February 25, 2015

My Most Treasured Map

I've always had a fascination with maps. Ever since I was little I can remember unfolding them and just staring at them wondering about the places that they represent. My grandparents had a lot of maps, they came as inserts in the National Geographic magazines that they collected. Places on earth that were so foreign to me, I could spread out on a table and imagine what took place in that little part of the world.  I could look at a map for hours perhaps wondering where they will lead me.

They are nothing more than a bunch lines and symbols, but to me they've always meant so much more. Whenever I look at a map I wonder about the people. Who are they? Where they might work. What route they might take to get to that job. How far they might have to go to the grocery store. I like to explore a map and let the stories unfold in front of my eyes. You see a piece of paper... I see the greatest story ever told.

A map is my Harry Potter, it's my War and Peace, my To Kill a Mockingbird all folded into one. The stories that can be told in a map are endless.

I’m reminded of all this as I stare out of an airplane window at 35,000 feet.  The snow covered ground below looks like a white tile floor from up there. What will be a stream or a river in the spring time after the snow melts are just little lines meandering through endless valleys.  Roads run off into the distance, where they end I do not know, but I'm sure there is a story there.  From 35,000 feet the Earth looks like one big beautiful map.

This past weekend I feel like my maps came to life.  Dads from all of the world — places that I have only dreamt about — came together to share their stories with me. No longer did I have to imagine what the people and places were like.  I didn’t have to take out a map of Canada and wonder. I got to actually talk to people from Ottawa, Calgary, and Fredricton. Sydney was no longer foreign to me. Ireland was sitting across the table sharing a beer. New Mexico, Florida, Los Angeles, Chicago, Indianapolis, Portland… every single place had a story, and every single place was just as I imagined, which is to say, not much different than where I live.

The Dad 2.0 Summit was like giant map of the world that I could unfurl.  In one corner you get a story about a guy who has been on the road with his family for the past year. Along a fold  there is a dad who struggles daily with depression, and from somewhere in the middle is a stay at home dad with twin boys who battles with the feeling of being isolated. I knew these stories going in, but I really didn’t know the men behind them.  Like places on a map, I knew where they were from, but I had never actually visited.

The world is a little smaller now than it was last week.  I may not physically know the places each dot on a map represents, but I no longer have to imagine what it's like to live there.  I can look at my map now and know exactly where John lives, where Lorne lives, where Bill lives, where Jeff lives.  The maps no longer tell me where I want to go... they tell where I've been.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


February 10, 2015

Your Dog Might be Better Than Mine

I sometimes feel like I am failing as a dog owner.

How much am I supposed to be doing with her? She gets to go out for walks, fetches toys that I throw, and gets treats when she sits or rolls over, but I feel bad that I am not doing more. Should I be enrolled in a puppy and me class? Should I be setting up doggy playdates for her? I can't really take her to a park and let her go on the playground, so what more am I supposed to do?

There are no doggy museums that we can go to. Movie theaters are off limits. I can't take her to the mall. Grocery shopping? I'm pretty sure unless I am blind, they don't look to kindly upon a dog walking through the produce section.

She's three months old now, but I am concerned that all of the other dogs are passing her by.

Certainly I am missing out on something. I see all of these dogs on TV doing flips, walking on tightropes, and catching frisbees. My dog doesn't do any of those things. She chases the same toy that I throw over and over and over and can never get enough of that. I've seen dog shows on TV where dogs march in perfect unison with the most perfectly groomed fur. Mine always looks like she has just woken up with a sever case of bed head. Give her a bath and she looks like a rat, not quite up to Westminster potential.

A video posted by @jdubs44 on

Maybe I'm over-reacting to things, but it seems that everyone's dog can do so much more than ours.  Your dog might be better than mine. All our dog does is constantly lick our faces and curl up on our laps to fall asleep.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?