It took me a while to fully embrace that I was a dad…not in the logical way – I can’t count the times I’ve changed a dirty diaper, or (more-recently) mopped the entire house after realizing Radley isn’t quite at 100 on potty-training, yet. I have certainly seen personality changes – like the slight hesitations where there used to be NO hesitation (I’m less insane on my snowboard, I actually second-guessed whether I should go solo skydiving last summer, I now base my decisions on what is best for my family in the longterm)…
The tricky part was this: What’s my identity!?
I have been on the radio since I was 17 years old – that was 18 years ago! The first half of my life was spent growing into myself as an adolescent, and trying to figure out who “I” was.. We have all faced the constant identity crisis of being a teenager.
The next half of my life was spent on-air, where it quickly became obvious to me that I needed to understand myself before I could effectively communicate with my audience. Like any “product” I needed to have a few Key Identifiers (Coke wants you to think of them as “happy” and “ice cold” and “thirst-quenching”). For a long time, I identified myself as a commitment-phobic, adrenaline junkie who loved helping people feel like they belong (through charities, or just by being a supportive friend).
I was literally scared of knowing what my future held. Instead, I was constantly challenging myself to learn, experience or face something that most people never had.. **I should point out that it wasn’t all SCUBA diving with sharks or interviews with Katy Perry…I also watched a lot of iTunes movies and ate a lot of cheese-and-crackers. But I knew I was happiest when things were crazy!
For almost two-decades, I identified myself as THAT person…then I fell in love with Corri. Then Radley was born.
It was strange to be paralyzed in that youthful mentality that radio had afforded me, and the fly-by-night attitude of my single days. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like that guy anymore, but that’s the guy that (actual MILLIONS of) people knew me to be.. I was hesitant to change myself too quickly, because I wasn’t sure that my listeners could make the same leap that was naturally in my heart as a parent (parents understand how sincere people are when they say having a child “just changes you…immediately”). I made sure not to be overwhelmingly cheesy with how many pictures of Rad I posted, and although my schedule was now maxed out with family-time, I didn’t want people to start identifying me as simply a “Dad” – cuz I’m still as complex and sarcastic as I ever was…just a little slower, cuz I was initially really tired from the NYC morning show schedule and the NYC parenting schedule (which was a little more physical than cities where you can hop in a car and run to the store or whatever).
Since then, I’ve gotten MORE and MORE in touch with what it means to be “Dad” and “Ty” – and I really do put them in that order now. Part of the reason I could ease into this in the early stages, is because you can LOVE a baby and be its dad…but you don’t have to say “Dad” things to it – cuz babies are beautiful and innocent and also pretty immobile for a while. I started feeling more and more like “Dad” when I started having to mold the little smartass 2-year-old that is now running this house haha. He’s brilliant and manipulative (cuz he’s a cranky little psycho one second, and then realizes he’s pushed past the line and IMMEDIATELY is the cutest, sweetest human on earth). When Corri exasperatedly told me “I cannot get this kid to eat vegetables,” I realized she’d definitely hit the point of no return. Then I realized I had already hit several Dad quotes out of the park in the last two weeks…and I’d put a human being in time out…and I’d insisted that Radley brush “all the way in the back, too” and “don’t touch your penis around other people”… I’m a dad.
Plus, if you’ve watched my Instagram for the last 3 years, or watched the videos of my roadtrip across America with my son…you know I’m head-over-heels, ride-or-die, in love with that kid. He’s the best!
Thanks to all the lessons, all the poop, all the questions, all the stories, and all the moments that have happened so far in my life as a parent, I realized I had to start documenting it in the same way I’ve always shared my life – very publicly, and as a means of seeing how it relates to the experiences that other people are having. I love meeting other people, and whether they enjoy jumping out of airplanes, reading physics books, or happen to also be parents…I want to share stories and learn from them!
So…. I am still figuring out the world of the internet, and especially the world of being a blogger… but I have soft-launched the new site, and will be adding to it as frequently as I can manage.
I’d be suspicious, if I weren’t me…”Shotgun Wedding” almost creeps into your mind when you hear about how pregnant we were when I proposed… except for the fact that this portion of my life was PERFECT!
I suspect that a total of 7 people care enough about the details to ever read this word-for-word…so I’ll put the main points in bold!
