Friday, January 6, 2023

The Little Painted Nails in the Coffin


Something happened a few weeks ago.  I’m not going to go too far into it, but suffice it to say, due to the actions of someone who I don’t even know, this will be the last post of Little Painted Nails. 

After 8 years and a few hundred posts, it’s time to put the baby to bed.  Admittedly, it’s sad for me. This was a passion project and to walk away from it under weird circumstances feels a little empty.  I would normally have gone a little more grandiose.  A big Ang Lee ending with explosions and doves flying out. That being said, this wasn’t a snap decision.  I thought about it and I think it’s time to go. 

I think it would be best to enjoy the time I had with it as opposed to bemoaning how it ended.

Over the years I’ve been doing this there have been diaper changes and soccer games and training wheels.  There have been tee shots and basketball games and hot sauce challenges.  We’ve dealt with illness and injury and loss. In the end there were laughs and struggles and tears and love. 

The website has had well over 100 thousand views and (for the most part) the comments have been kind and supportive. I really appreciate everyone who took the time to blow off work for five or ten minutes here and there to read my ramblings.

The idea of giving my girls life lessons through funny stories and weird experiences has proven to be a good one.  They seem to have liked it and I have received a ton of feedback from other dads who have taken my words to heart and even a couple who have said they are doing something similar now for their little ones.  People who have read this over the last half dozen years, I appreciate it, I truly do, and feel free to reach out if the conclusion here seems abrupt.  I’m happy to share the back story and I think you’ll understand why I A) won’t discuss it here and B) have chosen to close up this particular shop.  I will probably do something else in the future, but this iteration of my writing has run its course.

I think I should also offer a brief “Thank You” to my wife, and by extension, my family.  My wife has always been supportive of this project even in times where it was a little invasive when our proverbial curtain got pulled back a little bit.  There were times when it was collaborative.  When I needed reeling in.  When I was just wrong. 

She, as always, has been my rock and my best friend. 

To the girls, I hope you read this in its entirety one day and think to yourselves “Man, my old man was a goof, but he really cared”, or at least that I gave you a few ideas before my senility really kicked in.

I suppose I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t give you some parting advice from this blog. 

For that I would say, strive for happiness.  We don’t know how long we get to screw around on this blue marble.  It doesn’t make sense not to enjoy the time you have. 

Be Compassionate.  Being kind has a way of finding its way back to you.  We all are climbing uphill against something.  Be a foothold and not a loose stone for someone.  They’ll recognize it most of the time, trust me. 

Be Present. In the world of cell phones and schoolwork, it’s easy to become a touch of an island of yourself.  There’s a quote from a great philosopher from my youth 

“Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” F. Bueller. 

I’d hate for you to miss something great because you were posting something on Tik Tok.  Try your best to live in the “now”.  It’ll offer you a lot more experiences than SnapTok or TweetBook ever will.

Be Healthy.  I don’t know what happens after we shed our mortal coil, but I know while you’re hanging out on the blue marble, you only get one vehicle.  This body of ours needs upkeep.  Get up, move, dance, run, play sports, travel, explore, eat strange foods, get underwater, compete, laugh, love, hug, it’ll all do that shell of yours some good.  The way I see it, it’s better to be able to run a mile or lift a ton and not need it than the other way around.

Remember who you are and where you came from.  You have a big, wonderful family who loves you very much.  Your mom and dad, even when it doesn’t seem it, puts you first when we make decisions.  We want nothing more than for you to grow up and be happy, healthy, kind young women.  So, when it seems we are being a couple of hard asses, consider, while we love being your parents and your friends, we are your parents first.  Your grandparents and aunts and uncles love you very much.  Sometimes distance gets in the way, but they think of you often.  Most of all, despite the occasional fight and snide remark, the three of you are the greatest friends each of you will ever have.  They will be your shoulder to cry on and your comic relief.  Don’t take those relationships lightly.  Hug often and apologize easily.  Winning an argument isn’t always winning and losing one can be the best winning you can do. 

Finally, remember, your dad loves you.  You are the best thing to ever happen to me.  To be someone’s greatest thing is an honor, and you are just that.  Nothing has made this life more worth living than you three and your mother.  We all have our shortcomings, for sure, but know that, despite anything you have fallen short on, you have made one chubby old man’s life impossibly good.  You’ve given me joy that I couldn’t have imagined before I got married.  Thank you, little ladies, for all you have given me.  I love you very much.