Family Life / Growing Up

And Now, a Word from the Graduate

So I graduated with a Master of Business Administration on Friday. It’s too early to say that I am relieved because I am still burdened by the fatigue from the final eight weeks of my degree. Every bit of this MBA thing has been difficult, but the last two months were particularly demanding. So I don’t quite feel “free” yet, but with each hour that passes I am reintroduced to the privilege of ordinary life.

One of the more subtle changes over the last two years is that I was given a new identity. I was introduced to new people, both classmates and professors. These people surrounded me for three days of each week. The newness of group wasn’t what made it so different, it was that all we had in common was the subject matters of business. These were not matters that I thrived in from the beginning. I was thrown into a pool of accounting and finance and I had to learn how to swim. Through each trimester, the classmate became friends, and the subject matter became more familiar and exciting.

So what’s next? I’ve accepted a position of VP Strategy & Communication at Life Teen. I’ve been in talks with our CEO since September of last year about the position. I’m excited to have the authority and resources to move our organization forward.

What I want out of this summer is to be with my family. It’s been a very difficult two years for all of us.

An Intense 2011

It’s been an intense month-and-a-half so far in 2011. This is the kind of real-life grit that’s too hard to process as it comes your way.

  • Miscarriages. Close friends and family have had to deal with the painful reality that their unborn babies didn’t make it. I’ve been in constant prayer for these people. They’re in a lot of pain.
  • Weddings. I’ve been to three weddings so far this year. Each wedding was for a beautiful couple who belongs together. So much joy at those weddings! The Garcia wedding in Atlanta was fun because I got to see family and even attended the wedding with Dad. If it weren’t for these weddings, life would’ve felt very dreary.
  • Haiti. Dad spent time at an orphanage in Haiti last week with Mrs. Benzinger, a family friend. The US Embassy issued a warning to all American citizens in Haiti that there could be riots from political unrest. The warning was for a region along a road that Dad and Mrs. Benzinger would have to take to get back to the Port-au-Prince airport. Fortunately, they’re day of travel was peaceful. I prayed hard.
  • Early death. In the past year, three young people have died at our church. In the last month, a precious five year old girl named Stella died in the middle of the night. She seemed to only have flu symptoms.
  • Sickness. The Smith family has been sick: cough, congestion, vomiting, hives, fever. I missed most of my work last week. Then this past weekend I lost my voice and it hurt to breathe. Through it all I have to take care of my family too. Last night was the first night of good sleep that the four of us have had in two weeks.

Experiences like these really help redefine what it means to have a “great day.” I mean, if the people you love are safe and healthy, what more can you want?

And through all of this, I continue to work and go to school. My group wrote a Supply Chain paper and gave a presentation on Monday of last week. Then on Saturday I took a midterm under the daze of a fever. Last night we finished a final group project. Tomorrow night I have another final. In six days I have another. I’ll be done with B-school in 83 days.


Being a dad is magical. I get to experience innocence again. This makes my home into a wonderland of joy for me. I get to hide with Norah underneath a blanket as we wait for mommy to find us. Do you know beautiful it is to see nothing but a smiling little face like that?

…Norah is unhappy at the end of the night if I’m not holding her. Her skinny little arms wrap so tightly around my neck. She squirms and nuzzles every couple of minutes just to try to get closer than she already is. She’ll wake up and kiss me on the neck and whisper “hi daddy” then go back to sleep.  Stella is like a chubby little angel. Every time I see here bundled up asleep on the couch, I laugh because she’s so cute. I love holding Stella because inevitably end up holding Norah too. Stella gets about 1000 kisses a day.

At first I didn’t know what to do with all this sweetness in my home. Now I just don’t think about it…I just soak it in and enjoy it.