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Family Matters

There I was in this room filled with women. Literally hundreds of women who seemed to be thriving on each other’s estrogen the way trees benefit from cross-pollination.

It was Blogher. It was July. It was Chicago.

I was there with a couple of great friends, one of which works for Blogher and I was amazed at all the “real” women and how they came out in droves to share thoughts and ideas about being women and blogging.  To me it was sort of a granola crowd. I mean, being from Dallas and all there is a definite need to dress=to-impress anytime you are out in public and especially if you are going to be around a group of women. But… at Blogher there were very few men around and so there was nothing to cat-fight over. The weapons, push-up bras, concealer, girdles, make-up, eye-brow waxing, manicures, scoop-necked shirts revealing ample cleavage, seemed to be stowed away and I was reminded of my days on campus at Texas Women’s University.

The setting was very similar, lots of women, very few men. This is actually a world I am comfortable in seeing how I grew up with 2 older sisters and a mother who loved to shop more than a father that liked to fish.

The conference was fun and at times ferocious. It seemed that these women were lining up for a variety of different workshops and everyone was handing out business cards like human Pez dispensers. “Hi, My name is Candy, but my blog is CandyCaneRocksYourBrain.com!, here have a business card.”

I always took the cards politely and smiled. Most of these women were older and married, none seemed to be on the prowl for anything other than a vodkatini or a strawberry margarita and some girl talk.

One of the things I noticed was the women who brought their babies with them to the conferences – even late at night. They would wear them strapped to their chests like decorations or badges of honor. The women would run on them and ask questions like, “How old is she?” or “Do you breast feed?”

I posted recently about the woes of single people and our desire to have children, but what I might not have mentioned clearly is that I “get it” when it comes to family and kids. I think all parents have this other connection with parents because they suffered through the nine months of morning sickness, swollen ankles, weight gain, sore nipples,  and mood swings. After that 9 months they had to pass another initiation where they learned what it meant to be humbled by a dirty diaper of a fresh stream of urine sprayed in their face. They laughed and cried and wondered miserably, “Will I ever be good enough?” “Will it ever get better?”

Not only do new parents feel like they are part of some special club, they actually are. They have been granted this special privilege, they have earned those badges of honor and they have every reason to hold their heads up high when others watch their children with delight. Even Jesus said, “let the children come unto me.”

So when I see my friends pull away from things of this world I truly understand why. Suddenly a dinner with friends seems like a frivolous waste of time when you could be spending that time with the most important people in the world to you. There is nothing like family. There is nothing more special than that bond you have between parents and siblings. It is a special world that you should protect and nourish and invest your time and money.

I hope one day to have a family of my own. To watch my wife grow heavy with pregnancy and to see her body change the way only motherhood can change you. I look forward to the challenges that a relationship bring. The challenges and rewards that come with being a husband and a father and I applaud those that have already made this admirable step. My only request is that you never take it for granted. One you have that family cherish it, hold on to it and don’t let your own selfish desires ever stop you from putting that family first.

By Evan Stark

Eddie Renz is an avid fan of Egyptology, Wilbur Smith and bacon. Not a fan of humility but often finds himself humbled when he is around people who understand numbers like the Fibonacci sequence and Pi.

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