on make-up, or whatever; a process that can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, do something useful, like change the oil in my car.

RULE EIGHT: The following places are not appropriate places to take my daughter: places with beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool – places where there are no parents, policemen, or nuns within eyesight – places that are dark or poorly lit – places where there is dancing, holding hands, or excessive happiness – places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my daughter to wear anything other than overalls, a sweater, and a goose down parka zipped up to her throat – movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme. Hockey games are okay, old folks homes are better, a convent is best.

RULE NINE: Do not ever lie to me. I may appear to be a middle-aged, dim-witted has-been, but on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing god of your universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel, and five acres behind the house. Do not trifle with me.

RULE TEN: Be afraid. Be very afraid. It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a chopper coming over a rice paddy. When my PTSD starts kicking in, the voices in my head frequently tell me to clean the guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home. As soon as you pull into driveway, you should exit your car with both hands in plain sight. Note the camouflaged face in the window is mine. Speak the perimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, then return to your car

What’s In The Box Doesn’t Matter

One of the truly wonderful things about having kids and becoming a parent is the authenticity you get to experience when engaging with your kids.  Yes, kids lie, that’s true.  But, ask a child if she likes the dinner you’ve plated, that’s based on some new recipe, and you’ll know the truth.  Ask an adult the same question and you’ll be met with a very politically correct answer.  Well, unless of course, you ask me 🙂

Christmas is one of those occasions where we seem to always try and out do one another, keep up with the Jones’ and impress with labels. Labels, you ask? Yes, labels. We’re all guilty of it, even I am. Under the Kmiec tree this year, there was no Louis, Jimmy or Tory.  Nada on the Prada, MK and Hermes.  Sorry, not a single item from Armani, Versace or Gucci – yes, we avoided the holy trinity. No Christian, Coach or Coco. Also, I must confess, there was no Lexus under the tree either.

Now, mind you, this is no assault on the wealthy, chic or stylish.  Without the label segment, we wouldn’t have people to gawk at, velvet ropes to envy and of course nothing to lust for.  And this isn’t me being above such items or brands.  I’m the first person to encourage purchasing 1 quality purse over 50 cheap ones.  Ditto on shoes, watches and umbrellas (trust me on this one).

No, this is more about the observation that kids don’t care what’s in the box, what the label is on the gift or the logo they’ll be displaying. And with good reason…they couldn’t tell you the difference between Coach and and Couch.  If anything they care more about the wrapping paper…or rather the joy of unwrapping their present. They’re equally as satisfied with 1 gift as they are with 100.  Seriously. I’ve watched this up close for 4+ years now.  It’s a really amazing thing to witness.  Honestly, it leaves me wanting to be as genuinely label disinterested as they are.  But, alas, though I’ve witnessed this authenticity and I’m a marketer, even I fall prey to label love…but I’m getting better!

There wasn’t a single present under the tree for me.  That’s what happens when you become a dad!  The likelihood your 4 year old is going to hop in the car, visit the mall and pick you a present that she paid for with her credit card…is…well…unlikely.  But, what I did get this Christmas was something much better than any company could provide:

John, Cora and Dad

I got to see those smiles and feel the real Christmas magic that we yearn for after watching a movie like Love Actually. Besides, if they were wearing a label it would say my name anyhow 🙂

A Magical Disney Adventure

I just got back from spending 6 days in Disney World with the kids and the ex-wife. You might be scratching your head about “ex-wife” so let me explain. Cheryl, my ex, and I get along great. Unlike most divorces, there’s no hate, animosity or awkwardness. We’re two people that are great friends and realized we shouldn’t be married. Believe me, I know I’m blessed. When we were getting divorced we agreed that Disney was something we wanted to do together with the kids. I you’ve ever been to Disney then you know how monumental of an event your first visit is. Visiting Disney isn’t so much a trip or a vacation, as it is an experience. From how you tell the kids they’re going to Disney, to the costumed characters, to the themed rides, to the parades and fireworks…oh yes, it’s an experience.

We were blessed with great weather throughout. The sun was out every single day and the temperature was consistently between 68 and 82 degrees. In short, it was exactly what you’d want it to be. We agonized over when to visit and finally settled on early November. This was definitely the right decision. The parks were rarely crowded which meant the was it times for the rides were short.

