The photo above is one of Nick's biggest fish he had ever caught (at the time). One of hundreds if not thousands of photos I have of Nick doing what he loves. The reason for posting this photo is to share a bit of my life going back to the early 2000's and why I was able to get those thousands of photos of Nick.
I was working at a local office supply company. I had only been there for a year or so and was learning the skill of "cold calling" as I worked to bring on new customers. One morning, I remember walking past my boss's office and seeing him with his arms folded on his desk and his head resting on his arms. This was totally out of character for him, so I went into his office and asked him if everything was okay? He lifted his head and the words he spoke to me completely changed the course of my life. He said, "Dan, I just tried to cram 18 years into 15 minutes at the airport". Baffled and not sure what he was referring to, I asked him what he meant. He told me that he had just seen his son off at the airport because he had made the decision to serve his country and was headed off to his assignment in the Navy. I said to him "you must be very proud of your son" and he replied "I am very proud of him but am disappointed in myself". I asked him why and he told me that he missed out on so much of his son's life as he grew up, because of the travel his current and previous jobs required. Not taking his son fishing, camping, playing sports with him, attending school events and just hanging out with him. I told him that he was (is) providing for his family and there is no shame in that! He said he understood that but still wished he had been home more while his son was growing up.
I was in a similar position with the company, traveling several weeks each month. Nick was only 4 at the time and the comments my boss told me hit me hard. I went home thinking about the conversation my boss and I had and approximately 2 weeks later I offered my resignation. I went into his office and remember telling him "please take this in the context intended, I need to give you my notice and you're the reason why". Puzzled and thinking he had done something to upset me he asked me why. I told him that the conversation we had weeks earlier had really impacted me. I said that, I didn't want to find myself in the same situation when Nick turned 18. I finished my 2 weeks and was on my own.
I had an online business I had been working on for some time and focused on that full time plus began building websites for other people. Were there tough months? You better believe it but I wouldn't trade the time I had with Nick for ANYTHING! We went fishing, took trips to Yellowstone, I attended every school event and sporting event except for one...the week my mother passed away. Even during this very painful time Nick touched my heart in a very special way. My sister, nephews, myself and other family members were by my mom's side during her final hours. She hadn't spoke or made any movements for quite some time. I called Nick and asked him if he wanted to tell his grandma anything. He told me he did and I explained to him that grandma wouldn't be able to talk to him but she'll hear everything he says. I put my phone on speaker, told Nick to say anything he wanted to say and held the phone to my mom's ear. Nick simply said, "Hi Grandma, this is Nicholas and I just want to say I love you". That very moment, the corners of my mom's mouth curled up into a smile. This would be the final emotion my mom would experience and show. Wiping tears from my eyes I told Nick how beautiful his words were. He asked me if grandma heard him and I told him she absolutely did.
The friendship I have formed with my old boss is special and one that has some more stories behind it that I'll be sharing in future posts.
"The best gift we can give our children is our time"