I posted on 1/12/2019 about winning the 2018 Journal award and mentioned that, pretty much at the same time as I found out about that, that I'd gotten a paper accepted for publication. I didn't really go into this at the time but it was a paper co-authored with my graduate advisor - who passed away on September 11, 2018. He's the person I decided to name Sam after. I didn't know it at the time but I posted that entry exactly 1 month before Sam's surprise early birth - the "first published" date on the paper is 1 Feb 2019, just 11 days before his birthday.
I found out last week that the paper is going to win a "Best In-Practice Paper" award. I'll be getting a plaque for it in the mail in about a month to a month and a half. Normally these would be given at a dinner meeting but that can't happen this year - all the meetings are canceled because of COVID-19. So I'll be getting dressed up for a suit for one of the very few times this year and taking a picture with it. I'm also going to be taking a picture with it and Sam and a picture of Sam holding it much like I did the 2019 Journal Award plaque this year - I expect Sam to try to eat the plaque again.
Finding out that I won it and that this is going to be happening in the near future is necessarily a little bittersweet, thinking about the passing of my teacher 2 years ago, every thing that was going on with Shandy's health at the time I wrote that January 2019 entry and all the things that would later follow and it has me thinking about things this week.
There will also be a plaque provided for him and I've reached out to his wife about mailing it to her but I can't help but acknowledge that it would mean a very different thing to her than to me and she honestly might not want another award for the man to keep in a box somewhere to eventually be tossed out by the grandkids.
My advisor was a bit of a workaholic, as great men sometimes tend to be - and he had a wall / office full of awards to show for it. But I think that had some negative impacts on his marriage based on things I've heard and observed. I've often thought that I don't think I could or that I'd want to ever really be like him or achieve the kinds of things that he achieved in his professional life because it would require me to put in so much time and effort into my career that it would kill my relationship with my wife and make me miss too much of my sons' childhoods. I don't want to be that guy that's in the office at 8 AM on a Saturday every weekend. There's a joke in the oil and gas industry about being on your 3rd marriage or being divorced mostly because you're pulling 60+ hour weeks all the time and you're never home. I'd rather not be an especially high-achiever and not be a VP somewhere if it means I have something resembling a work-life balance. I always want to still be that person that works to live and doesn't live to work.
While I don't want to be a workaholic and I don't want to "die at my desk" - certainly not at 63, I want to achieve, and I want my sons to see me achieve - both professionally and personally in my hobbies. I want them to see me be more than just be a parent and I want to keep that part of myself that is for me. I want my sons to see me still working for and doing things that I want that I want for me. I want to still be collecting and going to coin shows. I want to still have my cameras and be shooting. I want neither my work nor my role as a parent to become the whole of my identify and sense of self.
I will grant, collecting and researching coins and currency isn't everyone's cup of tea and coin shows don't sound fun at all to a great many - you can count my wife among these - but it's interesting, fun, and mentally stimulating, and I enjoy writing about it too, if my Zimbabwe note collection and this journal are any indication.
Sam is becoming increasingly verbal and he's starting to say things like "All Done" when he's done eating and "bye bye." He still isn't walking but we think it might be more of a courage issue than one of ability. He's standing while using his hands and grabbing things with increasing confidence. We're just having trouble convincing him to let go and take steps away from things he's cruising on. He feels more aggressive in his exploration than Ben though - he doesn't just try to mess with electrical outlets; he tries to rip the entire wall plate out of the wall, outlets and all.