Happy Father’s Day!
Our Father’s Day podcast features two dads! Jeff Chappell is a business development manager for Consumers Credit Union and a brand new father of twins! Rob Johnson is a credit union member who has raised 6 kids with his wife, and now they all out on their own! Listen in as Jeff and Rob share their memories, experiences and best advice they’ve received about fatherhood! Happy Father’s Day!
00:06 Lynne Jarman-Johnson: Money, I’m Home. Welcome in, I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson with Consumers Credit Union. Thank you so much for joining us. We have a very special edition today focusing on … Well, it’s Father’s Day, so we’re gonna talk to two fathers. One of them who’s a brand new dad with twins, and another who has raised six and they’ve flown out of the nest. I’m, again, so excited that you’re here and listening in with us. First of all, let me introduce you to Jeff Chapell. Jeff, tell you what, this is kind of a big weekend for you.
00:38 Jeff Chapell: It is. It is, Lynne. [chuckle]
00:43 LJ: Give our listeners a little reason why.
00:45 JC: Sure, so this would be my first Father’s Day as an actual father of two baby girl twins, with both of them coming home this week, so it’s kind of a really … I think it’s really special.
01:00 LJ: Absolutely. Give us a little background about you, Jeff, and how you came to Consumers. I know that you are a huge proponent in the business world and helping our business members succeed. Tell us how you got here and a little bit about you.
01:17 JC: Sure. So, I’ve been in financial services just over 11 years, and throughout the majority of my time in financial services, I worked on the commercial side. And, the opportunity with Consumers Credit Union came open about two years ago now. And when I’d seen it, I didn’t know that much about credit unions, but I knew a lot about commercial lending and commercial banking. And I’m so happy that I decided to apply and that you guys gave me a shot ’cause it’s worked out much better than what I could have ever experienced.
01:51 LJ: Tell me how you met your wife, and what were the planning thoughts as far as having, starting a family?
01:57 JC: Sure, so we met at Western Michigan University.
02:00 LJ: Go Broncos!
02:03 JC: Yeah, in 2009. We knew that we wanted to spend some time married, enjoying one another, and all of that marriage has to bring. But, we knew that we would get to a certain point where we wanted to try to start a family. So actually, this is so weird, but May 26 of 2019 is when we took a photo that we saved on our phones, but that’s the day that we said, “Okay, today is the official day of us starting this path of trying to have a family, children.” And then it’s also so coincidental and funny that on May 27, 2020, they actually came. [chuckle]
02:42 LJ: That is incredible!
02:45 JC: So that process of going slower, not having kids right away, just taking our time, and lo and behold we have two twin girls, so I guess we caught up to everybody really fast.
03:01 LJ: So, tell us about the girls, and you literally just brought them home, so this is like brand new real to you. Tell us a little bit about them.
03:12 JC: Their names are Ava and Maya. They are officially three weeks old and a day. They are fraternal twins, and they are very active. It seems like … I think now they know that the other one is there again ’cause they kind of set off …
03:31 LJ: Really?
03:31 JC: Yeah. They kind of set off the other one when it comes to time to eat or X, Y and Z. And, they definitely have their own little personalities already, so that’s kind of cool. But yeah, I think for us, we had a lot of planning, so we got the nursery done, we got a lot of friends and family really blessed us and helped us get a lot of the stuff that we would need and that we’ve used. So yeah, it’s been an amazing experience.
04:02 LJ: So with Father’s Day here, and you’ve got your brand new girls and your family is just so growing, healthy and happy, hiking back to the day that you learned first off that you were gonna be a father, and then when you found out that you were gonna have two, tell me your thoughts and feelings.
04:24 JC: Sure, so the day that I found out that I would be a father was in November. My wife took one of the tests, and it was confirmed after several of those tests. And then, that day was a real like, “Okay, it’s getting real. Now it’s time to think along the lines of being a father, having the family, X, Y, and Z.” And then the day that I found out that it was twins, it was actually our first appointment at the doctor’s, the 12-week appointment, and the nurse was doing the …
05:02 LJ: Ultrasound?
