**Originally written June 4th, 2008**
Today was a good day.
I woke bright and early this morning at the happy hour of 5:30 AM. Once the coffee was hot and ready, I settled into my computer chair and put the finishing touches on two articles that will appear in the first issue of The Arbiter which comes out tomorrow.
I have to say, this is one of the proudest and most reverent moments of my life.
Reflecting on where the day led me leaves me with a calm nostalgic feeling. Not only did I publish my first issue as Editor-in-Chief but I saw my son graduate from Kindergarten and shared the entire experience with him.
When Mrs. Smith called Jaiden to the front of the classroom to present him with his graduation certificate, she shook his hand and asked him what his favorite part of Kindergarten was. He paused a tick, smiled, and exclaimed, “Breakfast!”
Soon after, we were pillaging the celebratory milk and cookies when I noticed Jaiden looking up at me, beaming ear to ear – ecstatic I had come to share this right of passage with him. I had to miss a marketing appointment with my sports team and an interview for our lead photographer position to make time for his ceremony, but I had to be there for Jaiden. It was so important to him.
When it was time to leave, he begged, “Mom can we spend the WHOLE day together, please?” His wide and innocent blue eyes stared up at me, anticipation burning just beneath their calm exterior.
He was so happy. How could I say no?
I knew today would be insane at the office. Section editors would run from the production room to the editors’ office to find photos and graphics … popping in and out of my office to ask questions about this or that, and trying to tip-toe past the podcast studio in order not to disrupt a recording. We would have copy editors changing headlines, production demanding their dummies, and the business manager cruising by reminding everyone to fill out their time sheets.
Not to mention photographers uploading photo’s, graphic designers drawing illustrations, sales people checking ads, the marketing director pitching us ideas about promoting the Blue and Orange tab and writers asking the difference between a nutgraph and a summery lead.
Now envision a wide eyed and curious six year old thrown into the middle of it all, wanting desperately to be part of it. If you immediately imagined sheer and unadulterated hell, you would be mistaken. My son was The Shit, today. He watched movies, drew pictures, recorded podcasts and conversed with the staff. With a few minor exceptions, he was well behaved.
I was so happy to have him with me. I’ll be able to cherish the memory of the most profound moment of my life with the two people in my world who mean most to me, my children. We picked Zoie up from daycare at 6:30. Jaiden had crashed out on the couch by 10PM but the Doobies Scoobers was alive and kicking all night with us, and was spry and bushytailed even when we left at 1:30AM, after we finally exported the paper.
On top of being able to have this awesome experience with my kids, I was able to feel overwhelmed with pride at how well my staff did today.
Please allow me to express my gratitude…
I have to say, Charlotte Taylor, you are an amazingly talented Managing Editor. I don’t know what I would do without you. When you came back so early from your other job, just in time to help with final checks, I felt a 10,000 pound weight come off my chest. You are very good at what you do and we are so lucky to have you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being so absolutely wonderful!
My editors, Colby, Jenny, Tabbie, Sherika, Dale, Bob, Mary and Kirk … it is my privilege and pleasure to work with such a brilliant, gifted, and innovative group of people. I sit here in awe of what you were able to do today. Thank you also for making our first issue so wonderful.
Francy, Chris, Laura … thank you for being morally, aesthetically and intellectually superior people. 😉 Chris, thank you for saying, “You can synergize my balls,” or at least for tolerating me thinking I heard you say it and laughing incessantly about it for hours.
Lindsey, and David … holly cow, thank you for holding in there and being so completely bad-ass! (I feel bad for Lindsey, her eyes were so red when we quit this evening/morning that she could have given Cruela Devill a run for her money.) Seriously … wow, what a talented and brilliant pair of Production managers I have. We took some lumps today and came out swinging. Way to pick up your skirt, grab your balls and get it done. Thank you for your iron will and desire to learn.
Steve Norell … man … you sir, there are no words for. Thank you for donating the ad for the Virginia Tech candlelight vigil, which was the first time I realized what a talented, intelligent, witty, giving and loyal member of the team you were at The Arbiter. There are a million things I’ll miss about you when we stop seeing you around the office, but I’ll definitely miss your dry sarcasm and eye for detail (that I’ve come to respect immensely over the years) most.
Jeremy Webster (er… I mean Oliver) thank you for not flinching when I told the new Production staff you would saw off your right arm and give it to me if I told you The Arbiter needed it. Thank you for busting your ass to accommodate our tremendous amount of requests for graphics and illustrations, and working well over what you are required to for us because you love The Arbiter so much.
Danielle, thank you for buying water for the fridge, and surviving my minor melt down over missing SlimFast and H2o. Thank you for being so kind to my son today and for keeping him entertained with computer games so I could write my Letter from the Editor, and for taking him on adventures across campus on various errands.
Brad, Lindsey, Dwight, Troy, and everyone on the business side from sales to distribution … thank you for your support and sheer determination to blow the summer sales goal out of the water. Thank you for providing us with 18 pages of beautiful newspaper to pour our hearts and creativity into.
Dwight, there are few people on this planet I respect more than you and your wife. With all you have been through, you haven’t let The Arbiter slip an inch. Above and beyond what you do for us, the Brandon Titus Memorial Ride, and various other charities you devote yourself to, you serve as an inspiration to us all on exactly how exceptional the soul of a man can be. Thank you for being my friend, mentor, and confidant. I’ll never forget when you loaned me $15 for gas last summer when you caught me crying in the podcast studio because I didn’t know how I was going to get to work the next day. I’ll never forget the kindness you have showed me over the years and I hope that I will make you proud of where I take The Arbiter as Editor-in Chief.
Brad Arent … thank you for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Thank you for pushing me when I wanted to give up. Thank you for learning to navigate my stubbornness and focus my passion. Thank you for serving as a role model and example to me that someone with children can work towards their dreams and be a good parent at the same time. Thank you for playing yahtzee with me and my dad in North Carolina and for tolerating my Starbucks addiction. Thank you for being as wild about Rob Curly as I was at CMA in DC. Most of all, thank you for all the times you would daydream about where the future of journalism was going with me, and plot how The Arbiter is going to beat it there.
Wow … there are so many people I have yet to thank, but its 3AM and I have to get to bed. I’ve almost been awake for 24 hours and most all of it was spent at The Arbiter with people I respect and care more for than I have words to express.
Thank you everyone for sharing this experience with me. Thank you to my staff for tolerating my need to have my children with me today as I experianced this milestone in my life. I’m certain I’m the luckiest, happiest, and most fulfilled person on the face of the earth this evening. It feels damn good to be alive.