Dads in the Limelight – Wayne Reason

Our 35th Dad in the Limelight is Wayne Reason. I want to thank Wayne for being a part of this series. It has been great getting to know him and now sharing him with all of you!

1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)

I am Wayne, Boy Genius, husband to Mom~E~Centric, father to Ditto Boy and Mini Me and….I am just a one-man show for the most part.  My idea of being in the limelight means that I have the best seat in the house behind the scenes.  I am almost 40, less than a month shy of the big 4-0.  I graduated from a Magnet School in Louisiana and went directly into the Army.  I had less than 30 free days between graduation and basic training.  I served in Desert Storm as a satellite technician.  I was stationed in Sinop along with several stateside locations.  My job was technically an Electronic Warfare Storage Subsystem Specialist 33-Y.  (*ahem* I was an electronic technician and satellite specialist.) 

After a total of 4.5 years in the Army, my job was civilianized and I left the military.
My mom had moved from Louisiana, where I grew up, to Pensacola, Florida so I just took up residence there.   

Trying to exercise the rebel in me, I didn’t cut my hair for several years and had a ponytail that reached well down the middle of my back.  Now, much to my wife’s pleasure, I wear that Army “high and tight” style again.   

My time in the limelight I think is really more like a twinkling star on all of my wife’s work that no one ever realizes. She has lofty goals and keeps me on my toes with requests to build, re-build, design and re-design.  I have my own blog; Gadget Magnet and I want to work on that, as I am fairly astute at repairing broken electronics and building my own version of popular gadgets. I just forget to take photos of the projects in action and certainly don’t have time to sit down and write much about it. 

2) Tell me about your family

I met my wife shortly after taking a job as an electrical engineer with a construction company.  I was new to the area (Birmingham, Alabama), I found her photo on the Yahoo personals and really, if there is such a thing as love at first sight, I guess that’s all you can call it.  I never planned to have children at all.  Shortly after Jerri Ann and I made a commitment, she basically gave me an ultimatum:  “Let’s have a baby or I’m leaving.”  I entertained the idea for a day or so and when she approached me the second time, I agreed that yes, one child would be great.  I won’t even get into how their came to be two extra males in my house instead of just one.  Honestly, she is pretty persuasive even if I say so myself.  But, in our most chaotic moments, trying to get to two ball parks at the same time on opposite ends of town, or when the noise level becomes unbearable, I remind her that she was the one who though we needed to have two, not just one.  

I wouldn’t take anything for my kids, don’t get me wrong.  I just never planned to be a father.  I didn’t have a huge male presence in my life growing up.  My granddad taught me everything I know about being an electrician but not so much about parenthood I guess.  I just didn’t see myself as a father.  Now, I don’t know how we would entertain ourselves without at least one of them.  

Ok, two.   

As I said, my wife keeps up with the limelight so I just go with the flow.  Our seven-year-old looks like me (or so they say) and seems to have my desire to want to learn what makes things tick.  My wife along with many others quickly named him Ditto Boy after he was born.  He has my mother-in-law’s maiden name, Walker, and then my middle and last name (so he has my initials too, there’s a reason I (ok, my wife) added this).  The second born came into this world blonde and I’m still searching for a blonde mailman somewhere.  Both of us have dark hair and a long line of dark haired family members.  But, when the sun goes down, he does resemble his mother and definitely has her athletic skills.  After careful deliberation over the first child’s name, my wife took an Internet poll to pick a name for Mini Me.  Surprisingly, he has her initials.  She is a sly one, that woman. 

Since she is the one who does the majority of the blogging, he was pronounced a Mini-Me (my wife being the Me) by almost everyone.  We make a pretty good-looking bunch. 

3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?

I mentioned this above, I didn’t have a huge parental presences other than my grandparents.  My step-dad is only ten years older than me so he was more like a brother than a step-dad.  I depend on my wife a lot for what is acceptable but basically, I think it’s just instinct.  The biggest challenge though definitely stems from the difference in opinion that my wife and I have over discipline.  She is much more lenient than I am but often asks me to intervene.  Behavior and discipline are generally the only areas Jerri Ann and I disagree about   

I have ADD but I wasn’t diagnosed until after we had children of our own.  And I can see some of the same struggles I went through as a child in my oldest son.  I mentioned that my grandfather taught me a lot.  I was inquisitive and wanted to learn and he had the patience to teach me.  Walker is the same way but I have yet to harness the patience to explain everything to him step-by-step.  I know I should, my wife reminds me of that often, it’s just not natural to me and it really makes the whole process a challenge for sure.

