Like most mornings, I was listening to the radio in the minivan after dropping the kids off at school. The discussion, of course, was around today being the 12-year anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Admittedly, I do not have the strongest memory. I am my mother’s son after all (sorry, mom), but I will always remember September 11, 2001 with vivid detail. Sarah and I were recently married (hey, at least I remember that date!). I was driving a delivery van for an off-site records management company (a job I held for several years), and I was getting ready to start my final year earning my undergraduate degree.
I was just pulling out my parking spot after my first delivery, when the national news feed broke over the local radio with the report that a plane had crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center. I instantly parked the van and continued to listen. There was so much confusion at the time that it was unclear as to what caused the crash and whether or not it was intentional. I did resume my delivery route a few minutes later and listened in disbelief as the south tower was struck.
When I arrived at my next stop, I made my delivery and then found a group of employees amassed in a lobby watching the news live on TV. We all watched in horror as the first tower collapsed. Most of us are familiar with the rest of the day’s events, so I will not go into them further. I somehow completed the day’s deliveries, but was in another place mentally. I’m sure many of you had similar experiences.
Now fast-forward 12 years. The wife and I have four kids, a four-bedroom house in the suburbs, a minivan (I’m starting to think the minivan needs its own post), and we have reached a level of financial comfort where I was recently able to resign from my corporate job and stay home with the kids. I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity and to have the means to make it possible.
There is a certain stigma that can come with being a stay-at-home parent. While it exists for stay-at-home moms, it is intensified for stay-at-home dads (SAHDs) since, of the two, dad being at home is not the norm. This stigma is most often self-inflicted by the dad, but it exists nonetheless and I understand it. This stigma manifests itself by being embarrassed to admit SAHD status or cringing when being referred to as “Mr. mom.” There is a societal barrier that exists. SAHDs can choose to hide behind it or to deal with it head-on.
I embrace this opportunity with open arms. Those that know me personally could attest to the fact that I have been posting about my SAHD adventures since day one. I’m proud of this next step in my career and I have received a tremendous amount of support from friends and family. Revisiting September 11 makes me that much more appreciative of all that I have and this opportunity that I have been given.
Thanks and until next time – Chris (active dad at home)