05:04 JC: Ultrasound, and she was like, “Yeah, you have two babies in there,” were her exact words, and we were just blown away. We were just blown away because my wife said that she wanted that. I’d never thought about it. Yeah, I think I was in shock for five minutes. I don’t think I said a word. We feel very blessed to have two healthy babies, so yeah.
05:34 LJ: So, they did come a little bit early, and so that’s a rocky road. It’s a road of fear and uncertainty.
05:42 JC: Yep.
05:44 LJ: And truly, I do think though that that truly is when the fatherhood kicks in, isn’t it?
05:49 JC: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah, no, so they came at 33 weeks and six days, so they were supposed to … And they came home May 27th, but they were supposed to come late June, maybe early July. So that’s really early, but I think Ava spent two weeks in the NICU, and Maya spent three weeks. And fortunately, they were learning the whole feeding thing. And so now, they’re home, they don’t need any assistance to breathe or do anything like that. They’re definitely active, even though Ava did give us a little scare the other day. [chuckle]
06:34 LJ: Hey, Jeff, guess what, that continues. Those little scares. [laughter] That’s gonna … They just get bigger. [chuckle]
06:42 JC: I know, I know, but I … [chuckle]
06:46 LJ: When you’re thinking about fatherhood, who in your life has inspired you or continues to inspire you?
06:53 JC: I think that’s a great question, Lynne, because I would probably say my father died when I was 3 years old. So, I think growing up, once I became cognitive of what a father is or does or the role, my mom was a lot of that in my life ’cause it was just me and her. And, I think what inspires me truly, I think I can say this now, is the fact that I didn’t have a father inspires me to be a better father or to be a good father, to wanna spend the time or do what I can with my kids. Because like, I missed that, right? And, I’ve noticed different things between me and some of the kids that have fathers, and I was always like, “Man, I don’t even know how that feels like.” So, I think that for me, that’s a big part of what inspires me or what I essentially live to. And then I think just seeing how me and my wife can come together and serve our kids or help or do what we gotta do so, yeah.
08:03 LJ: Well, listen, is there anything that you’d like to say to those that are considering parenthood and/or are new parents? We don’t have a playbook, do we? It’s hands on.
08:17 JC: No, I would say be flexible and be willing to hear all the types of different ideas or concepts. Don’t be set on one idea or one thing because it’s kind of all over the board, if you will. I think I’ve learned that with having twins is that you just gotta be prepared for whatever happens or whatever comes, but that would kind of be my advice. And to a certain extent, be okay with not knowing something.
08:49 LJ: That’s awesome. Well, Jeff, thank you so much for joining us today and Happy Father’s Day.
08:54 JC: Thank you so much, Lynne, and I will talk to you and see you soon. Take care.
09:00 LJ: And now, let’s turn the tables a little bit and talk with Rob Johnson. Rob is a father of six, and his name might sound familiar because he is my husband, and we did raise six children, and they’re now out of the house. Rob, thank you so much for joining us today.
09:13 Rob Johnson: Well, thanks for having me.
09:15 LJ: Listen, we’re excited to hear all about the dad’s different point of view. We just heard from Jeff Chapelle who has his brand new baby girl twins that are home and now underneath their roof, and he’s so excited, and your roof is a little different than it used to be. Tell us a little bit about that.
09:31 RJ: Well, yes, it is exciting for Jeff and his wife. Wow, twins! That’s a handful. But for us, it’s been exciting times for a lot of different reasons. So, one, we’ve had this unbelievable, what? 28-to-32-year run of having kids under foot, and now they’re all gone, and that brings a lot of exciting things to our life, which is now seeing our kids from afar as they move on in their life, but also visiting with them across the country in their various cities that they live in and seeing how they’re doing, how they are independently living outside of our roof, if you will. And it’s been actually very enjoyable. It’s been not just enjoyable, it’s been very proud moments for me, and I suspect for you as well, to see how our kids are doing and how they’ve developed and how they’ve become the young adults that they have become.
