The Perfect Man: Daddykinz

The Perfect Man: Daddykinz

I may find a prince, but my dad will always be my kinz..I mean king

A few weeks ago, I was struggling with what to write. I was complaining to my parents about how I was rushed for time, exhausted and overwhelmed with the amount of work I had due. Usually, when I am in a rut or stressed about life, my dad is the only one who can get through to me. So, he offered to write my article for me. I thought that he was going to write about a hobby, his business, our family, the dog. It didn’t even cross my mind that he would write about me. Within minutes of bitching to him about my angst, I received this tearjerker in my inbox

So, let me tell you a little bit about Bellakinz. For the last few months, you’ve gotten a sneak peek into the beautiful and very active mind of my daughter, my mini-me, Sydney. I’ve watched with pride as she has poured out her larger-than-life soul so that you all could benefit from her experiences, literally bringing us all along as she processed the emotions of a break-up, loss, stress, low self-esteem, hope, love, family, and friends. Her articles portray who she is: unfiltered, unwavering, and inspiring.

Now don’t get me wrong, Bella can be a major pain the “tuchas”(this means a**). She talks and texts so fast it can make your head hurt. She’s stubborn as hell and has the patience of, well, me. I know this because we basically share a brain. The same beautiful, creative, restless, tortured brain. So much so that when my wife can’t seem to get through to her, she calls in the “Sydney Whisperer.” I say this not to make me seem special, or a better parent than my wife (which I clearly am NOT). I say this because I am truly grateful to share such a special connection with my daughter.

And I’m not being all that selfish. The way that Bella’s twin sister Drew connects with my wife is something I constantly marvel at. That’s because Drew (Emma to me) is her mother, maybe with a little of my goofy side thrown in for good measure. They’ve got theirs, and we’ve got ours. We all love each other, but we respect the special bonds. Now, my son will have something to say about all of this, of course, but let’s leave that for another article.

Bella, I am so proud of the young woman you have become. You are uniquely you, which means a little bit of me will go with you wherever life takes you. I cannot wait to watch, listen and read about all the places you will go (Amsterdam), people you will meet, and lives you will impact. Don’t change for anyone.

Honestly, what my Dad wrote sums up our relationship to a T. I don't know how I'm going to follow that. So there isn’t much detail that I could add that would describe us better. Rather, this is my time to formally and publicly thank him. (Although I don’t think it could ever do him justice)


Thank you for being my best friend and giving me back rubs, even in my most spoiled state. Thank you for showering me with love and always having faith in me. Thank you for pushing me to victory when I couldn’t see the finish line myself. I don’t know what I would do without you picking me up when I fall. There is no one else on this planet that can calm me down the way that you do.

Thank you for making it impossible for anyone to measure up to you. I honestly do not know who I would be without you. I don’t think you understand how fortunate I am to have gotten your humor. (Even though I pride myself on being funnier and Mama will attest to that.) Thank you for giving me my tiny gene and teaching me how to scurry our little bodies through the world together. My life is as incredible as it is because of YOU and I never allow that to slip my mind. Thank you for being my mind reader and psychiatrist—notice I didn’t say psychologist—because you pay for my prescriptions as well as talk me off the ledge.

Most importantly, thank you more than anything for showing me what strength is. You make me more proud and inspired every single day as a result of your patience, resilience, and ability to persevere. (You’re also smart as hell, something Alex was lucky enough to snatch in the gene pool.) At least Mama’s ditziness makes Drew and I entertaining.

Whether it be a job, friends, or school, I catch myself comparing anything and everything to you. I think to myself “What would he do, ” or I look back at your past successes and go from there. Nobody can tell me that there’s anyone better than Matthew Friedman and get away with it. You are an unbelievably remarkable man, and I can only hope to lead half the life you have been able to provide for us. Words cannot even describe how fortunate I am to have you as my superhero, best friend, teacher, protector, and Daddykinz. I am who I am because of you.

I love you. More.



Cover Image Credit: Sydney Friedman

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.

Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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We All Need An 'In Color' Conversation, While We Still Can

The best way to keep memories is to pass them down.


