I know this might sound strange, one of my biggest fears is dying before my daughter gets married and I have the chance to walk her down the aisle. No, I’m not sick nor am I dying of anything. Nor do I have any enemies out there that wish death upon me. For what ever reason since her birth this has been on my mind frequently. I’m sure it’s normal to some degree. So I decided to write a public letter to all of you in hopes to calm my fears.
My daughter Addyson is my world. Never did I think that having a child would have such a profound impact on my life. Not just my life but my heart. It’s almost hard to describe the emotions that flow through me. I’d walk away from radio, my dj gigs, move mountains, and travel the globe if it meant I was there for her. All doing in the blink of an eye with no hesitation. As do most parents I want the absolute best for her. Best daycare, best school, best city to live in, best family, and one day the best man.
The only thing that is certain in this life is you pay taxes and you die. Not to be morbid but that’s the unfortunate reality. I could leave work today and be killed in a car accident, someone could attempt to rob me, and the list goes on. None of us are promised tomorrow. I think knowing that is what drives my fears of leaving her behind. So here is my plea to you… my community. More especially the Charleston and Cincinnati communities.
The old saying goes, “it takes a community to raise a child”. If I should depart this world make me this promise… Please look after my wife Kelly and my daughter Addyson. Make sure they have everything they need, make sure Addyson is safe through out her travels in life, make sure they’re taken care of, and make sure no harm ever comes to her. Protect her as I would through life’s tough times and celebrate with her through life’s accomplishments.
Lastly, make sure she knows she was the light of my world and Daddy loved her more than anything imaginable.
Over the last 9 years of living here in Charleston I’ve had a dozen job offers from around the country. From Memphis to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and several points in between. Like everyone reading this I’ve had my bad days. Everyone from corporate executives and senior management all the to the lowest man on the totem pole. We’ve all had days where we’ve questioned our career decisions. With the passing of my grandfather I’ve been questioning a lot of decisions I’ve made.
Of course, if I hadn’t moved to West Virginia I would have never met Kelly which in turn would mean I wouldn’t have Addyson. Two of the greatest things in my life.
Since his passing I’ve been questioning a lot of these career decisions. Should I have taken an opportunity in Cincinnati to be closer to family? Should I have taken in opportunity in Pittsburgh to make a little more money in my radio career and be able to do less DJ events which would have given me the ability to spend more time with my family in Ohio? What could I have done differently to have been able to spend more time with my grandfather before he passed away?
Days before he passed away he told his wife how proud he was of me and told her “the best decision Nick ever made was moving to West Virginia.”
After weeks of depression from the loss of a loved one I finally get it. He couldn’t have been more right. I have an amazing wife, a beautiful daughter, friends that are always there for me, a wonderful radio career with almost 9 years on Electric 102.7FM and a Entertainment Service that has an overwhelming amount inquires everyday.
He was right you know? The best decision I ever made… was moving to West Virginia.
The Holidays… You know, that time of year where we all get together with family and reflect on the many blessings we have. The time of year when we cook enormous feasts, give gifts and invite all the family over. It’s a cheerful time of year!
Unfortunately the Holiday’s aren’t always so cheerful for a lot of our neighbors. Growing up my Step-Father was a Minister at a Church in the Inner-City of Cincinnati. Over-The-Rhine for those who know the Cincinnati area. Oh, and I’m talking about the Over-The-Rhine of the late 80s/early 90s. Not a very safe area in those days and poverty ran rampant. Going to Church in this area through-out my childhood, along with our financial struggles with-in my family, made me realize that there is always someone in a far worse situation than you.
Naturally I have a soft spot for kids who will not have the ability to have a Christmas. My heart was touched by a story out of Boston where a woman payed off $20,000 in Lay-A-Ways. I thought to myself, “how cool would that be to be able to do something like that for someone”. Of course I had no idea a similar situation would present itself to me.
This Holiday Season has been amazing for me. Eight companies have booked me to perform at their company parties. I knew I wanted to do something to pay it forward but I wasn’t quite sure how. I’m not one to get all religious but I remember thinking “Lord, if you want me to help someone simply send them to me somehow”. Less than a week after I said that prayer I was given a very generous tip. I immediately knew that was the sign I had asked for.
My wife Kelly and I racked our brains all night long. Not quite sure what to do or who to help. All the the Angel Tree type toy drives were past their deadlines. Then out of no where it hit me… The lady at the Toys-R-Us in Boston! That’s it! That’s what I’ll do! It was like a eureka moment and then off to the Toys-R-Us in South Ridge we went.
I’m not going to post the dollar amount of the donation because I don’t want it to look like I’m fishing for attention. All I know is it bought toys for about 30 kids. The reason for this post, like a just mentioned, is not to bring attention to me. I want this story to inspire others just like the lady in Boston inspired me. If we all took positive action from positive inspiration this World would be an amazing place to live in and more kids would get to have a real Christmas.
Finally, Merry Christmas from me, Kelly and Addyson! We wish you all peace, love and joy this Holiday Season!
Men aren’t suppose to cry right? We’re taught to be “Men” damn it. Rough and tough with a teflon exterior. Our shell is completely impenetrable to mushing things such as love notes, puppies, kittens, soft pajamas and the heart shattering words of a stranger.
Yesterday my wife and I suited up our daughter for the cold evening. After a few shopping stops and the temper tantrums from a one year old we decided to have dinner at Logan’s Steakhouse. A familiar haunt for my family. I mean, have your tried “The Logan” Sirloin? Deelicious!
As our Hostess sat us at our table my wife began getting our daughter, Addyson strapped into her high chair. While we were shopping Addyson had some juice in a “Sippy Cup”. Unbeknown to us, it was the only Sippy Cup we had brought that evening. So I did what every parent would do… Off to the Men’s Room I went to wash out her Sippy Cup so she could have milk with her dinner.
Like all men, as I enter the Men’s Room I get Horse blinders. I walk in and go straight to the sink to begin washing the cup. As I am washing and rinsing the cup an older gentleman comes up to wash his hands. What he say’s to me next almost literally brought me to my knees.
Most of us never utter a single word to a stranger. We go about our lives going to sporting events, shopping, dining and working with out ever speaking to strangers. We generally stick with-in our social group. This is why an old man’s words to me are now seared into my brain.
As I am in what I think is the rinse cycle of my washing process, the old gentleman grabs a paper towel to dry his hands. He then leans over to me and gently say’s, “Enjoy them now while you can because one day you’ll be looking down and just wishing they’d come visit.” As I turned to acknowledge him the first thing I notice was the sadness in his eyes. As I stumble for a response he tips his WVU ball cap to me and walks out of the restroom.
After he left I stood at that sink for what seemed like hours. Telling myself “I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry” at least thirty times. What just happened? What do I do? Do I go chase him down and say… Say what Nick? Thank you? I’m sorry? Buy his dinner? I finished drying Addyson’s Sippy Cup and headed out of the restroom. As I am walking back to our table I am scanning the entire restaurant for the old man. Looking and looking but he is no where to be seen.
Believe what you want but I believe God uses people as Angels. An Angel doesn’t necessary have to be the winged creature we all know and love from the Bible. It could be a simple stranger passing though with a clear message. This is the message I took away from this old man… Slow down. What’s the rush in life? No one ever said “Man! I wish I could have just worked a little more in my life”. People do always look back and wish they had more time with their children as they grew up. Lastly, cherish every moment. I know that sounds corny but it’s true. One day you wake up and they’re gone then you find yourself, as the old man said, “just wishing they’d come visit”.