Guest Dad: Jared Blake (of GiveBackTime.org / Apollo Starfleet)

Hi.  I'm Jared Blake, and I'm the most recent addition to the hipster dad club.  I work two full-time jobs (I'm an Energy Advisor at Patriot Energy and a Director of Youth Programing at Saint Eulalia's Parish), I'm in college studying Economics full-time, I recently started a non-profit called GiveBackTime.org, I'm a lead guitarist in a band called Apollo Starfleet, but most importantly, I'm a father to the coolest and most beautiful girl ever.  Her name is Keira.

It’s so awesome to have somebody that I can love fully and completely without reservation and not expect anything in return.  If I had to give a definition on what being a true father or mother is, it would be that. 
I’ve had the lucky responsibility of being Keira’s dad now for almost three years!  As her birthday approaches next month, she’s getting more and more aware of it and increasingly excited about it.  She’s been preparing by asking for things in the stores.  Although turning three in itself is a huge milestone for both of us, this is a multi-layered event.  I’ve been lucky enough to work from home for her whole life, and have spent mostly every day with her since she’s existed.  The thought running through my mind is that her upcoming birthday brings the promise of her starting preschool, and the reality that I probably won’t have the same amount of time with her ever again.  Now, I know that sounds a bit dramatic, and believe me, my emotions feel it as such.  However, I knew this was coming, and I’m truly am excited for her.  It wouldn’t be right for me to hold her back for my benefit, and I always plan on pushing her to go out adventuring and exploring with or without me.



In the spirit of this blog about being a hipster dad, I bring this little experience up because of the paradox of parenting I’ve recently discovered for myself.  As cliché as it sounds, it’s something that has really hit home in my heart and is currently what I want to articulate.  To love someone regardless of your exact definition is a positive thing.  The act of it though, doesn’t always return such a joyous feeling.  Keira is the type of kid that I have to remind to give me a kiss before I leave her somewhere.  I get it, she’s excited about whatever it is that she will be doing, but it sometimes makes me feel unimportant in her life.  Of course, I know that’s not true.  But what’s going to be hard is sticking with my plan to love her correctly when she gets older and her actions become more defined and rebellious.  Those actions start out right now when she doesn’t say goodbye as I drop her off at preschool; soon it will be sleepovers – camp – articulated and well defended arguments – and then the first time she says “I hate you.” 
I have tattoos, I play the guitar, I rock at hide-and-seek, and I try to be fashionably philanthropic, but what I feel actually makes me a hip dad is my dedication to my daughter  and the unwavering discipline I expect of myself when I’m truly loving her.  Not loving her because she loves me in return, but really loving her so that she can succeed in her life and know deep in her heart that no matter what, I’ll always support her. 
-Jared Blake