Friday, November 1, 2013

Why Do Parties Need To End?

Last night we watched, thanks to my wife, the movie Red Dog on Netflix. I don't know if I would recommend it, but it was a story that resonated with my son. Shortly after it ended my son Kyle, who is 7, sat on the floor with our dog Hunter. Tears welled up in his eyes as he held Hunter tight. Now, anyone with kids knows that what seemingly triggers the tears is not always the real reason for the water works. Kyle and I sat for a time and talked. While it is true he just wanted to hug his dog after the sad story of Red Dog it came out, through our conversation, that he was going to miss Clark.

Who Is Clark?

Clark is a car. It is what my kiddos affectionately named the 2014 +Chevrolet Camaro SS which was loaned to us for an entire month. I thought there might be trouble when we named it. After all the last thing you do is name something you should never become attached to, right?

Kyle, though, is expressing outwardly what the rest of the Family is feeling.

It's Just A Job

So, I'm a photographer. In the age of social media it is not all that uncommon for a photographer, and a sometimes blogger, to partner with companies. Why? Well, the idea is we are the content creators. As a photographer I could, say, take the brand new Camaro on an epic road trip and photograph it along the way. That's pretty cool, right? The Performance Team at GM need content and I can create that in an exciting way.

What Went Wrong?

Well, nothing really. You see I was invited to the +Google Glass Explorer Program. I never thought it would have happened. I entered their contest and told my wife it would be cool, but we didn't need to worry because stuff like that never happens to us. It did.

A couple months after entering I received the invite. The catch? Google Glass was a $1,500 investment. In the territory of buy new camera equipment or the latest in high tech specs.

I sent a message to the Chevrolet Camaro page on Facebook. In short I asked if they would be interested in me, a Glass Explorer, taking the Camaro on an adventure. The feedback was positive, but the time limit to purchase Glass was closing and it looked like the opportunity was slipping. So, the decision was made to purchase Glass and pursue Chevrolet for a partnership.

We did just that. By now you probably know that Chevrolet responded very favorably to our proposal.

Don't Get Attached

Remember when you were a kid and you found that really cute stray puppy. What was the first thing your parents told you? Yep, don't get attached. And by all means don't name it!

As parents Amy and I are not that great at giving out that advice. You see, like it or not, sometimes we get just as attached as the kiddos. It's difficult to scold yourself in these matters.

That has certainly been the case with Clark. Can you really get that attached to a car? Yes, yes you can.

Unless you spend time around performance cars that might be hard to understand. Today our cars are quite, emotionless machines that move us from point A to point B. How on earth can you get attached to an appliance? I mean really.

That is not the case with Clark. When you first turn the key baffles in the exhaust open up so Clark can growl, yes he growls. It's awesome! Better than a cup of coffee in the morning. He is ready to go and it makes you feel a rush that caffeine cannot come close to matching.

Driving Clark? Well, that is an experience. It is not about a mundane commute. No, not a all. It is about the feel of 426 horses pushing you, by the rear wheels, down the road and into your seat. You move in two directions at the same time!

Clark has more power than you can legally use on any public road. But, when you want to get around that truck on the highway. . .done.

It is so much more than the power. Clark complains when you roll into town. He crackles and pops as the speed limit drops to 25. He roars when the limit is lifted and he can stretch his legs! He may communicate in growls, crackles and roars, but he communicates. Does your commuter do that?

So, the question isn't can you get attached to a car? No, the question is how can you not get attached to Clark? Seriously.

The Kiddos

Perhaps this is where it went wrong? You see, unlike the adults, they don't see the world as business. They see it as experiences. Maybe they have it right? In their minds it makes no sense that something that has brought them so much fun has to go away.

We're not a materialistic Family. We find plenty of joy spending time together. My kiddos embrace my photography with the hopes that it will take us on adventures together in the near future. You know, once some of the business side of things is ironed out. I hope, with all my heart, that is the case.

It's funny. I thought the adventure was the three weeks on the road in my favorite car. I was wrong. What I found out is that my Family is my muse. It's where my joy comes from. You see we feed off each other. Amy, who claims she is not creative, seeds great ideas. I take those ideas and make them reality. Is she creative? Yes, yes she is. My kiddos, all four of them, spark something inside of me. My oldest daughter Kaitlyn bubbles forth with creativeness and laughs at my silly ideas. My Emily charges through life with unwavering confidence. It's as if she shares that confidence with me. She makes me move on ideas I would otherwise brush off as improbable. My Kyle feels with a heart so big that he makes me look twice in hopes of seeing the world through the sensitivity that he embraces life with. My Ella charges ahead with bold, sometimes bad, ideas and asks for forgiveness when it doesn't work out. That, believe it or not, is something we all need every now and then.

My Family embraced Clark from the start. Rides to school in the morning. Rides home from school in the afternoon. Photographing Clark and posting him on Instagram. Sharing rides with their friends. Riding under the stars on a cool evening. Becoming down right giddy with all the fun noises Clark would make.

Kyle made the point of writing down Clark's VIN number. Kyle's intention is to buy Clark when he gets older. Kyle needed to know he would be able to find Clark, not just another Camaro.

Okay, Maybe Getting Attached Isn't So Bad

While talking with Kyle last night I asked "Would you like to go for a drive tomorrow?". He quietly nodded. I followed that question with "Would you like to go for a drive tonight?". He ran for his shoes!

Thirty minutes after Kyle's bedtime we took Clark out for a spin. Kyle never said a word. He's done that each time he has gone for a ride. He soaks it up. He makes the most of this amazing experience, even if it means getting a little too attached. Even if it means there will be sadness.

The Real Story

It turns out it wasn't about a photographer partnering with Chevrolet. No, the real story was about a Family who, thanks to Chevrolet, enjoyed an amazing experience together. One we will not soon forget!

It was about embracing an adventure we all knew would end, even if it meant a little sadness was along for the ride.