Over 6 days we covered Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. I think 6 days was a day too long, but the price for passes was actually cheaper than a 5 day trip. Crazy. We spent most of our trip at Magic Kingdom and Epcot; Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios were each 1/2 day experiences. There’s so much to see and experience; you never felt like you were repeating anything.

John and Cora had a blast. I was so proud of my kids. From how well they were behaved relative to other kids to how adventurous they were. For example, Cora rode the Kilimanjaro roller coaster at Animal Kingdom, TWICE, The Tower of Terror, Thunder Mountain and Test Track. Not bad for a 4 year old.

Of course the kids also wanted to see and visit with the characters. Over 6 days they met with: Pluto, Mickey, Minnie, Flick, Pinnochio, Daisy, Donald, Goofy, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Tigger, Whinnie The Poo, Buzz, Woody, Mike, Sully, Chip and Dale. Crazy, right? John even got a kiss from Tinkerbell!

I can’t say enough about how amazing the Disney staff were. There was always a smile and a bounce in their step. You don’t realize how impressive this is until you head to the airport and interact with the surly and grumpy TSA staff. Disney proves that you can operationalize core values to each and every employee. The only nit I have with the Disney experience is how poor the food was…which could be overlooked if it weren’t so expensive. Hey, no one’s perfect. There’s not much I’d change about the experience. I’m really happy that Cheryl and I were able to give our kids a life time of memories.

Here’s a few photos from the trip all taken with my Nikon D700:

John playing the drums at Animal Kingdom

Cinderella’s Castle

Cora after getting her face painted

John driving a car (I can’t even describe the laughter and pure enjoyment he had driving this car)

A caricature of the kids

Me with Tinkerbell

 

A Mug For Dad

I’m sure I made many gifts like this for my dad, over the years. Cora made this one for me at school and then updated it right in front of me after I unwrapped it. It was as funny and perplexing as it sounds. I will be proudly displaying this mug and her hand written card on my desk at work, later today.

Merry Christmas 2010

This is what Christmas is all about.  It’s not about $600 purses, new cars, jewelry from Tiffany’s, expensive bottles of wine or any other material items.  Nope, this is what makes Christmas amazing…seeing these two faces after they’ve made sure Santa ate some cookies, drank his milk and shared the carrots with Rudolph.

It’s the little things that are the big things.  Merry Christmas.

A Little Nostalgia

Found this photo while digging through old baby photos.

It’s a picture of my Grandfather, an avid fisherman hanging out with me on his farm in New Hampshire.  I can only imagine the advice he was imparting on me.  You gotta love these candid moments.  I’m so glad my dad was there to capture the moment.

Remember When

I’m stealing from myself with the following paragraph I wrote last December:

In one of the greatest episodes of The Sopranos, ironically titled “Remember When” Tony scolds Paulie for looking back and reminiscing. With such disdain he utters, “remember when is the lowest form of conversation.” When I watched this live on HBO, I recall thinking, “damn that was harsh.” But, the more I think about it, I tend to agree with Tony’s feelings…albeit for different reasons. See, I think the reason remember when is lowest form of conversation is because we should have been talking about the moment…while we’re in the moment…instead of waiting 20 years to talk about that moment.  Remembering the moment later on in life instead of giving it the acknowledgement it deserved while it was happening, cheapens the moment…making it the lowest form of conversation.

Well, that’s all fine well and good, but this weekend I got to look through some of my old baby photos and couldn’t believe I was ever this cute.

God, I haven’t aged well. On the plus side though, looking at these photos reinforces that John looks just like me!

Parenting

It’s tough being a parent.  It’s tough to know when to push them, when to let them fly, when to offer advice, when to let them make mistakes, when to coddle and when to be stern.  When you do these things is different based on each kid, each situation and each day.  There’s a lot of variables to consider and you make a lot of mistakes.  You make mistakes all the time.  You’d think you’d learn from those mistakes, but no situation is ever the same…you never run into a situation twice.  They are all unique.

The relationship you have with your parents changes all the time.  One minute they are a disciplinarian, the next your friend, the next your confidant.  There were days I wanted to kill my parents and run away from home.  Then there were days where I was so thankful that I had such amazing parents.

