In the wake of the nine people who lost their lives on Kobe Bryant’s helicopter, we are still trying to process the tragedy. We have seen and heard the stories across the globe highlighting not just Kobe the Icon, but Kobe the person, the father, the friend, the husband, the son.
It is hard. I have cried more than once about it. Honestly, it just fucking sucks. It’s sad. That doesn’t mean I am minimizing the other lives lost. I just didn’t know them. As I alluded to in a previous column, maybe I didn’t know Kobe. But I felt like I did. That is what celebrity status does. Seeing all the stories from those who did know him makes you feel closer to the fallen.
Last night, a new emotion hit me when I watched a monologue by anchor Elle Duncan talking about the time she met Kobe. He immediately asked the 8 month pregnant Duncan when she was due and what she was having. They had a 30 minute conversation about him being a girl dad and how much he loves it.
The last line packed a punch and that hit me right in the gut.
“The only small source of comfort for me, is knowing that he died doing what he loved the most: being a dad. Being a girl dad.”
My wife and I are expecting our first girl, something we never really envisioned. For me, there was shock and kind of “oh shit” moment. For all intents and purposes, I always thought of myself as a boy dad. So yeah, there was a little wave of disappointment.
Later that night after everyone went to sleep, I started crying because how on Earth could I feel that way about a new baby? I felt awful about my emotions getting the best of me.
Of course after the initial shock, I am ready to meet my sweet girl. I am truly blessed to have my amazing boy and now my amazing girl. I get the best of both worlds now.
Interestingly, I turned to my wife a few weeks back and just “fuck, I have to give her away to someone else one day.” She just looked at me and said, “now you know how I feel.” Of course referencing our boy.
It is a bit of an unwritten rule to a certain degree. It is a conversation I have had with many of my friends. When that boy leaves to start his own family, priorities change in big way. This doesn’t mean you don’t love the people who raised you or the relatives you grew up with. You tend to gravitate toward your family and the matriarchs side. You truly are taking a leap and in a more cynical sense, turning your back on your family because it is now time for you to be the patriarch of a new family. Your created family.
Maybe this doesn’t happen for many guys. For me, I always loved the idea of being a husband and a father. From the day my wife and I got together when we were just 15, I thought about life with her and what our future children would be. As each year passed, that dream and desire became a reality.
I wasted no time starting that family. My wife was away at an internship for 9 months in Atlanta during my victory lap of college. I asked her parents permission to marry their daughter. Of course it wasn’t a surprise because by that point it was a matter of when not if. The day after I graduated, I proposed. Here we are now.
Despite struggling for our first child, we have remained on pace of the timeline that we planned for. We are very fortunate in that regard. I do my absolute best to not take any of what I have for granted. Some days, I fail. I am only human.
In times of tragedy, we reflect on the ones we love. It is a cliche that will never go away. Honestly, that is ok. It puts it all in perspective. Sometimes we need that as humans.
As a patriarch of my family, I look at myself as a protector. No matter what, I would do anything to protect my family from getting hurt. Sometimes, you can’t protect them from emotional or physical pain. In the case of this tragedy, it was both.
As the anchor’s words rang out loud that Kobe died doing what he loved most, being a dad. Being a girl dad. For their sake, hopefully it was quick and as pain free as possible for all those involved. That would be the worst part, knowing that you can’t protect your family.
I think about these things more often than I would like to admit. My number one fear is losing my family, losing the people I love most. I constantly battle the what ifs. I don’t ever lose that perspective. Bad thoughts creep in my head constantly. I hate it. So I am always thinking about situations of horror on what I would do. On the flip side, it does help me keep my family at heart.
When it was falsely reported that (which I am getting to in another column) all four daughters and Kobe were aboard, I couldn’t even begin to fathom losing my entire family. Losing someone or two someones is hard enough. I would want to be the strongest I could for my spouse or other children. If I lost them all, give me the loaded gun because fuck it. My wife and children are my life. I would die for them any day that ends in y.
They are my heartbeat and I would never want to imagine a world without them.
I would fight like hell to protect from anything I could.
This is where the conundrum of hypocrisy is. If I died, I would want them to move on with their lives. I would want them to find happiness as soon as possible. Just as I am sure Kobe would too for his family and everyone mourning his loss.
But hearing that story about his reaction to someone he doesn’t know being pregnant and wanting to know more because of how much pride he has a father and husband, I get that. I, too, feel that same pride.
I love seeing my wife interact with our children every single day. I love seeing random dads interact with their kids as well. It’s the greatest gift in the world.
My boy makes me proud every single day. He makes me laugh every single day. He also pisses me off some days to no avail, but you take with the good with the bad.
My wife makes me smile every single day. My wife makes me proud every single day. Not only is she is stunning, she is the best goddamn mother in the world. Watching her talk about our children and interact with our children floors me. That quality is invaluable. I am so lucky to have such an amazing person to raise a family with.
I do my best to make sure I don’t take any of them for granted. We are all mortal and our loved ones can be taken away any second.
At the end of the day, we are all going to die. But losing people that early on is something I wish no one had to experience. I have seen people I know experience those heart aches and it kills me. So I try to put my best foot forward each and every day for my wife and kids.