Everyone knows I’m a giant nerd about my wife – after years and years of not being able to commit, I suddenly found the one – “lightning struck” and “I just knew” and all those cliches… but it was the fastest perfect-timing ever… From the day I met Corri until the day we married, everything happened as quickly and perfectly as possible. We were both in our mid-30s and certainly a little behind our friends on the family aspects of life..so we caught up QUICKLY!
The perfect sequence of events: 2012 – 2013 *within this short time, you’ll find a first date, 2 cross-country moves, a pregnancy, a baby, a proposal, and a marriage!
1. Hello, Goodbye: Spring 2012
“her eyes were OPEN during the kiss! …and then she “What”‘d me!”
As I began dating Corri (spring of 2012), I also knew that I really wanted to take over the NYC morning show that Nick Cannon had just exited…so Corri knew I was probably leaving LA; we dated anyway
*I knew I was hooked when we were in the midst of a romantic kiss and I opened my eyes in time to see that HERS were open (the whole time?)…but before I could think “that’s weird” she was already saying “What?” – like I was the one being weird! She ‘what’d’ me! …I still don’t know what was going on there, but I loved that she had stopped me in my tracks and also know this was the first moment I loved HER…I even mentioned it in my vows.
2. Life Rehearsal: May 2012 Surrounded by Barry’s 10,000 baseball cards…two big moments…
Corri was heading to New York for work on the same week as my interviews…so we spent a week living in a friend’s apartment (thank you Katie and Barry) on the Upper West Side – our longest time together, and our first experience together in NYC.
*I remember the moment I knew she was for me: I suddenly just found her in the kitchen, working on her computer and completely ignoring me.
^that might seem like the opposite of chemistry, but it was exactly what I wanted in a partner – someone who needed her own space, took time to be herself, and allowed me the same liberties! I know that was one of the first moments i was hooked…
*another important moment was ALSO on this trip: Corri had written a song for me called “Tomorrow” – its my favorite song I’ve ever heard (is that egomaniacal or endearing?) as it is a beautiful song about her knowing I was leaving for New York, but not knowing what the future held for us… she shyly played me the work-tape from her computer. Its beautiful. I wish everyone could hear it…I’m not sure if she would want me to share, but maybe she’ll accidentally give me permission some day and it will appear right below this sentence (its not there as I’m writing this)
3. My Move: June 2012 I’m in love with you…and now I’m moving as far away as possible..
I did end up accepting the job in New York, and moved…just barely in time for Corri and me to have realized we were in love with each other… that meant that we wanted to keep this relationship progressing.
**she would remain in LA, but I communicated that I was open to moving back to LA in two years (after my contract), if it made sense. And also let her know that she was encouraged to move to NY if she believed that was a good move for her.
4. Corri’s ‘Move:’ October 2012 The video, the note…the Gwar concert!
On my birthday (October 13), I drove up to meet Corni at Rock’n’Shock outside Boston.
^Its this insane Horror Convention/Rock-festival. Since Corri is on the show Holliston– www.ariescope.com to find out where you can watch/download – they get invited to all the major conventions. These things include everyone you can think of from Friday the 13th, to Nightmare on Elm Street to Hatchet and The Walking Dead, etc..
There, she gave me a letter and showed me a video…the letter told me that she wanted to move to New York, and was ready to do it! The video was a sizzle reel of her moving OUT of the apartment she had shared with her roommate, Inda, for 9 years…
** We planned her move-in (when she’d bring more clothes and ship her car), and went about our lives (including a 2.5 week stay, thanks to Superstorm Sandy hitting New York, and trapping Corri in Manhattan – probably best, cuz she had started feeling a little nauseous/sick the last several days and that may not have been fun on a 6-hour flight anyway).
5. The Proposal Video: November 2012 This is the video I describe below, but you might’ve seen it before…
The day after Corri left from her October visit (extended by Hurricane Sandy into November), I shot the first vignette for a video I planned to use to propose to her…I knew I would shoot little pieces over the next several months…
6. The baby: November 2012 My first trip to Atlanta to meet her family…and the other announcement..
In October, Corri had gone to South Dakota to meet my family…in November, I flew to meet hers in Atlanta! I had met Jack, Corri’s dad, on a stopover in LA, but this was the first significant time with him, and my first time talking to her mom, sister and Memaw in person. It was a busy first-day, from the time I landed and Corri picked me up with her sister, Katie…we visited her mom’s store (Shirlyn), and then went to meet the whole group for dinner at Corner Pub in Decatur, GA. It was awesome!
