My babies aren’t babies anymore. A dad’s next chapter.

As I'm here in Dallas to see my youngest child off to college this week, it finally hit me why I've felt off the past week or so.

This is the end of a giant chapter. My oldest is a grown woman with a career, my middle son will be a college senior, and now the last child is leaving to start his life halfway across the country. I'm so proud of them. As exciting as it is for them, this final send-off leaves me feeling as though a piece of me is being ripped out.

I've always prided myself on being an amazing father, a top 2% rock star dad. Not perfect... there were dad's who made more money, gave them cooler things, etc... but being a dad was the thing I did best.

My goal was to raise good, interesting humans and to have a real relationship with them.

I succeeded, and anyone who has met Sammy, Sky, and Ty will agree. It's undeniable.

I didn't have a good dad, so I winged it. I became the dad I wish I'd had. It drove many of my significant choices as an adult. If other parts of my life weren't working or on point, I could always look to them and know my value and purpose.

For the past week or so I've felt off. I've been reserved, quiet, anxious. Everything in my life is awesome right now, but I couldn't pinpoint that weird feeling.

But over the past 48 hours, it hit me.

This morning it leveled me.

I feel like my significant purpose is gone

The #1 job and thing I was best at for 23 years is over.

With my last child leaving and I've already seen how the other two are fully living their lives... I feel my purpose, my value, my hands on job of being needed is over. My job is over, and it's one I loved and have done superbly.

(That's not meant to be or sound melodramatic, and yes they will always "need me" sort of) But things will not be the same. It feels like there is an empty footprint.

I'll fill it...

I have the type of healthy relationship I've always wanted with a woman I love, I have unlimited talent and opportunity in my career, I have friends all over the world, and a clear unencumbered path ahead of me.

All will be good. It always ends up that way.

That's what I do!

However, today I feel a little sad, a little scared, ... and a little excited as I stare at a blank page of the next chapter to be written. 🅱️


Bradley Richardson

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FLASHBACK 16 YEAR AGO … This is Tyler when he was 2 and I had bad hair and thought fisherman turtlenecks were a good idea. The publisher put us on the cover of a book I wrote about being a dad during the first two years. He leaves for college tomorrow. It goes fast y’all.

Before & After. Tyler, age 2 on the cover of a book I wrote about being a dad during the first 2 years.

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Bradley Richardson