Chosen – Dad 2.0 Summit

Last week I was contacted by Doug French, founder of the Dad 2.0 Summit , who let me know that I had been chosen as a Blogger Spotlight Reader for this year’s conference in New Orleans. My initial reactions were shock and humility. “Me? Why me? How? How is this possible?” I actually asked Doug that as we spoke on the phone and he said that he enjoyed my blog and thought I had an important voice. I was told my ticket to the conference would be paid for and that to help save money, Doug would help me find someone with whom I could share a hotel room. Was I willing to go? As we spoke and I stammered my responses, nervousness flooded my veins and my chest felt as if it had been dipped in liquid nitrogen, like a little poke in the ribs would shatter me to pieces. I told Doug I’d have to look into flights and see about that hotel roommate and ask if I could get Sienna coverage and most importantly, see if could overcome my anxiety. Doug said that was fine and to let him know as soon as I could.

The first thing I did – and this is highly significant – was contact Danny Giardino, a friend I’d met through the NYC Dads Group, who had offered to split a room with me when I was debating going to conference a few months ago. I asked if the room was still available. It was and since the first 2 nights were comped, the total cost for my stay would be negligible. Why is this so significant? Because I actually did something instead of crawling into bed and shaking. I took initiative in solving a rooming situation.

Next I contacted my mom about Sienna coverage. She told me she was proud of me and said she and my dad would absolutely be able to watch Sienna on Thursday and Friday. Again significant because I problem-solved.

Then, despite my sense of dread at how things were falling into place, I searched for flights and found one that was doable money-wise. Non-stop both ways on JetBlue.

I then called Elaine and stammered my way through letting her know that I’d been chosen, that the founder of the Dad 2.0 Summit (described on its homepage as  “an open conversation about the commercial power of dads online, and an opportunity to learn the tools and tactics used by influential bloggers to create high-quality content, build personal brands, and develop business ideas”), had read my blog and wanted me to read from it in front of a large audience of fellow Dad Bloggers and marketers and real go-getters in the At-Home Dad community, people so unlike myself, people who don’t cost their child a few hours in the park because they’re too anxious to go outside. Elaine, like my mom, was proud of me, but knowing my anxiety level must be through the roof, she said we’d talk about it when we got home.

As I said earlier, I had debated going to the conference a few months ago, but I felt that I’d be overwhelmed by the marketing and business aspects as well a fear of feeling completely inadequate in the face of so many seasoned bloggers, people whose work is so much better than my own. I’d gone back and forth and back and forth and finally decided it would be too much for me…maybe next year when I’d have done more writing and had a lot more therapy. Now I was being invited by the founder himself and the dominoes were falling leading me to a date in New Orleans in late January.

I called my best friends who told me I absolutely have to go, that is an opportunity of a lifetime and I’d regret it forever if I didn’t answer that knock. I texted my therapist who said the same.

A few hours later after Elaine had come home and we talked a bit more I booked the damn flight before I could change my mind. I took a massive leap, something I almost never do. I let Doug know that I accepted the honor and would indeed be there and he wrote back: “Great news! Thanks again for doing this. You’ll be great. I know it.” I also peppered him with anxiety-related questions: What do I wear? Do I have to look professional? I normally wear jeans and a baseball cap (Aside – I had planned to write about the meaning behind my cap today, but this popped up instead). What happens if I become overwhelmed? Can I leave for a bit? Take a walk? Do I wait for an official announcement? (The announcement was posted today.) I apologized for the frenzied questions and said I hate my brain to which Doug responded, “Don’t hate your brain too much. It’s the reason you write as well as you do.” I didn’t know what to say to that.

My sister- and brother-in-law live in Baton Rouge and want to be there for moral support, but I don’t know if they’d need to pay to see me read. Even if they can’t make it to the conference itself, they want to take the trip to drive me from and to the airport to which I said they’re nuts and was told that they’re a nutty family.

I can tell you that I’m scared out of my mind. I’m terrified of the marketing aspects. I’m frightened I’ll feel eclipsed by the other bloggers there. I’m nervous I’ll feel very alone even though Doug and others have told me that people look out for each other at the Summit, that it’s a community of friendly faces. I’m even afraid I’ll unwittingly walk by Madame Marie Delphine LaLaurie’s mansion (she being the infamous, sadistic slave torturer currently being portrayed by Kathy Bates on American Horror Story: Coven) and I’ll see one of those weird orbs people claim appear when they take photo of the place (ok, I’ll confess, I actually do want to visit the mansion – anyone up for a New Orleans nighttime ghost tour?). I’m anxious people will feel I wasn’t deserving of this honor, that I’m not good enough, that I’ll discover I’m not cut out to be a Dad Blogger. I’m scared I won’t have Elaine with me.

But…I did take those steps to see if I could go and I did it on all my own. That means something. That means a lot. I’m proud of myself for that. And I’m proud I took a leap I don’t think I could have taken even a few months ago. Plus I’ve never been to New Orleans. If there’s time, I’d like to see a few things. I’m also looking forward to meeting so many people who have been supportive of my writing since I joined the Dad Bloggers group. Already some of these fellow bloggers such as Carter Gaddis, Kevin McKeever, John Kinnear have posted personal congrats to me on FB as have people I already know including Lance Somerfield, Jason Greene and Sat Sharma.

