I had the conversation just the other day…

Him: “Wait. Wasn’t that something you did for work?”

Me: “Yea. But, it’s a good event. I’ve developed friends among those who attend. It’s a great learning experience. It’s an important community to be a part of and support. So, I bought my own ticket this year.”

Him: “Huh. That’s cool!”

Damn skippy, it is.

It’s amazing how much growth can happen in a year, how much change takes place. You’d think as a parent, it’d be an ingrained part of life, an active realization…but I’m still surprised when it’s my own story that evolves.

In two weeks, I’ll be boarding a plane for San Diego to attend Dad 2.0 Summit for a third year. Taking a look at how I was feeling and prepping last year, I realize that I’m so thankful for how things have developed, for the kind words, encouragement, challenges that have been a part of my life because of the Dad 2.0 community.

This year is going to be really – REALLY – different for me; and to be totally honest, I’m both excited and nervous about it.

For the last two years, I’ve attended the event as a Brand representative. The majority of my time on the ground was devoted to prep, execution, management, marketing, clean up, etc… And this year, I’m attending as me. So I get to do and be and float and network – and be me.

I mean, I’m always me – if you’ve ever met me, even while rep’ing for a Brand, me always shines through, but it’s tempered. (If you can believe it.) Proper. Appropriate.

And I’m not saying that I’m not normally appropriate, but…

(there are times…)

But not when I’m standing in as a representative for a Brand. That’s work.

This time, it’ll be me.

And I am so excited about having the free time to explore and learn from this event to the fullest extent. It’s going to be awesome. Seeing the friends that I’ve developed in the last couple of years is going to be awesome. Being in San Diego (my first time) is going to be awesome.

So, two weeks until an onslaught of awesome.

I can’t wait!

Is it weird being a mom in a sea of dads?

Sometimes it is. But only for a second.
It’s mostly just freakin’ awesome.

Engaged.
Passionate.
Creative.
Thoughtful.
Tender.
Funny.

That’s what I get to see from the dads, the parents, the leaders, the partners, around me. It’s inspiring, no matter what your gender, or your role. Their facets shine as they settle in and relax.

Me? I’m a single mom who’s the primary caregiver for a kid with autism, and it’s almost like being in the midst of brothers and uncles – an opportunity to learn, be challenged, be encouraged…and hold my own downing the craft beer (or at least, trying).

Here are a few of my favorite memories from last year.

My absolute favorite moment from last year was attending DadSLAM. I don’t know if there’ll be a repeat this year, but I really hope so. I can’t tell you how much I laughed, how often tears made their way through my eyes, how my heart swelled to listen to the hearts of other attendees as they shared their stories.

Yep. Onslaught of awesome. I’m totally ready.

Are you familiar with Dad 2 Summit?

If Not, You Should Be