I love country music, especially a little older country music that tells a true story. One of my favorite songs from any genre is "In Color" by Jamey Johnson. It's one of the most relatable songs for anyone from any background. As you listen to it you feel the descriptions and the emotions Johnson is trying to get across.

Jamey Johnson - In Color YouTube

The song starts out with a grandkid asking about a picture and if it's his granddad. A simple question that can start a vast conversation and pass down memories of old times. This specific picture causes the grandfather to start speaking on the tough times in the 1930s and life on a cotton farm. For me, I can feel the same way that Johnson felt hearing the memories his grandfather passed down to him because my grandfather has told me the same memories about growing up in the south in the 1930s on a large piece of farmland.

The second verse goes into the grandfather showing a picture of him and his tail gunner Johnny McGee. He gives the information that McGee is a teacher from New Orleans and he had his back throughout the war. Though my granddad has never gone into anything that happened overseas in Korea, he will tell you stories for days about Camp Roberts in California. There's even a large picture of Camp Roberts hanging in his house. It's understandable he won't talk about what happened overseas because some Veterans will just tuck it away and it's how they handle it; however, hearing the tales about his basic training, his time on a boat headed overseas, and seeing pictures in his uniform still mean a lot to me.

My favorite story he talks about is how he was used to running the fields on a farm just outside Phenix City and was used to running in the heat, but the guys from up north(especially Chicago and New York) would drop like flies from the dry California heat.

The third and final verse describes a picture from their wedding. According to the granddad, it was a hot June that year before telling how red the rose was and how blue her eyes were. For most anyone, you will hear about your grandparents' wedding day and possibly see some pictures. My granddad to this day still talks about how blonde my grandmother was back then. It just helps bring my emotions more into the song.

The one thing Johnson does say in the song that most people feel when hearing these stories or looking at black and white pictures is "A pictures worth a thousand words, but you can't see what those shades of gray keep covered, you should have seen it in color." There's a lot of stories I've heard from either my parents or grandparents and wished I could have been there.

The music video for the song is so simple as well yet one of the best music videos I have ever seen. It starts in Black and white with Jamey Johnson sitting on a stool playing an acoustic guitar surrounded by hundreds of black and white pictures. It just brings the entire vibe of the song together. After the second chorus, the video starts to change from black and white to colorized and you see the pictures in their true colors.

The first time I had a true "In Color" conversation my step-granddad on my mom's side who was the only granddad I had known for that side of the family was declining in health. I was 9 or 10 and an in-home nurse had been talking to him about all his life experiences and told me to go in and talk to my Paw Paw about them. I learned about his father died when he was 14 by getting kicked by a mule and about his many years of service in the National Guard. At that time I never realized how major that was but as I look back those are the moments I cherish and I will pass down those memories as well as the numerous times he'd run your feet over with his electric scooter.

In eighth grade, I did a project on my dad's father and pulled out a box of old black and white pictures. These pictures ranged from him as a boy, his great grandfather, his first car, him in his service uniform, on up to him in suits on his business trips for the Columbus mills. I was older then and around the time I cherished learning more about his life and wish I knew where that box was just to have a look again.

A couple years ago around my 21st birthday, I had an "In Color" conversation with my mother about my dad looking through pictures while drinking Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill wine. It had almost been two years since my father's death and though I'd had plenty of conversations about his high school days on the football field playing for ol' Dickie Brown to stealing Mr. Gays Batmobile to getting three licks pretty often. I'd even heard these stories from different friends of his from high school and hearing different sides makes you feel more and more like you were there. As we sat there looking at pictures my mom told my wife Sarina who hadn't heard many of the stories and I knew and old stories about her life and my dad's life till 4 in the morning.

In conclusion, pictures can be passed down from generation to generation but unless you go through and talk about them then you won't pass down the story happening in the pictures. It is especially important just to sit down with a grandparent, a parent, an aunt or uncle, or an elder from your church or community to learn wisdom and about their life. I've had times I'll see an older couple or just an elder sitting alone at a restaurant and will pay for their meal(even if you can tell they have the money it's just a respect thing) or just talk to them. It can usually make their day and make them happy to share about their life with you if they don't have anyone else to. So let's keep the memories alive!

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