For the past 8 weeks, I’ve been noticeably absent from this blog. Starting about 10-12 weeks ago, some important personal things started surfacing in my life that required me to begin diverting significant time and attention away from my entire professional life. (Those who have known me for a long time already know that my professional time IS my personal time. There is very little differentiation between my ‘on clock’ and ‘off clock’ life. That isn’t a complaint, just an observation.) Since late August of this year, when I haven’t been engaged in doing actual paying creative work behind a set of drums or audio console, I have spent most of my time dealing with these personal matters.
Without going into too much detail, I have been blessed to see the return of my 20-year-old son, Dylan, into my life. With his reappearance onto the landscape of my day-to-day life, Dylan has brought with him a most amazing one-year-old daughter named Daisy. She is absolutely beautiful, both inside and out. Daisy is bright-eyed, inquisitive, loving, intelligent, and… so many more descriptively positive adjectives that I don’t have time or space to type about here. Her ability to communicate her desires and convey her thoughts go beyond anything I have ever seen in any other child her age.
Of course, she does come from this pretty amazing Stephens family genetic pool that would provide her with everything she might need to be completely awesome! 😉
To say that I’m smitten with Daisy would be a complete understatement. In the short time that we have spent together, she has brought so much joy and wonder into my life. Daisy has unlocked doors to places in my heart that I never knew existed and, because of that, spending time with her has become my new favorite pastime. Now, I am still on the fence with how I feel about being the youngest Grandfather that I know, but her smile and infectious laugh very quickly divert my attention away from the narcissistic Brian (which, in this case, really is a good thing).
My son Dylan has really impressed me with his parenting skills and his commitment to being a stable, nurturing single Dad. I don’t know that I was nearly as attentive to my two sons at that age. In my early twenties, much of my attention was shunted toward my work and to building this wonderful, lucrative career that I now have. Honestly, that focus and determination have served me well professionally but have put a high level of undesired difficulty on other people to manage the day-to-day care and nurturing of both my sons.
I am very thankful to my ex-wife Sharon and my current wife Rosemary for the wonderful job they have each done in picking up my “slack”. In hindsight, my energies were probably put in the best place for that time and it is my hope that history will deem the majority of my life choices to be generally favorable ones.
All that being said, having Dylan and Daisy in my recent life has been wonderful. But, this has come with its own set of challenges that have required the direct attention of my time and tangible resources. The sum total of our collective family effort has quickly seen to it that Dylan and Daisy now have a clean, dry, and safe place to live. Daisy has her own room (with her own bed) and plenty of clothes, diapers, toys, books, food, and the many other things that a baby girl would need to grow and thrive while under the care of her loving, attentive family members. I was also able to provide him with a reliable truck to get himself to work and the other places that he or Daisy may need to go. Dylan now has a full time job with benefits that will allow him to live, work, function, and plan for the future like any other stable, hard working single parent.
Because of his interest in music, audio recording, and the creative arts, I have also set him up with a small home studio recording rig and a beginning compliment of microphones, stands, & cables. Added to that, Dylan also has been given the appropriate educational tools that he needs to learn this craft of audio engineering, which has been such a vital component of my own professional life. Together, we have begun a correspondence type of mentoring, via email, text message, and FaceTime/Skype so that I can teach him the ‘nuts and bolts’ of this unique profession.
Dylan has done an amazing job of proving that he is up to the task of being a full-time, single Father who can simultaneously study and train for a future professional career that can provide a stable future for his family. I am incredibly proud of the young man he has become and the seasoned Family Man he is quickly morphing into.
I am generally a very private person and would not normally choose to share all of this incredibly personal information in such a public forum. But, I have decided to give you this much detail for a very definite reason. On this particular day, I need you to understand how important you are to me and to the life of my family. Additionally, I needed a way to say ”Thank You” for the part that you have played in my career over the past two decades.
No matter how much I study the crafts of music composition, drumming, and audio production, all of my efforts to grow my knowledge base and polish my skill sets are to no end without you. All of the hours of practice and concentrated repetition I spend, with only the mere hope of taking my abilities to some perceived “Next Level”, are of no consequence without the very integral role you play in my life and the health of my career. I am exactly who I am and do all of the wonderful work that I get to do each day precisely because of YOU.
Each time you dial my phone number or send me an email to enlist any of my creative skill sets, you make it possible for me to earn a living for my family. Every time you hire me for a live gig, have me sit and play on a drum track, take a private lesson, attend a master class or clinic, send your song files in for me to mix or master, or bring a creative project to my studio for me to produce, you are directly responsible for the wonderful life I am able to provide for my family. Without you thinking of me when you need any one of the services that I can provide, I would not have the amazing career I currently have. And as a result, you are the very reason why my family has exactly what they need, when they each need it, especially in critical times like this.
All of my concentrated, solitary practice and study to “get good” at these skills are really of no use to anyone until you make the decision to utilize them and pay me for the work that I do for you. I have never lost (and will never lose) sight of the fact that I am in a service business that is here for YOU. It continues to thrive and grow because of YOU. I did not come from a ‘family of means’ or have the advantage of a prestigious pedigree to get me to this point in my life and career. My steady, consistent, continuous, successful development over these past 20 years has happened because you have made a conscious effort to find opportunities to keep me employed.
Currently, I am looking forward toward 2015 and am about to begin the risky, scary process of growing and expanding my business into some new areas where I see great potential. All of those future endeavors will only succeed because you decide to engage, purchase, and utilize those services or products which I offer. Going forward, I ask that you continue your patronage of my business and my skills in 2015. I hope that you will realize your importance in my life and help me continue to be the leader and provider that I am for my family. As Rosemary, Bailey, Dylan, and (now) Daisy have come to rely on me to be the ever-constant “rainmaker” in their lives, I ask you to help me continue to serve that much needed role for them.
On this day of thankfulness and appreciation, I want you to know how much I appreciate my family and how much I appreciate you. Thank you for your presence in my life and thank you for allowing me to serve you with my gifts and talents. It is my honor and privilege to assist and facilitate your own hopes and dreams. Together, let’s lock arms and make 2015 the best year ever!