The Heart of a Father
BLMOMMY: How has becoming a Father changed you as a man?
KOAN : It changed me in all the ways. There’s the common stuff that everyone knows like functioning on little sleep, missing adult conversations with my wife, often arriving to work a bit late (and cranky and under-caffeinated), and having colds that hang around for months. There’s also the great stuff like learning to live in the moment, getting less OCD about making the bed (because who cares, truly?), watching your kid show kindness to another person, and finding comfort/acceptance in my own vulnerability and mortality (not in a morbid way).
BLMOMMY: what is the biggest struggle being a father?
KOAN : Foregoing of sleep! That’s a slight cop-out answer, so I’ll say that the humbling moments are endless. Especially in the early days, it took me a while to find my groove and to recognize that sometimes all I can really do is straighten up the house, feed the dogs and just go to sleep/bed for the next day… because the sun will rise and they’ll probably wake up too early and want oatmeal and scream at you for cutting the apple wrong.
BLMOMMY: what is the most rewarding part?
KOAN: To paraphrase the great Jon Stewart, the daily moment(s) of zen. Often in real time, getting to watch their minds expand in their understanding of the world and their bodies engage with the world on a physical level. It’s amazing.
BLMOMMY: How do you think you parent alike or differently from your father?
KOAN : Well, in lots of ways. That’s not a knock on my dad – who was a fantastic father and continues to be an inspiration, but I think most sons father differently from their fathers because broader generational shifts. Right? Heck, if there weren’t some improvements/developments/changes in parenting over the span of a generation, we’d be real screwed. He and I are similar in that we prioritize family and try to be physically and emotionally present for our families.
BLMOMMY: If you could tell your children one thing. What would you say?
KOAN: Whenever you’re in doubt, always (and I mean always) choose to eat a hot dog from the stand outside your local Home Depot.
BLMOMMY: Let’s talk about your business and how it may have changed post fatherhood?
KOAN: There was a huge shift in priorities – and I’m extremely lucky to have business partners and staffs who were supportive of that and hold down the respective forts real well. More broadly, we quickly realized there’s a flow to the hospitality industry that requires flexibility – so our family has done our best to just embrace it. That’s not to say we have it down to a science, by any means! There are, most definitely, times when a phone call just couldn’t come at a worse time! Ha ha. But… sometimes, a milk emergency might just mean we go have coffee and breakfast together earlier in the day than planned. Other times, an emergency bank run or photographing of a special dish or last-minute staffing issue might mean we go have dinner at the bar. Just gotta roll with the punches sometimes. Separating the businesses from home life is a long-term goal, but finding a way to have them flow smoothly together is our current embrace of the industry.
BLMOMMY: Tell us a little about your family?
KOAN: There are 4 humans and 7 animals. We live in Denver, CO.
Lashley is a hero who should wear a cape, but gets the informal title of Mama. If only it was more socially acceptable to wear a cape! She’s beautiful and brilliant, patient and kind, and simply the best partner in life and in parenting I could have ever asked for. She teaches me daily.
Cyrus Henri (nicknames Cy Cy, Kurush) is our oldest – almost 3. He’s a smart cookie (and likes cookies, a lot). He’s funny and thinks I’m hilarious (I am, no doubt). He enjoys coffee a little too much and could probably eat a little less macaroni & cheese (couldn’t we all). He likes getting dirty outside, holding our backyard chickens, walking our 120 lb. Great Pyrenees and being a little goofball.
Errol James (nicknames Aroldis, Rollie J) is 6 months old. He’s our most favorite little squish-squish, has about as many teeth as he is months old, and recently discovered he has many loving feelings for solid foods. Avocados, sweet potatoes and chicken bones, for the win!
We have a 10 year old Great Dane, an 8 year old Great Pyrenees and 5 loud AF backyard hens.
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW IN OUR 2017 MINI-VOLUME HERE