10:28 LJ: One of the things that … As we raised the kids, it took so many others in our life to help us do that. It always makes me grin. And as a father, that’s the day that we really do highlight those that have made a difference. What do you remember most about growing up when the house was loud, really big? [laughter]
10:51 RJ: Well, it’s funny. I could think of it in two ways. I grew up with eight siblings, and so as an early child, I remember a house being loud and with my mom and dad, and my dad was … He worked a lot. It was in an era where my mom stayed home and my dad was gone working a lot. And then as we transitioned, and you and I began our family and started having the kids, it was loud and loud for a couple of reasons. One, just because of the sheer numbers with six.
11:18 RJ: But as you know, and maybe the listeners don’t know, but our kids are very, very outgoing and loud, and loud in a good way. And so, what I remember is just the … There was never a night or a day, for that matter, that there wasn’t some conversation going on, whether it be a loud conversation or a quiet conversation. There was always a conversation, whether it be between the siblings or between you and I and the kids. It’s just very, very awesome memories to think about that, and so I never thought of it loud in a bad way. I thought of it loud in a good way. It was just a very active household, and it made it enjoyable to be around.
11:57 LJ: So, those that are parents that are right now in the midst of it, no matter what their ages, what are some of the points that you can share about being a dad that might make it a little easier as the road goes?
12:10 RJ: Well, I got a couple of things that I’ve learned over the years, both just watching my own father and then just myself with our situation with our kids. And, what I learned the most valuable probably was just having patience, and it sometimes it’s difficult to remember that when you’re in the midst of what may be considered chaos or whatever the situation was, but patience was just such an important trait to have. And, to be able to sit back and really look at what’s happening and understanding the importance of it and maybe not making it more dramatic than it needed to be.
12:44 RJ: And then, with that being said, it was extremely important to have communication. Communication not just with the kids and vice versa, but communication with you as a spouse. It was valuable to be able to communicate what was going on with the kids, what were the issues, or what were the accolades if you will because we weren’t always together. Our jobs took us at times to different parts, and then it required us to communicate about what was happening with the kids. And so, those two things, patience and communication are just vital, I think, to any father to be able to thrive in a relationship with his daughter or his son.
13:21 LJ: So, Rob, we have a thousand stories, you and I, but is there one that sticks out in your mind that showcases what Father’s Day means to you?
13:29 RJ: That’s such a difficult question because over 30 some years of experiences with each child individually, and then with some kids together, and with all the kids together, I could probably point to, as you mentioned, numerous stories. But one I think that really sticks out in my mind is an Easter story. And I think what the Easter story, without getting into the weeds of the story, it was a joyous day, and the whole family was looking forward to it. And it just turned into a day that didn’t go as we had planned, and it was frustrating. And it was loud because all six kids were in the car, and you and I were in the car, and it became a very frustrating moment, but that moment didn’t ruin the day. It actually … We wrapped our arms around the frustrating moment, and we turned it into a very joyous day.
14:26 RJ: And actually, we talk about it often. We look back, and it was just such funny little stories came out of that day. So, I think about patience did play an extremely important role that day. We had to sit back, we had to be patient, let the situation sort of unwind itself, and it did. And, of course, like a lot of times in life, it was really much to do about nothing, and then that patience was important. And then, the communication part of it was we sat down as a family, and we were able to have a sit-down conversation, all of us, which just turned into just laughter. It was such an incredible memory for me.
15:02 LJ: Well, Rob Johnson, Happy Father’s Day, and thank you so much for joining us here today.
15:08 RJ: Well, thank you.
15:09 LJ: Well, wonderful stories from Jeff and from Rob. And to all of you listening, Happy Father’s Day. We hope you have a wonderful day. And thank you so much for listening. We’d like to thank Jake Esselink for the production skills, and have a great week, everybody.