I considered making a business card for myself.
You know, one that would have all the stuff I do. So I typed it all out. And it turns out, I’d have to reduce the font size to 0.0003 points, or expand the card to 37 cubic yards.
We have roles, y’all.
But there’s got to be one that stands out. That defines you, as much as you want a role to define you. At least, be the color you color with. A writing prompt in that book 300 Writing Prompts takes on this issue. And with help from my flying friend, Jeffrey, I took it on. (He doesn’t have wings, but he did sit next to me on the plane.)
He picked out this prompt:
Think about the various roles you play in your life. If you had to give up all but one, which one would you keep?
One of my roles should be to keep my roles straight. Most, I like. Down to one? I’d pick my role as a dad. In my life, I’ve loved being a writer, a worker, a son, brother, husband, friend, student, boyfriend, mentor, stocker, concierge, and coach.
Being a dad has snapped me into a heightened sense of self.
To accept what I can be – and live with what I can’t. To provide attention and acceptance, not worry about opulence and wealth. To be accountable and present, not try for perfection. To grasp that my kids will see what I do more than hear what I say.
And that being a dad is 24/7.
I ask myself if I died doing this, what would my kids think? whenever I do stuff. What will my kids think? What will the world think of my kids? That puts me in the best places. And keeps me out of the worst.
All the other roles I play feed directly into that of being a dad.
Decisions are dad-driven. Actions are dad-esque. Humor is decidedly dad. (Hey, they used to think I was funny. And although I can’t choose my legacy, I can do the things that I hope will contribute to the one I hope for.
A is for Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, Adam and Avril, and Amidala
B is for Bonnie Marie Williams, voiceover superhero, a #GirlsRock interview
C is for Conversations, Camdyn and cookies (#GratitudeAndShit)
D is for Dorsey Standish, yoga teacher and mindfulness coach, for #GirlsRock
E is for End-of-your-career awards
F is for Frank, my uncle
G is for 💇🏽♂️ Go Ask Daddy about what you GET to keep on Flea Market Flip, if I’m GOING to sit in a racecar next time I get my hair cut, and how high basketball scores GO
H is for ✊🏻 haiku (my quarantine journal)
I is for being IN progress, IMMUNE system meditations and INSIGHT (for #GratitudeAndShit)
J is for Jess Cohn, an interview with a senior acquisitions editor, for #GirlsRock
K is for Kelly Calhoun, an interview with an influencer, reporter and model, for #GirlsRock
L is for learn
M is for middle finger, mercy rules, and mating (Go Ask Daddy)
N is for Nancy Kempa, realtor and translator, for #GirlsRock
🎡 O is for observing, opportunities, and optimism (#GratitudeAndShit)
P is for purify your mindset
Q is for quarterback
R is for Rebecca Reid, global development globetrotter, for #GirlsRock
S is for still alive, stolen things and (green) screen (#GoAskDaddy)
T is for teacher book review – Schooled, by Stephanie Jankowski
U is for unexpected fun, Uncle Frank, and understanding
Yes Eli I’m with you. Amid all my roles I’ve played, the one that gives me life purpose is undoubtedly being a mum. 💙
I thought you might be, Miri. Writer is right up there with it for you, too.
yes, i agree this is your starring role
Only because I came in second in the only burger-eating contest I ever participated in.
A really lovely post and perspective Eli. I love your words “…puts you in the best places, and keeps you out of the worst.” What more can we ask that having a guiding star for being our best self always?
Thank you, Deborah! I love where parenting has taken me. A guiding star is a wonderful way to describe our kids.
Roles…the many hats we wear. By far, being a mom is first. Always and in all ways. I’m honored to be mom to my sons. Nice post,Eli.
Sometimes, more than one at a time, right Carrie? I feel like if you put parenting first, the rest falls in line. It’s quite an honor, parenthood. I’m glad you liked this!
You picked the best, indeed.
I believe I have some idea of what you’re talking about, based on how I’ve been signing my comments all month.
I hope you and yours are staying safe and healthy during this difficult time.
J Lenni Dorner~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author
Same to you, J Lenni! Great to see you here.
Is there really even a choice? I’d pick being a mom, too, even though my sons are now adults.
Well, maybe if I could be a donut tester, too, Deb. Your momming definitely doesn’t stop when they grow up, right?
Thank you so much Eli! Thank you for the writing prompt and the great conversation on our flight!
Glad to have been next to each other! Great to hear from you, Jeff.
Strongly agree. My favorite role is being Momma Cow. If anything happens at home, the kids would rush to me. Never mind that it’s my husband the one who earns the money, or the one that drives; if they need to go somewhere, or to buy school supplies, they would run to me. If they are hungry, sick, or the pet doesn’t look fine, mom knows best. I wouldn’t change this loving family for anything in the world. 💗
You get it. It’s a natural job anyway. I was always going to mama too, and my girls do, too. Unless they want to stop on the way home for snacks. Or go out for snacks. Or even talk about snacks.
Hahaha, sweet! And relatable, they turn to me when they have cravings for a snack, too. I see a pattern there. 😁