*That night, after watching movies with her dad at his house, we went up to the bedroom we would be sleeping in.. As I finished brushing my teeth and Corri came into the bedroom and closed the door, she said “I need to talk to you…”
**I admit now, that the nausea she was feeling on our last visit, HAD crossed my mind at some point…not significantly, but in passing. However, I quickly was ready for the next sentence out of her mouth: “I’m pregnant”
At literally any other moment in my life, with any other person, this would have been staggering news. Scary news… News that would have at least made me do a gut-check and need a little quiet time to process.
At this point in my life, with this person, I was just immediately reminded how much I love her. I remember no moment of panic or fear – I think my first reaction was to make sure she was 100% aware that I LOVE her, and to make sure she was ok. I didn’t want to assume that she felt the same lack of fear that I felt…but I believe she did. Even today, I think the only trepidation she may have had in her head was about the slim-chance that I could react in a way that she wasn’t expecting. I hope I reacted as eloquently as I (have chosen to) remember it! I know I was actually so thrilled it was with this person – and I had the added benefit of knowing that I was already planning to propose to her, and had started the videos). I also was soon able to note that it would be reassuring to her that she would see a video of my intent to marry her that was clearly shot before I knew about the pregnancy, so she will always know I was already there. We talked for a while, and both fell asleep happy.
**quick note – although we hadn’t been to the doctor, I asked Corri if we could tell her family during that trip, since they were just getting to know me and it would probably be slightly more reassuring if they could talk to us one-on-one, in person. Corri’s dad responded with “well, are you gonna make a life of this” (how could he know that I actually had planned to use this trip to ask his permission to propose…I felt like there was no good way to do that under the new circumstances, cuz I wanted him to know that when I proposed, it was only because of my feelings for Corri and in no way a shotgun proposal). Corri’s mom and Memaw just said “Really!!” (excitedly) and were elated! Corri’s sister…had known the whole trip – Katie was the first person Corri told – the night before I got to Atlanta to meet them.
A couple weeks later, over Thanksgiving, we were in South Dakota, and able to tell my parents the news! My dad had already been asked on my radio show if he thought I’d marry Corri – he’s never commented on my girlfriends before, but unhesitatingly predicted “oh this one..no question, yes.” He and my mom both immediately said, “Congratulations!”…then my mom added “be strict!”
7. The proposal: January 6th My pregnant girlfriend, our unborn child and a ring from Tiffany’s: the most-valuable things in my life all in Central Park in the dark!…
Over Christmas, we visited both families, again…by this time, I couldn’t wait to propose to Corri…I’d shot more vignettes for my video, and just wanted to know that I had Jack’s blessing. During a car-ride to Best Buy to get an adapter that would allow us to watch Taken 2 on the TV via the iPad, I told Jack how much I love Corri, and that somewhere between 1-week and 6-months from now I’d like to ask her to marry me…he was very supportive (and, I think, relieved). I told my parents about this conversation, and then asked Katie (Corri’s sis) to help with the ring, since Corri absolutely never had any idea that I would propose to her.
**I’d reflected a lot on Goldie Hawn/Kurt Russell out-loud.
We got home from our holiday visits, and went to the mall in Paramus on Friday…I sneakily offered to get her a chair-massage, and then used the 20 minutes (constantly checking my watch) to sneak off to Kay Jewelers and Zales to look at rings! I still had NO idea what she’d like.
*My sister, Kristye, had needed to repair an earring over Christmas…while we were in the jewelry store, I kept trying to get Corri to notice the engagement ring section, but she wouldn’t even glance in their direction…
2-days-later: Sunday, I told Corri I needed to run some errands and left (for what ended up being the entire day – she was sitting at home thinking “he must just need a little space today”)…I went to Tiffany on 5th Avenue and picked out three rings…then texted Katie to ask her opinion. She was at church in Hawaii, but tried to text back her reactions to each. I picked the one I liked best, crossed my fingers and told them I’d be back to pick it up in 2 hours when it was sized and cleaned..
I spent the rest of the day running around New York to pick out a spot (eventually a bench, looking over the pond toward Bethesda Fountain in Central Park) and finalizing the video that I was using in my proposal. My pal, Jason, helped film a bit, and told me good-luck as I headed home to edit.