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?

Patience truly is a virtue.

5) Seeing that you (or your position) is in the limelight, how have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?

What outside life?  My wife would like to say that we had opportunities to sow our oats. But now, we spend what most people would call an unhealthy amount of time either working or participating in activities with our children.  That’s it.  That’s what we do.  We’ve taken one very short trip without our children since the first one was born.  They do spend the night with my wife’s mom frequently but only one at a time.  So, we are focused on one of them almost always.  Other than the time I spend at work, we rarely spend time sans children all together.  
Because our children have grown up watching my wife and I both spend a lot of time online, they are pretty good with a computer, remote controls, electronics in general. I have no doubts that my kids are going to be highly skilled with technical skills.  I hope my kids get their education through college instead of the military simply because right now jobs are easier to find with credentials from a university than with our very own military.   

Although, other than what I learned from my grandfather, most of my computer, satellite, mechanical and electrical skills came from Uncle Sam.

6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?

We are in the middle of baseball right now.  Other than that, we generally don’t interact with many families.  I’ve never played sports at all.  But, last year when the boys were playing on the same team, I was asked to help coach.  (Don’t think for one minute that wasn’t a terrible blow to my wife’s ego though).  I watched as the other coaches (mostly fathers) interacted with their own children and I learned to enjoy the qualities in kids that really bothered me at one time.  For instance, I expected our children, even at a young age to be very efficient.  My wife is quite organized and even though I am a bit scattered, I still pushed our kids to do more than they probably should have been expected to do.  By working with the kids in practice and games, I learn to appreciate that it was ok for the 4 year old to hit the ball and run to third, even in the last game of the season.  I’m coaching again this year and naturally my kids are older but my expectations never seem to lower, but I have learned to cope a little better. 

7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?

This question has held me up all weekend.  I can only say that I don’t know what father’s are suppose to do, how they are suppose to act and I’ve been forced to learn that one day at a time, one baby at a time and with a lot of patience from my wife.  I can’t say that instincts are the best way to go about parenting but so far, I think I’ve done fairly well.  It’s hard, so very hard.  My wife insisted I had this part or she was going to add it for me.  Anything that has an on/off switch, has at one time included a set of directions or that needs to be built, I can do it.  I rarely turn down a challenge for repairing anything that’s broken.  And if you need a new gadget invented, I’m always willing to give it a try.  But parenting?  I have yet to find a set of directions that are the cure all for this parenting gig, I just function on instinct.  So far, so good.   

8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?

Memorable, huh? 

Ironically enough, as difficult as this question is for me to answer, I am going to give it a try.  I don’t have many memories of childhood at all.  And, I have no memories of interacting with my own father.  So, I truly enjoy a lot of the memories we make now simply because I never had that opportunity.  Again, this is tough I could give you so many examples.   

These aren’t in any particular order.  I mentioned that I never played sports. But my wife did and both boys enjoy it.  Last year in the season ending game, for the season championship, Walker pulled off a triple play.  We were playing the only team that beat us in the pre-season tournament.  We were up by 2, they had last bat in the final inning.  Walker was playing third base and it wasn’t really a line drive but he didn’t have time to think about it.  Everyone around him was yelling at him to tag the runner.  Naturally, at this young of an age, the runners on second and third had taken off.  He stepped on his bag for out two and then caught the runner headed back to second to finish off the triple play.

I know, it’s a bit shallow but having never played sports myself, I hope he can remember that feeling forever! 

Christmas of 2008 we had managed to get everything wrapped and under the tree at a decent hour (unlike many other years).  Both boys were tucked snuggly in their bed and we had crashed too around midnight.  About 3:30, one of the boys opens our bedroom door and the boy’s storm us with glee over all the presents.  They had opened every single present under the tree, regardless of whose name was on it.  Jerri Ann was so disgusted; we left the mess and headed back to bed.  This past year, we just went ahead and put them in our room so we would know if they woke up. 
On a similar note, they were in their own beds the night before Easter this year so the Easter Bunny hid the baskets in our bathtub.  Again, they would have to wake us up to get to them.

If you have any questions for Wayne, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!

Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!

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