on March 6th, 2015 bella turned 14.
on April 30th, 2015 aleo turned 12
and yesterday, May 10th, 2015 dearmitt.com turned 15.
for more than ten years people have been telling me that i would regret this website. they cited reasons varying from "your kids are going to hate that you shared their life so publicly" to "one day you are going to wish you hadn't shared all you did over the years". my sense and subsequent response has always been the same, "i see why you would say that but don't believe it has to go that way."
fact is, and i don't think i've ever shared this story publicly, that one night about ten years ago, i decided to kill the site. over a three day span i received two emails from readers i didn't know that drove the decision. the first one said that i should stop trying to take pictures because i had no eye for it and should stick to telling funny stories because i was at least ok at that. the second email said i should stop trying to ape david sidaris because he does it better and i should focus on my photography because i had a better shot of doing something unique and meaningful in that space. in response to those two emails and the ongoing struggle of dealing with the bizarre and unnatural one-way nature of keeping a website, i spent about two hours crafting my final post. it surely began rough hewn saying something like "it's been real but you all suck and i'm outta here." over the hours i softened the delivery to where it would finally read something more like, "this has been a really interesting learning adventure and i appreciate all the support over the years but i think the time has come to turn my focus to other matters."
and i actually published the post, in the wee hours of a sunday night. after updating the database, i fell back into my chair feeling as though i just bought myself a bonus thousand hours annually and began fantasizing about what i might do with the new-found time. then, curiosity drew me into my own digital rabbit hole and i began clicking through my archives. i can't tell you if twenty or ninety minutes passed but i lost myself in the stories i had crafted. i was struck by the detailed and emotional record of happenings in my home. i was further stuck by how muddled or completely forgetten in some cases they had become in my mind. i don't recall the specific stories i happened upon but do remember laughing out loud from some and wiping tears from my cheek with a raised shoulder for others. but after the twenty or ninety minute span, i alt-tabbed to my database console and deleted the "i'm outta here bitches" entry. i likely replaced it with either a sidaresque story about me sliding wet and naked down my hallway, unintentionally i should add, or a picture of one of my kids on the toilet.
after that night i never again did any of the following three things:
- i never again looked at my site's traffic log
- i never again wrote things for other people. i crafted the content to and for myself.
- i never again questioned wether or not i should be giving my precious minutes and even more precious focus to this endeavor.
i've said to multiple people that the cumulative content of this website is my greatest personal asset. one lesson this exercise has taught me is the human mind was built to think, not remember (well, my mind at least). i am certain that without this pursuit, the lion-share of the moments captured in these pages would have been completely lost to the ether and dead to me. having this catalog of not just my personal life but my life as an uncertain but desperate-to-do-good father is infinitely special to me. and if it will one day be something of personal value to my children, then i couldn't be more satisfied about the use of time.
another 'for-the-record' aside. this birth-of-a-father epiphany alluded to in the prior paragraph is not something i can claim realizing on my own. i was led there by a reader, carrie in washington state, whom i've never met personally but have exchanged many emails with over the years. she appeared in my inbox during this dark period of questioning. in one of my messages to her i said i decided to keep the site going but planned to delete the first five or so years because i found them embarrassing on many levels. she replied immediately and vehemently, near pleading i didn't do that because what an engaged reader finds in getting to look in from the start is the transformation of a self-absorbed (and vapid--my add) individual into a devoted and intentional father, or, put another way, you get to see the birth of a man. she said this evolution is the most beautiful and marked facet of the cumulative effort. for me, her ability to clearly see how self-absorbed and deluded i was in my early thirties demonstrated her authority on the topic. so we all have carrie from washington state to thank for the full body of writing staying in tact. her unsolicited and sporadic messages of praise and gratitude did a lot to help me through some of the more depressing years of the journey. for your role along the way carrie from washington state, which is greater than you know, i thank you.
also, if you believe in the butterfly effect, i fear how long it would take me to iterate through the tangential boons that have come my way via these efforts. between the everyman photo contest, also 15 years strong, and even my current job, there are lots of spectacular end products (to me) and experiences that can be tied back to this recreational vehicle.
i'd also like to take a moment to acknowledge the staying power of the design. as you can see in the above 2001 screenshot, the initial design, only the second one i ever tried, has held up quite well over the years. granted it has been tweaked and nudged here and there but the foundation has held fast and proven infinitely versatile to each and every need that has arisen. i deem this as solid evidence of my technology (and life) mantra—you can pay now or you can pay later, but know this, you will pay. in example, i probably spent close to 50 hours figuring out the navigation in the upper-right corner at the start, but given that early battle, banging on it until i got something i
loved, i've been smitten with it ever since.
and lastly, if you're someone who stops by with any sort of regularity, i thank you for your ongoing interest and support because while i've come to not care if three or three thousand people read the words, it is vital to know that at least one person is reading the words because that is as motivating to me as it is to contribute to good conversation with a friend over lunch, which is sometimes how i view this. admittedly, a problem with this model is when we do finally sit down for lunch i am way behind on your life. but that's alright as this means we have plenty to catch up on in our time together.
as always, thanks for reading.