Over the past five years or so, I've written at length about my wife and I sharing our love of STAR WARS with our girls, "The Rock Daughters." I've at times called it "Teaching The Force The Rock Father Way," but no matter what it's called, our family finds new ways to "Share the Force" each and every day. With J.J. Abrams' STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS headed for cinemas on December 18th, generations will Share the Force together - and if STAR WARS Day (May 4th) was the kick-off, we can officially deem that the action is approaching hyperspace as we head toward #ForceFriday - the day that new STAR WARS toys and merchandise will begin hitting retailers Nationwide. You've seen my daily Force Friday Countdown here on the site, but now things are getting serious. My friends at Target are opening 207 stores at midnight on September 4th, and all of their locations will have special #ShareTheForce events on Saturday, September 5th, where families will find special giveaways, photo ops, activities and more. But don't wait until then to Share the Force - you can do it now... like The Rock Father before you...
It's nearing midnight, and I'm sitting here in my office at Rock Father HQ with tears in my eyes. No, I'm not crying, but the eyes are definitely misty with happy tears as I type these words and assess my current surroundings. A Hasbro STAR WARS Millenium Falcon sits a few feet away, flanked by a trio of Fisher-Price Little People riding horses. They look as if they're about to board the ship, while LEGO Spider-man is about to speed by on some sort of motorcycle - a deeper look revealing that he's being chased by LEGO Batman on a Jet Ski. Nearby, a variety of Disney Princesses hold court, while an overturned Step2 stool sits near the girls' art desk, on top of which lies remnants of a few in-progress masterpieces from earlier today. In front of me, three empty cans of Diet Mountain Dew, an almost-empty Coke Zero, project notes scribbled on white paper, and a pile of CDs and DVDs that will probably never be reviewed thanks to the increasingly mythical element known as "time" (or lack thereof). It's nights like this that I realize that each day brings our family closer to the end of these "happy messes," and I don't like it. Kids grow up, and even though ours are technically still little, the reminders are like jabs in the gut. Tonight, The Tooth Fairy will be paying our oldest a visit for the first time, and that's something that I've dreaded.
Funny thing happened when I looked at a school calendar on the fridge earlier this month while the whole family was gathered around the table for dinner… I realized that we have an official “Spring Break” now. While Spring Break has always been there, it’s a new thing for us since Addie is in kindergarten. This is the first year of “big girl school,” so it seemed like the concept just crept up on me with no real fanfare. Since I work from home and still have Little Finn here as well, I think we should celebrate by doing something… I’m just not sure what.
Three years ago, I celebrated one-year tobacco-free with a journal entry about my personal journey. Then, in 2013, I posted again, celebrating the two-year anniversary of coming clean (cigarettes are a drug), followed by another post in 2014 documenting year three, and how I couldn't get Philip Morris/Altria to leave me alone (they since have, but only after I threatened legal action). Today I am posting once again, as it's the four-year anniversary of kicking the habit. As I've done previously, I am re-posting much of my original entry here on THE ROCK FATHER, along with a few alterations and timely updates. Philip Morris/Altria and R.J Reynolds: The targets on the backs of your companies and leadership have grown...
March 14, 2011 is the day that I officially quit smoking. At some point on the night of March 13, I quietly took the last puff of the last cigarette in the last pack that I ever owned. Upon telling my wife that I was officially ''done,'' she took it upon herself to clean-up some of the ''smoker's mess'' that I'd created. The ashtrays of both cars were scoured. The sand-filled flowerpots that I'd strategically placed on my front porch and near my gardening shed were disposed of, along with a ton of stray butts that had made their way into the surrounding landscape over the winter months. The cleansing had begun.
As parents, it's the little things that my wife and I do for our girls that will likely have the biggest impact on their lives – from shaping their opinions and habits, to helping guide them toward the right choices down the road. Reality is that we're winging it, just like everyone else – there is no road map for what we do, and each day brings its own set of struggles and triumphs. The constant is that we each play our own role in providing for the little ones. From my wife's long hours working outside the home to my weird schedule that often allows for minimal sleep, there's a yin to the yang that makes it all work. While the bigger whole may go unnoticed, it's the smallest parts that make the biggest differences.
There's a very slight chance that you might be having deja vu right now, as I did include the longform music video for PRODUCT OF HATE's THE UNHOLY MANIPULATOR in last year's 31 Days of Halloween. Reason it's back? I directed and edited the video, and it just became an Official Selection of the 2014 Open Wound Horror Film Festival, which means that those attending the Santa Fe Comic-Con next weekend will get a chance to see it on the big screen. When we filmed this, we'd always hoped that it would become something of a "perennial favorite" for each Halloween season, and that looks to be happening. After all, it's got some fairly horrific elements, and since I do run a family site, I wouldn't recommend this one for viewing around kids or at work (unless you work somewhere really cool).