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The People's Voice: You can’t have enough family

Published: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST • Updated: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 9:21 a.m. CST

Meet the three most important people to me in the Sauk Valley.

There’s my lovely bride, Kayla, and the two bundles of amazing she blessed me with – Anna and Elise (aka Psycho Peanut).

I’ve written a lot about how much I love the people here, Kayla and I having moved to the area in October 2011. But in this week’s installment of this column on people in the Sauk Valley, I need to specifically shine the spotlight on my extended family. I’m talking about the people I work with.

First and foremost, it’s because of the papa bear of the office – he’d prefer to be called “Coach” – Jeff Rogers that I’m not going to set foot in the office this week. (This is assuming I take the whole week off.)

Jeff and I worked together in Monroe, Wis., for my first 2 years out of college, and I predict that I won’t work for a better man.

I called my managing editor Sunday morning in tears. Honestly, I’ve cried a lot lately. Having twins has a way of bringing all your emotions right up to the surface. And I’ve always been an emotional guy, to boot.

I called him because I needed to take vacation this week in order to get my stuff together at home. We’ve been going through a lot of stuff with the girls of late, and, especially when Kayla came down ill, I felt that enough was enough. I needed to stop being at work while my mind was at home or, far worse, vice versa. I needed to stop making uncharacteristic mistakes both at the office and in my home.

I hated calling Jeff, because I don’t like admitting defeat. And I knew with a monster special section looming and our staff already stretched, it would be on him to shoulder that which I needed so badly to unload for a spell.

But he assured me that it’s OK to admit you’re not succeeding and to do what you need to do in order to change that. He also assured me to not look back on having to pull the trigger, but to instead just be Dad.

Forgive me if you’d do anything to have a boss as considerate as mine. I feel like I’m bragging, but what I’m really trying to do is convey why, in these turbulent times for newspapers, I couldn’t feel better about where I am, and look forward to growing with the company while my kids grow up.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t flesh out that point. Frankly, you have it very good as a readership. You’d be hard-pressed to find a staff that works harder to cover your communities, or one that finds more creative ways to do it.

So, please try not to take for granted the newspaper group that is serving you. We have editors whose game-planning is only matched by their dedication to its execution. We have a stable of intimidatingly talented reporters that features a balance of knowledgeable veterans and young, hungry go-getters. Our photographers capture emotion and art in the least likely of places. The list goes on and on. From the moment I stepped into the newsroom 28 months ago, I’ve known this company is a gem.

While I’ll miss the staff, this is going to be a glorious week. Not restful, mind you. I’ve found that’s a misconception – that having kids suddenly fills your life with giggles and adorable moments. Pro tip: It’s more so filled with spit-up, poop and concern. But the tender moments, incomparable rewards. and unexplainable perspective far and away trump the bad stuff.

So this will be a glorious week, as I get to crush it as Dad. I’ll miss my extended family, but the overwhelming amount of talent in the newsroom assures me that the outstanding coverage won’t miss a beat. But it’s the personalities throughout the office that I’ve grown to love that assure me that they’d want me to do this.

So I guess this column is my way of saying thanks to my fourth- through 16th (or whatever the –eenth is) people in the Sauk Valley.

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