The Dad Department: Brian and Ainsley

Brian_AinsleyAfter a bit of a hiatus, it’s time for me to shake off the Dad Department cobwebs and get this column rolling again! I love learning more about the special dads in my life who have graciously shared their stories with me (and you, fair readers). And, I’m glad to be back this month with another sweet and adorable pair — Brian and Ainsley. Brian is one of my favorite people in Austin, and offers a unique perspective on fatherhood as a single papa to a tween. Ains spends her summers in the ATX with her dad, and school year in North Carolina with her mom. Brian makes sure to stock up on extra love from his little lady during holidays and vacations to get him through their time apart, and is getting ready for another fun-filled summer. I’m so excited that he stopped by today to tell us what’s on his mind!

What’s your favorite kid-friendly Austin activity? Hands down, it is Zilker Park and Barton Springs.  Ains loves going swimming at Barton, taking a picnic lunch and enjoying the water.  We have a game where we have to see who is willing to dunk their head first – inevitably, she is braver than I.  Beyond the Springs, last year we found a love for the Zilker Hillside Theatre.  As Ains gets older, I make it a point to expose her to culture outside of “tween-pop”, and the summer shows at Hillside are perfect for that.  Our first was “Footloose”, and I’m excited to see what we will share this year!

Brian_Ainsley_1What’s your favorite thing about being a dad? Being a dad is something that gives me a feeling like nothing else in this world ever has, or ever will. It’s a bundle of feelings that you can’t easily put a label on and say “it’s called —-“.  Knowing that you are responsible for such a beautiful person, and responsible for molding them into an amazing adult is scary at times, but something you know you will devote every ounce of your being to do “right”.  Being able to be the rock to someone who doesn’t fully understand how she is the center of my world is pretty awesome.  Hugs, bed time reading, and daddy/daughter time can’t be beat, either.

What’s your most memorable dad moment so far? 11 years in, it’s tough to pick just one, so I’ll work to keep the list short.

Daddy Delivery Nurse: The day Ains was born, NAMC had a hospital full of baby activity, and we were far from the only ones expecting a bundle of joy that day.  The nurse left to go get the doctor and let her know Ains was ready to join us… but Ains couldn’t wait, so I was the lucky one to be the first to hold her, thanks to being the delivery guy!

Disney World and the Disney CruiseIt really is the most magical place on earth, and even at 3 years old, the wonders and magic we experience will be with us always.  It was Ains’ first time to have a “fancy” dinner where she got to dress up and interact with other families, experience new food, and learn the phrase, “Thanks Dad, but I think that is an acquired taste.”

Surprise Camp Trip: Ains is quickly entering that tween phase where Dad is cool, but not cool enough to be around with when you’re hanging with your girlfriends, or God forbid – boys.  Ains had a 5th grade leadership field trip this past winter, and I surprised her by flying to NC and being a chaperone.  Getting to see her in her element with her classmates and friends was almost as priceless as getting to have a dance with her, even though all her friends were there.  Leaving camp and being dubbed “the best dad ever” by her and her friends is something I will never forget.

What do you admire most about your baby mama? Steph is just an amazing mother and co-parent.  She puts Ainsley’s health and well being first, all day – every day.  She’s gone the extra mile to be trained as a nutritional coach, and in doing so ensures that Ains keeps her body as healthy as she does her mind, and that both get the attention and nurturing needed for the best growth a parent can give their little (if I can still call her that).  She also joins me in ensuring that Ains is a well versed member of society.  Kids are blank canvases, and with the prejudices and views that can create rifts in society and skew the social growth of our littles, being a positive guiding force for love and acceptance is one of the greatest things she can help champion with me on.

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What’s on your mind today? Oh dear – middle school.  Middle school is coming up next year, and it keeps me up at night.  It’s the step out of being “a kid”, and that first step into being a young woman. It’s also the age where kids with less positive influences in their lives can start be the same on others, which means I have to work harder at being the influence my kiddo listens to, makes choices from, and still admires.   It’s the age where kids can be mean, and knowing what an innocent, caring, and unjaded girl Ains is, I don’t want to face the day she calls and is upset because of the “mean girls”.  No matter what, she’ll always know that Daddy is here for her.

Thanks for popping by and telling us more about your journey as a dad, Brian! I’m sure you’re counting the days until Ains gets here. If you want to keep up with Brian and Ainsley on a regular basis, you can find him on his blog.

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About Cody

I'm a young working mama experiencing the adventures of parenthood for the first time. I love life in Austin, Texas with my sweet hubby, daughter and hound dog.

5 Responses to “The Dad Department: Brian and Ainsley”

  1. 조이 Czjai (@RebelSweetHrt) says :

    I got confused there for a bit – the ’11 going on 22 part’.
    But this interview is pretty interesting nonetheless. :)

  2. Christy Garrett (@upliftingfam) says :

    I love watching a father interact with his daughter. Those are priceless moments.

  3. Leigh M says :

    Love the “acquired taste” comment :) That’s quite a mouthful for a 3 year old! Great post.

  4. Sharon Ulery Ruggieri says :

    I really admire and love involved dads…this guy rocks :)

  5. Becky Jane says :

    Especially loved his response to What It Means To Be A Dad.

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