I’m nervous as hell, but I’m not letting my anxiety hold me back. Not this time. It’s probably not going to leave me, but come January 30th, we’ll be together at the Dad 2.0 Summit in New Orleans.


22 thoughts on “Chosen – Dad 2.0 Summit

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Lorne Jaffe

      January 8, 2014 at 6:46pm

      Thanks so much Kevin! Can we choose our own song like they do in baseball? If so I might have to go with the Peanuts theme. Thanks for the link! Checked it out and made me feel a little better. Will reread it many times before the conference

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    January 6, 2014 at 5:10pm

    Lorne, this is truly great news. Really, I smiled when I read that you’d been chosen. You’ll be awesome. I’ve never been to a conference of any kind, though I’d thought about Dad 2.0 for this year, but decided I just wasn’t quite ready. Now I’m kinda sorry for that, ’cause I’d have liked to meet you. And I’m not a person who likes to meet people, no matter how friendly or talented.

    Remember, you’ve been invited to read something and to be yourself. “Yourself” is idiosyncratic and unique, the very best kind of thing to be. Congrats again!

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Lorne Jaffe

      January 8, 2014 at 6:49pm

      Thanks so much Neal! I’m trying to wrap my head around things like what you said…that you smiled when you read I’d been chosen. It’s so weird having all this support especially from people who’ve never met me. I’m also honored (and also confused) that you and others want to meet me. I’m not used to hearing such things, but I’m doing my best to take it as it’s meant to be. Thank you for the congrats and believing in me!

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Larry Interrante

    January 6, 2014 at 8:35pm

    I am so happy for you. This is a big honor. I wish I could be there to see you speak I can’t do it this year but I will be there in spirit. Congrats again!

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Lorne Jaffe

      January 8, 2014 at 6:44pm

      Thanks Larry! I know you’ll be there in spirit and know that without people like you and Chris telling me in person that you actually read my blog, I never would have gotten this far

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    January 7, 2014 at 12:47pm

    Laissez les bons temps rouler!
    Espérons que nous obtenons de vous voir. 😀

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    sherry amatenstein

    January 7, 2014 at 3:33pm

    Grinning ear to ear as I read this – it’s not that we’re proud of you; it’s that YOU are proud of you.
    Again, wish I could be there. Could I be skyped in? No doubt there will be video. You DESERVE this honor, Lorne.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Lorne Jaffe

      January 8, 2014 at 6:41pm

      Thanks Sherry! No clue about video. Will see and let you know. Trying to soak in the deserving thing, as you know. One thing I know is I never would have gotten to this stage without you

  5. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Julie Lewis

    January 7, 2014 at 6:33pm

    Congratulations, Lorne. Such an honour for you and you really deserve this. Allan & I know how amazing your writing is and we wish you the very best for the conference. Xxx

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Lorne Jaffe

      January 8, 2014 at 6:40pm

      Thanks Julie! I’m lucky to be getting support from all the way on the other side of the world. Miss you guys!

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      sherry amatenstein

      January 8, 2014 at 8:27pm

      Thanks for your lovely comment, Lorne. I appreciate it. But you’d never have gotten to this stage without your bravery and determination despite the very real and vicious repercussions of depression, anxiety and low self esteem.

      Again wish I could be there. But it doesn’t matter “How’ you do. It’s that you do it – there is no “fail’ here.

      love, sherry

  6. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    January 7, 2014 at 6:41pm

    The first sentence is a Louisiana fave, it means, “Let the good times roll.”
    The second sentence you figure it out. ;D

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Lorne Jaffe

      January 8, 2014 at 6:43pm

      Tried a search but no luck translation-wise. Need to find someone that speaks French!

  7. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    January 7, 2014 at 11:01pm

    Great news. So happy for you. I think you’ll kick butt. They made a good choice. I’m sorry I won’t be there.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Lorne Jaffe

      January 8, 2014 at 6:38pm

      Thanks so much, Larry! Still reeling from the announcement. Glad you have faith in me! Wish you were going so we’d able to meet in person. We’ll fig out another way

  8. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    January 7, 2014 at 11:09pm

    Please don’t overthink it! You aren’t being asked to give a sermon on the meaning of life – you’re being asked to talk about the everyday stuff you talk about…every day. It’s a group of sympathetic dads. They want you to be there so that you can be YOU. Every time you start talking yourself out of this, remind yourself that you’ll be among friends. You should be really proud of yourself. I’m excited for you! Plus, it’s beautiful down there.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Lorne Jaffe

      January 8, 2014 at 6:37pm

      Caren, I don’t know what I’d do without your advice and support. I can’t thank you enough. I’m doing my best not to think too much, but the old brain is fighting me every inch of the way. Regardless, thank you so much!

  9. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    So This is Fatherhood

    January 14, 2014 at 1:58am

    So very happy for you and you’ll definitely do great. When you become a rich and famous dad blogger (is there such a thing?) I can say “I knew that guy way back when …”

    Sorry I won’t be there but I know you’ll do great!

    – Matt

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Lorne Jaffe

      January 14, 2014 at 6:57pm

      Thanks so much, Matt! Wish you were there so we’d be able to meet up. We’ll have to fig out another way and we’ll def get that project going. As for me ever being rich and famous, yeah, methinks not lol. A blogger, maybe, but I’ll never be rich or famous 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email will not be published. Name and Email fields are required.