Oren Miller: The Definition of a Dad
Legacy is not what’s left tomorrow when you’re gone. It’s what you give, create, impact and contribute today while you’re here that then happens to live on. – Rasheed Ogunlaru
I remember my dreams of being a dad when I was young. I knew that when I grew up I wanted to have a family. I wanted to have children of my own. I also knew that I wanted to be the best dad possible. To me that meant absorbing the knowledge of the father figures in my life.
What is a dad? If I am being honest with you, my readers, and myself… I don’t have the answer. 7 years, 4 months, and 2 days after the birth of our first child, I am still learning what it means to be a dad.
There is no secret formula for being a father, nor is there a true definition. Last year I became a member of a group on Facebook. I was welcomed to this group by the founder, Oren Miller, who immediately made me feel at home. Little did he know, he was one of my primary reasons for deciding to start a blog dedicated to my children, fatherhood and parenting.
It all started while I was browsing the search results that popped up on Google while I was looking for other dads who write about their experiences. I happened upon Oren’s blog and was flooded by the same warmth that memories of my grandfathers, godfather and father bring to mind. After exploring his posts for a few days I decided to purchase my domain. In the moment Inked Up Dad was born.When I was a child I would spend the summers camping with my godfather. He was the type of man who was rough around the edges. I remember the smell of his Brut cologne and the color of his ginger beard. I called him Uncle Mike, but he wasn’t related to me by blood. He was the type of guy who would go to work at the local Jeep plant in Toledo, come home covered in grease and sweat only to get cleaned up and dress like Santa just to make sure we had a great Christmas.
If you ran into him on the street you would think he would be the pushy, go-get-em type. Yet, he wasn’t. Uncle Mike was the type of father figure who would see your weaknesses and only offer advice and encouragement on how to improve them. When I was too scared to learn to swim, he guided me across the lake at the camp ground. He never yelled, he never pushed. He only encouraged.
After I grew and graduated from high school we became estranged for reasons I wont delve into. I’ll save those for another post. At that point I thought I’d never encounter another soul who would remind me of the warmth. That’s when I found Oren.
I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting him in person. In fact we haven’t held a conversation outside of the group of dad bloggers that he helms and yet I feel connected to this man as a kindred soul. For those of you who don’t know, Oren has fought a valiant battle against stage 4 lung cancer. We’ve recently found out that he is nearing the end of his battle. For that reason I wanted to write this post. Not to bring attention to my newborn blog or myself, but to shine what little light I may offer on a soul who has opened doors and led the way for dads around the globe.
I’m by no means an amazing writer and I doubt that in what time he has left he will read my words. I wouldn’t ask him to waste one moment of time that he has left with family and friends. That would be selfish. The only wish I have is for Oren to know that he has been a figurehead in a much-needed movement to change the way that dads and fatherhood are perceived. So thank you, Oren.
Thank you for being our father figure. Thank you for encouraging us when we were down. For offering advice when we were weak. Thank you for welcoming us into your group and into your life. You’ve led the way and opened doors that many of us could never have imagined.
Whether it’s honoring your name and legacy with a scholarship or remembering you through your posts… we will never forget.
Thank you for taking me back to my childhood and reminding me of who I want to be as a father. It would do us all a bit of good to strive to be even a bit like you. So today and every day, you’ll be in our hearts because for us, you made the definition of a dad a lot clearer.
We are friends.
We are bloggers.
We are dads.
We are all Oren Miller.