Bryan McCutchan (34) married his high school sweetheart Gina (aka “Sweets”) — twice. He jokes that he has children with both his first and second wives, though both wives are actually the same person.
In addition to being a husband and father to son Taylor (11) and daughter Aliya (5), Bryan works as a Microsoft business architect. After working in Seattle for a period, Bryan and Gina recently relocated their family back to their home state of Texas — closer to the kids’ cousins and other relatives. The transition also gave Bryan the chance to indulge his fascination with weather as a National Weather Service storm spotter, something that has also piqued his son’s curiosity. “The kids have had the chance to see just how diverse and changing our weather in Texas is compared to the cold and rainy Seattle weather,” Bryan says. “Taylor has a growing interest in severe weather, and he recently attended storm spotter training with me.”
While life is good now, it hasn’t always been easy. “If I told a stranger the things I’ve experienced in life, they perhaps would think I was 54 and not 34,” Bryan says. His ups and downs include marriage, divorce, the birth of two children, his father’s heart attack and brain damage, unemployment (he worked at Arthur Andersen when they closed after Enron) and 13 moves in the past 15 years. The hardest storm Bryan has encountered, however, happened last summer and had nothing to do with the weather. He had to tell his children that their new baby sister Madelyn wouldn’t be coming home due to an umbilical cord accident. “The one thing that absolutely shouldn’t happen to anyone is losing your child,” Bryan says. “That being said, life happens without much regard for how we want it to go most of the time, and I believe there’s a reason for everything.”
Despite the hole in his heart, Bryan carries his positive attitude for his family and remembers to cherish his children every day. “I love seeing my kids grow up and become their own persons with their own unique personalities and skills,” he says, “and I love the moments I see them laugh until they snort at something silly I did or when we simply spend time together wrestling on the floor, having piggyback rides or even my daughter putting princess jewelry on me when playing her Disney princess games.”
As an avid reader of fictional legal thrillers and various non-fiction topics, Bryan feels this is one trait he is passing on to his offspring. “My son is the leader in his grade for reading, and my daughter is already following in his footsteps,” he says. “It’s so true of what is said about the benefits of reading to your kids. Reading is an activity we do most every night before the kids go to bed.”
Advice to other dads
“Time with your kids is not about just quality or quantity — it’s about both. It’s about being there for your kids, showing you love them through your actions, whether you are reading to them or disciplining them. Your kids look up to you and watch your every move. Whether you know it or not and whether they know it or not, they want a father, not just another friend.”