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Urban Dad & Cowboy Father!


In the fall of 2016, a few months after our first child was born, my wife (then girlfriend) informed me that her sister and brother-in-law would be coming to visit that summer. Sibling rivalries are as authentic as the world is round. For a lucky few, what started as a feud has ended up in a bond so strong that James changed his intro from Bond to Dread James Dread, LOL. Naturally, this meant I would have to go through a very intense General Sister Security Exam (GSSE). They love their Smasher Marie (her nickname) and only want the best.


I was electrified with the opportunity for my personality to shine and possibly make new friends. I couldn't help but flashback to our dinner conversations about family during our early dating days. How she grew up a midwest girl, riding horses, driving jeeps up mountains, camping, swimming in rivers, going to country bars, and line dancing. My idea of line dancing was the Cha-Cha slide, neighborhood hills were mountains to me, and the only camping I have done was setting up a tent in my uncle's backyard and microwaving s'mores. Please note, my cousin and I went back inside at 10:00 pm because the beds were inside.


The thoughts were racing through my mind, "I am a different type of outdoorsy." Growing up outdoors meant the family would all meet at the park for a cookout. You bring your basketball shoes because one of your uncles will have a moment of reflection about how the year was nineteen rather something and how he was the king of the basketball court. This almost certainly ended up with the older generation challenging the younger generation to a ball game and them getting annihilated by the younger generation leaving the old guys on the court looking for their shoes. Then the matriarch would bless the food, and we would stay out all night talking and joking.


My future wife was ecstatic when telling me how well Kyle, her brother-in-law, and I would get along. "He is a fantastic person." I know you played sports growing up; Kyle also was a sportsman. He grew up competing in rodeos and was pretty good at it. There is Team Roping, Tie-down Roping, and Steer Roping." From the prideful smile on her face, I could tell that she knew the urban dad and cowboy father would have a natural connection.


In my head, I heard Chris Tucker's voice screaming, "Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth"? The answer is no, man, no. I had no real idea what a rodeo was. Sure, I had heard the word before, but I never felt the need to look into it. It had something to do with horses, and that's all the insight I needed. While there wasn't any doubt that Kyle was a sportsman. Nevertheless, our commonalities? He is a midwest cowboy who enjoys getting on his horses and riding in the mountains for solitude.


In contrast, I enjoy hosting parties for social interactions. When I inquired about musical taste, Waylon Jennings was on auto-repeat for him. Sweet, hip-hop hooray it is, I said jokingly. Well, arrival day was here. Google had given me clarification on the competitive equestrian sport that arose out of the working practices of cattle herding, and I now had an ice breaker or laughing material. If that didn't work, Bourbon never fails.


The week was effortless. I found out we both were semi-history buffs and took advantage of that by spending a day visiting historical sites and museums in the area. A bond-building foundation was poured that week, and not to be overlooked, I passed the GSSE with flying colors and was then informed that this was a yearly exam. See you in Utah next summer, the overseer and creator of this particular GSSE exam stated.


My brother-in-law and I have only strengthened our bond over the years, and I've dropped the in-law part and only refer to Kyle as my brother. (I enjoy people's reactions when introducing a fully attired cowboy as my brother)


As a slightly older brother should, Kyle isn't afraid to let me know when I'm wrong, along with being the first person to give his praise. He will often FaceTime to check-in and secretly show off whatever new cowboy stuff he's doing. I'm sure it's his way of telling me I need to step up my cowboy game. Cowboy Kyle keeps forgetting that I'm like Mitch Robbins, a well-respected cowboy and dude ranch legend. (City Slickers)


Joking aside in reflection, I realize that I put enormous amounts of energy and effort into figuring out what a midwest cowboy and a subway riding dad might have in common, so much so that I overlooked the commonalities already in existence, like fatherhood.


Our goal as fathers is to raise the best kids we can, offer unwavering support to them, and instill in them that people aren't perfect; however, most are innately good humans. Kyle and I learned very similar life lessons growing up with different roads getting there. It's my belief that people have more in common than differences. It starts with the willingness to have a conversation, then having the conversation to find your similarities and build from there.


Most parents will have similar stories and experiences in raising children, adjustments, thought processes, overcoming tantrums and meltdowns. Food is also a great way to find common ground. Food has a unique way of putting most of us in a state of euphoria; it could be a dish that reminds you of a meal your parents made, a lost loved one, or just a dish that takes you to your happy place.



The dislike of traffic, most of us aren't fans of it. Traffic has a distinctive way of bringing out the worst in daily commuters. Fingers start to fly upward, yelling through windows take place, attempting to make right-hand turns from the far left lanes, causing us to shake our heads in disapproval.


Yet, that head shaking goes from objection to listening in a swift motion. Hold up, is that my song about to come on? Then it happens, we turn the radio up and ensure no windows are opened because car karaoke is about to get serious.


The commonalities are there. Surely if an urban dad and a cowboy father can find them, I am confident you can.

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4 Comments


Meridith Kohn
Meridith Kohn
Mar 05, 2022

This shows that people can find common ground if they take the time to look for it. We all have more in common then we realize. Thanks for telling your story!


Chris and Meridith

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Charles Zuta
Charles Zuta
Mar 04, 2022

There is something beautiful in sharing our humanity with others. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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Cj
Cj
Mar 04, 2022

The lengths we will go go for our loved ones. Many time we have to step outside of our comfort zone and know it’s ok to do things differently.

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Carl Carter
Carl Carter
Mar 04, 2022

Looking like a true pioneer but one with the land and the adoption you have with the cowboy life with family home stead is with you. Seem like you could shed those city clothes and get down to your southern roots. Ride safe cousin and watch out for bucking broncos.

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