I was having trouble figuring out how to get Corri to dress up a little, and then go near the park so I could get her to the bench….but as luck would have it, Michelle stepped in! Our friend, Michelle invited us to dinner at Rosa Mexicano (a restaurant that Corri and I had a running joke about…this was perfect!) and since its a little fancy, I knew Corri would be dressed nicely – as I assumed a person would want to be, when being proposed to. The only problem was that the video wasn’t fully-rendered yet, as we were leaving to meet Michelle!
*I ended up bringing my backpack with the computer, an iPad I was hoping to transfer the final video to (easier to watch), and the ring…(and a couple stuffed-animal hats that I wore in the video and planned to wear after the proposal)
*i was just meeting Michelle, and had to apologize for needing to finish this video for “work”…as my computer sat on the windowsill at Rosa Mexicano during our meal!
After dinner, it was darker than I’d accounted for…but I told Corri i needed to walk off some of my meal…so we wandered into (dark) Central Park…and past the rocks…down a hill…over the bridge..around the pond…and finally to the tree-branch bench.
I told Corri I really loved having her in New York, and as part of my life, and that I’d created a video to show her that might kinda remind her of that…
at the end of the video, I missed my cue to propose, as I’d been trying to pretend nothing was happening.. I quickly caught up, pulled out the ring and was down on my knee. I remember some words barely squeaking out of my face as I was becoming emotional. Corri cried and immediately said “yes!!” – after embracing, I reminded her that she may want the ring… In true Corri fashion, she still hadn’t really looked at it, and didn’t notice it was in a blue box (I’d chosen that store because Tiffany seemed to embody New York – which is such a core piece of our story together – not because it was in a blue box). We safely exited the park and went home to call our families and friends!
8. The Birth!: June 2013 The kid we named: Batman
Corri and I didn’t even consider worrying about the wedding before we became parents. We knew how exciting and special the birth of our son would be, and wanted to experience the whole process without distraction!
We loved it (although, I was also secretly, constantly anxious about the baby’s health)! We referred to the baby as “Batman” because we didn’t want to share the name until we saw him and knew it fit – the naming process was a very easy 4-minute conversation in the car on the way to Omaha from our Christmas visit in South Dakota.
We learned a lot about vaccinations, healthy foods, and went to birthing classes. Finally, on June 21st – four days after his projected due-date – a little baby came into our world.. The doctors were the first to know that our name fit: Radley.
Corri’s dad was at the hospital and met his grandson shortly after we did. He also learned that Rad’s name was actually Radley Mills (Jack’s middle name, as well).
**Just in case my dad reads this, part of his name was going to be used in the case of a girl – we’d had our original naming convo before finding out the sex of the baby.
9. The marriage: November 2013 Only 10 people know this, prior to this post…
Very few people know this, but Corri and I actually did a VERY casual marriage the same year that Radley was born. We promised ourselves that we would book a wedding venue and date before we would actually do the legality, so that was all in place by the time we entered the courthouse in lower Manhattan, dressed in the very casual outfits we had each worn when we went to dinner as new friends the year before. Each of us in jeans…me with a white v-neck tshirt and Corri with a red flannel button-down. Angel, the courthouse official, considered answering his phone in the midst of “do you, Ty, take Corri to be your…” but apparently he didn’t like the name he saw pop up on the caller ID, so he screened them and refocused. haha – that was the perfect light-heartedness we wanted during the moment – we were saving our personal vows and moment for the wedding that would take place the next November.
10. The Wedding: November 2014 Should a guy be this mushy about his wedding?
THIS was the best day I could ever imagine…November 8th seemed like it would not be worth the expense, the decisions, the coordinating… Up until the night of the wedding, I couldn’t understand how we could be spending this much money within a few hours, and yet I knew it would be more than the flowers and the food. The wedding cake had already proven itself to be a huge value (I had 3 pieces at the tasting), but the family, friends, memories, music, and every single detail of that weekend will be engrained as an emotion rather than a memory. It was the warmest, longest, most-loving hug I’ve ever had ;c)
There are so many amazing people that came together to make this day magical. There is no way to list some of the special moments from a wedding, because there are just too many and I can’t even list them in order of significance because it is really about the whole-package experience. Everything amazing that happens in such a short period of time, that will forever be remembered in the most special way.
And…in long…that’s my short, fast, evolution from bachelor to father to husband…to me. There was no way it could have happened more efficiently, although if there were, I’d have wished it. Because every single thing I now have is so cool!! If I could have had it sooner, I’m sure I’d have wished to have it sooner…but it happened in a way that is perfect – especially the part where I wasn’t mugged in Central Park.