Sunday, July 30, 2017

Meaningful Connections

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post with Verizon FiOS in Philadelphia. All opinions expressed are my own. #FiOSPhilly #ad 

Before I was a stay at home dad, I was an art teacher in a high school that I really loved. The interview I had for that job was by far the strangest I have ever had. I was invited back for a second interview and told to bring my portfolio. I was excited because to me, that meant that they were interested in me enough to want to see my own work as well as the work that my students had completed. 

What I didn't realize when I walked through the front doors was that all the other candidates for the same position were also going to be there! It felt weird. I didn't want to see their faces. Before they were just an idea; the competition lurking in the background. But, here they were against the wall waiting to meet with the entire art department just like me. 

We all walked into the room, met with each teacher at the school, and proceeded to put all of our work out on tables so that we could circulate around and look at each other's work. It was very nerve-wracking and I kept averting their gazes. We all felt super awkward that this was happening. 

But, I decided halfway into the process that I should just relax and enjoy it. I needed to be myself and let the chips fall where they may. As mentioned above, I eventually got that job and stayed there for a very meaningful seven years of my life. 

In 2008, I resigned as my wife's job had us moving away from Chicago to Rochester, New York. For the next ten years, I was a stay at home dad to three kids adjusting to being at home full-time, taking care of babies, cleaning the house, and taking them wherever they needed to be. Those years spent with them are more precious than anyone could imagine and while I felt sometimes like time seemed to drag on, those years flew by right before my eyes. 

When we moved to an unfamiliar city, I tried to find connections in dad's groups near me and that's when I discovered the National At Home Dad Network and attended the NAHDN Annual Convention. Attending my first one in 2012 was life changing for me as I became the blog editor and eventually ran and was elected as a board member.  My blog helped one guy find us and attend, thus changing his life as well. Being a voice for SAHDs everywhere was super important to me.

In 2011, we moved again, this time to Pennsylvania and I began another chapter of staying at home, this time with no family in the area. This was a tough adjustment for me. I felt very alone. That's when I started the Philly Dads Group in an effort to connect with other dads in Philadelphia. The dads I met in Philly have made friendships that started as casual get togethers that have turned into reunions of old friends. 

Being online was an essential connection for me while at home. My network of dads and dad friends increased, my blog started to grow and I attended my first Dad 2.0 Summit in an effort to further network with other dad bloggers. My experiences at Dad 2.0 but more importantly the people I have met through these opportunities have filled a place in my heart. 

I can honestly say that the experiences I have had meeting people first online and then in person has exceeded my expectations. I have met a good friend in Jeff Bogle of Out With the Kids, dad bloggers like Brent Almond of Designer Daddy, Aaron Gouveia of The Daddy Files, and Carter Gaddis, writer and karaoke singer extraordinaire. Without these connections online and in person, I don't know where I would be today. 

They all helped to shape me in some meaningful way. Before I started staying at home, I never travelled. I literally never went anywhere. Without these connections online which turned into friendships in person there would be a hole there that would make me feel so empty. The human connections I have found through miles of wires is as infinite as outer space. 

I have to thank Verizon for always being there for me through all of this. Without a reliable connection online, I wouldn't be able to Google chat with fellow NAHDN board members, I wouldn't have been able to reach out to others dads when I struggled at home or been able to ask for help when I felt lost. 

Without the online connection, my kids wouldn't have been happy to watch their shows and stream movies as a family. Without a reliable network, they wouldn't be able to successfully get their homework done or effectively complete research and science projects. 

With eleven devices that stay connected to our Wi-Fi, we've never had issues with buffering or slow connections. With the Verizon FiOS Quantum Gateway router, I can even stream music to my phone while mowing the lawn fifty feet into my front yard! 

With the dual band router, I can get a signal anywhere in my house and with the FiOS Network Extender there are no dead zones in my house. And when I am feeling like privacy is important, my guests can use the Guest specific Wi-Fi with a separate password. 

If you are with another provider, consider making the switch. You can even get a $500 credit if you make the change. Make meaningful connections with the people you have met along the way with help from Verizon FiOS. Find out if FiOS is available in your area and get busy making memories with the people that mean the most to you. 

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