YOUR story : matt


  Thursday, 9.12.13


happy Thursday!
wherever this finds you, i hope it finds you enjoying the day.
i also hope your week gets a little brighter & inspired after reading this i want to know YOUR story.

i think it's pretty cool how every time i get to share an i want to know YOUR story, i get just as giddy as the first time!


without further ado,
please meet Matt.
this is his story.


who are you, where are you from, what excites you, what is your PASSION... what's your story?

My passion? Hmmm.
To be honest, I think I’m still searching.
Sometimes those inspirational quotes of “Live what you love” or “Live your passion” and phrases like that overwhelm me.
If I only knew what my passion was, then I’d gladly do it!

I have many interests,
but I’ve never had that ONE thing that drives me.
I’m sure I have it. It has to be out there somewhere.
It’s just a matter of finding it, right?

However, while I still search to find my calling, my passion,
I know that in my present state,
I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing right now.

I’m the father of two beautiful girls; Ellie, three, and Chloe, almost a year.
And by the hands of fate, I get to care for them all day, every day.
I’m a stay-at-home dad!

When Ellie was born, my wife, Aya, and I agreed we didn’t want her to be in daycare.
And even though she offered, we didn’t want my mom raising her either.
We wanted my mom to be her grandma, not her caretaker.
But my wife and I both had careers.

So how do you decide who stays home?

Aya really didn’t want to, but because she was the “woman,” she felt like she had to.
I was more than willing but I didn’t want to take that choice away from her either.
And being the “man,” it sounded crazy for me to quit my job.
Especially at a time when so many people were losing their jobs.

We were both worried about being judged.
Her, for wanting to keep her career while being a mother, and me for not being a bread winning “man.”
But as it happened,
I got laid-off and the arrangement we both knew we wanted but were afraid to voice, was decided for us.

And after three years, our family couldn’t be happier.


In the process we realized only you can decide who you are.
We’ve found it’s best to follow what feels right in our hearts, not in our minds.
We are both emotional thinkers and that seems to work for us, even if it doesn’t make sense.
Sometimes if something feels right,
it’s just right.

Being a stay-at-home parent is difficult thankless work though.
It’s not hard because I’m a guy,
it’s hard because it’s hard work, period.
It can be lonely, isolating, and extremely frustrating too.

Aya and I went to a children’s choir concert a few years before we were even pregnant with Ellie.
At the end of the concert the kids walked up to the microphone and stated what they wanted to be when they grew up.
The crowd cheered and applauded as they said things like,
“Lawyer,” “Doctor,” and “President of the United States.”

But one girl said “I want to be a midwife,”
and only a few people awkwardly clapped.

Ouch. I felt really bad for that girl.
Being a midwife is hard, meaningful, valuable, and compassionate work.
But no one knew enough to even applaud her ambitions.

That’s how I feel sometimes. Like no one is clapping.
I’m not looking to receive recognition at an awards banquet,
but it always feels good when someone recognizes the value in what you’re doing.



I have to remind myself that this is what I chose.
I knew it wasn’t going to be easy work,
and it has tremendous value to our family.

And then I’m reminded that with it’s struggles and challenges, comes it gains.
I’ve never grown so much as a person and a man than I have in the past three years.

And I know as the girls grow older, I will continue to evolve.
We will continually learn from each other and I find that exciting.



I don’t know what my future holds,
but I know right now,
this is where I belong and I’m staying put.


what are 3 words that describe you & your LIFE?

To describe me:

improving,
peacemaker,
creative.


To describe my life:

intentional,
simple,
open.


It’s not always easy,
but we strive to live with
open minds, open hearts, and open doors.
Open to change,
open to new ideas,
open and accepting of everyone around us.


what do you love? who do you LOVE?

I’m very passionate about music.

I love music.

There is nothing like it when that certain piece of music,
whether it’s a beautiful voice,
a violin,
a piano,
or a shredding guitar,
can crack your heart open and light your soul on fire.

If it’s anger, misery, pleasure, frustration, or determination,
music gives my emotions a voice.
Music makes me feel alive.

In high school and college I played drums.
Unfortunately, I don’t play an instrument at the moment,
but in my heart I’m a guitar legend, a piano master,
and the most captivating front man in the northern hemisphere.

As long as I have time to sit on the couch and get lost in some tunes every now and then,
that’s all it takes to make me happy or inspire me.
It’s always great to share that experience though.

I used to listen to music with my good friend and next door neighbor, Joe
(who just happened to be my mom’s 9th grade English teacher. What a small world!).
He was substantially older than me, but we connected on our passion for music.

He’d teach me about the “Great American Songbook”
and the great song writers like Harry Warren, Cole Porter, and Gershwin.
In return, I introduced him to music post 1968.
He took a particular liking to Led Zeppelin, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay, and Sting.

We were each others escape and we escaped through music.
I was his escape from the stress of taking care of his ailing wife,
and he was my escape from the stresses of taking care of a baby all day.
Music had given us an environment to share, laugh, express, feel, and release.

When Joe’s wife passed away, he turned to music to provide comfort.
And when he passed away recently, I did the same.

To me, music is like a photograph.
Any day of the week, no matter what mood I’m in or not,
I can pick a certain song we used to listen to and be transported to his living room and remember those moments.


Music captures and preserves my memories. Music heals.

Ever since my daughters Ellie and Chloe were born,
music has been a huge part of our lives.

From being in the womb,
to birth,
to post partum,
to birthday parties,
to the ride to the grocery store,
I’ve had a playlist for everything.

And it’s my absolute dream that one day I’ll be sitting on the couch with my daughters
while they share with me the music that moves and inspires them.

Who do I love?
My family!
My wife has a very compassionate accepting soul that people are drawn to.
People want to be her friend. And I think when people meet her after meeting me, they think I’m cooler.

My daughters capture my heart.
At times, they drive me bonkers, but I wouldn’t change anything about them.

Ellie has a fiery energy about her that commands attention.
Her laugh is infectious and when she smiles,
her whole face smiles, and so does mine.


And Chloe, at almost a year old, her personality is so distinctive.
She has a gentle mellow soul. Quiet, content and beaming like a tranquil morning sun.
Her coos and baby giggles are some of the best sounds my ears have ever heard.
They all continually remind me of what is good in this world.




last, but not least,
what is your most favorite quote?!


“Today you are You, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is Youer than You”. –Dr. Seuss

I often think about who I wish I was and the traits I wish I had.
I sometimes struggle with accepting myself.
This quote reminds me to accept myself for who I am.



And as a parent,
that’s the most important thing to me that I want both of my kids to understand.

Just be who you are,
and be proud of the unique things that makes you you.


thank you, Matt, for sharing YOUR story.
you are truly inspiring!

and for those of you who don't know...
Matt also has an incredible blog called :

the good the dad and the Baby.

it is filled with great (& funny!) stories, pics & awesome recipes
(in case you didn't notice, Matt happens to be an A M A Z I N G chef, as well!
i know this from first hand experience
& yes, we got to eat the entire Indian inspired meal above.
can someone say YUUU-HUM! )

so if you like the above,
i highly suggest you CHECK IT OUT!


with love & admiration,

ksen


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