It’s interesting to go from being someone’s child to having children.  You swear that you’ll do things different and better.  But, there’s no manual to make sure you’re a great parent.  There’s a lot of trial and error.  It can be a frustrating experience because you want so much to do the right thing, but you’re never 100% sure what the right thing is.

But, you try.  You try to be the best you can be.  You try to provide the best guidance you can.  And eventually you have to trust that your kids are going to make the right decisions.  After all, you’ve given them the foundation.  That’s what I love about my parents.  They’ve always offered me advice, but trusted that I’d make the right decision because of my strong foundation.  Now, the number of times I’ve screwed up, made a mistake or done the opposite of what they’ve asked for is immeasurable.  And yet, they’re always supportive.  They’re always willing to listen, offer advice and when needed console.

I hope to have the same strength, insight and penchant for knowing when to push them, when to let them fly, when to offer advice, when to let them make mistakes, when to coddle and when to be stern. I hope that one day I prove to be the type of parent I’ve been fortunate to have.

If anyone comes across an official manual, please send it my way!

John’s 1st Birthday Party

Technically, John doesn’t turn 1 for 2 more days. His official birthday is June 15. But, we decided to get some family and friends to celebrate his 1st birthday today. John had a blast and to say that he was showered with gifts would be an understatement. It’s clear that John is loved, not only by his parents, but by so many others.

Also, from the looks of it, I think he enjoyed that birthday cake! Nothing like your first taste of sugar and chocolate.

Am I OK?

I feel like I’ve been getting that question a lot lately from friends (virtual and real), colleagues and family. Some have been direct. Others have just given me that look that begs for an answer…some response…some indication…some acknowledgement.

95% of the content on this site is geared toward marketing, advertising, social media, interactive and things of a professional nature. Every so often though I’ll sneak in a post about my family.  After all they are just as much a part of who I am as the accomplishments I’ve accumulate over the years. But, I know you don’t visit my site for that content. Yet, you tolerate it. With that I ask you to tolerate one more post about my family.

My wife and I are getting a divorce. Yes, a divorce. It’s strange to see that word on the screen. It’s a word I never thought I’d mention in the context of my own marriage. But, there it is.

You know, I hate failing at anything. I hate losing at anything. It doesn’t matter if the stakes are small or large. I simply hate losing. Divorce is the ultimate loss. Because on many levels it’s as if you’ve failed at life. When you get a divorce you’ve failed your significant other, their friends, their family, your friends, your family and your kids. But, most of all, you’ve failed yourself. After all, no one goes into a marriage thinking they’ll get a divorce.

So when you get a divorce it means you’ve failed.

I don’t take failure lightly. I’ve never failed at the same thing twice. It’s never happened and I don’t intend on it happening. As to what that means, I’m not sure…yet.

So am I OK?

You know, as strange as it is, I am. There are people who focus on what things aren’t, instead of what things are. I don’t do that. I’ve known Cheryl for 12 years. We met in Spring of 1998. I often joked that Cheryl new me when I was an asshole and she still married me. And if that ain’t love, what is?

She was my best friend. She picked me off the ground when I failed and pushed me to better than I was the previous day. She was also there to root me on and champion my successes. Cheryl has a tender touch and a big heart. There’s a certain warmth that overtakes a room when she enters. Strangers instantly become charmed and everyone rests at ease. As a mother, there is none better. Our kids know love, compassion and caring. It’s a reassuring fact when I’m not home, on the road and traveling.

No divorce is ever easy regardless of how “civil” or “amicable” it is. Failure in this case doesn’t mean a mistake though. My marriage wasn’t a mistake.

In 7 years of marriage there were good days and bad days. You can’t spend that much time with someone and not have a mix of ups and downs. The biggest ups of course were John and Cora. You can’t help but look at them and know that despite a marriage that ends in divorce, it was worth it and then some. John and Cora are the bridge that will keep us connected and in each other’s lives. For that I’m thankful.

Life is full of changes. This is just another one. Change while often difficult can be a good thing. I’m convinced that this will eventually be something I can look back on and know that while difficult, was a good thing.