Saturday, December 21st, 2013
3 years, 1 months.
I’m officially aware now that if Mommy or I add the phrase “big boy” in front of just about anything, you’ll be interested in it. It’s similar to the way I’ve distanced myself from using the word “toddler” to reference you anymore, especially since you turned 3 last month.
In other words, you are doing away with all that baby stuff, because this is like your bar mitzvah of Big Boyhood.
For example, I’ve noticed that in recent photo collages I’ve been making, I typically include a shot of the men’s restroom sign, to signify that you went potty there… and didn’t get your “big boy underwear” wet.
It’s like my way of documenting The Great Potty Tour of 2013/2014.
I was thinking about this the whole time you were at the dentist, when I took you earlier this week. I was so impressed by the way you just went with the flow, despite it being potentially intimidating to a 3 year-old.
Granted, the huge fish tank, the multiple horsie rides, and the arcade room surely helped distract you in a good way.
It was very rewarding for me as a parent to sit back and watch you at the dentist, seeing that you clearly wanted to show me how brave you are.
When I was your age, I was more afraid of new things. But you, you’re different.
You have a level of self-confidence I don’t remember having until after I survived 6th grade. In other words, I was probably about 13 before I had the chutzpah you already have.
So basically, you’re ahead of me by about 10 years.
Ideally, in theory, you could be where I am now, maturity-wise, by the time you’re 22; I’m 32 now.
That’s my goal for you, in a way. I’m doing my best to raise you to have more maturity, life skills, knowledge, charisma, and humility than I had at whatever age you are now.
So far, it’s working…
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Wednesday, June 15th, 2011
For a nostalgic guy like me, it can be very difficult to “live in the moment.” And that’s not a good thing when it comes to being present in body, mind, and spirit as a husband and father. Not to mention, it’s sort of impossible for me to stop thinking about how I will provide for my wife and son.
In 1996, while most other 15 year-olds were listening to cool alternative grunge bands like The Smashing Pumpkins, Bush, and Stone Temple Pilots, I additionally had something they didn’t have: a cassette tape of the first album by The O.C. Supertones.
You’re probably familiar with hearing someone say “I grew up really Jewish… bar mitzvah, the whole deal….” Even if it was simply Seth Rogen on Conan who said it, you understand the concept of “growing up really Jewish.”
Well, I “grew up really Christian.” I learned to play the guitar in Junior High because I led the music for my church’s youth group on Wednesday and Sunday nights. Every summer I went on a mission trip to a different state or country, doing repairs on widow’s homes during the day, then participating in drama and singing performances at city parks in the afternoons. (Yes, I had a trendy W.W. J. D? bracelet.)
And while DC Talk was the coolest Christian rock band back in the those days, I also was a huge grassroots promoter of The O.C. Supertones- the main Gospel ska band of the ’90′s.
Last week as I felt like listening to nothing but all of their albums back-to-back, a line from their song “Unknown” stood out to me. I have been listening to that song for 15 years but it finally made sense to me at a time when I needed to hear it most:
“Killing ourselves faster than fast; living in the future, living in the past.” I haven’t been able to shake the thought of how constantly I do just that: I participate in the self-destructive behavior of either A) dwelling on how I should have/could have/would have done things differently in my past, if I was able or B) dwelling on how much better life will be a decade from now when my problems will hopefully have worked themselves out.
I realize that with all the positive vibes I constantly send out in my daily writings here on The Dadabase, I may sometimes make my version of being a dad and husband seem easier than it actually is. And perhaps it seems that Jack never causes any stress for my wife or I. But despite my optimism and quirkiness, my life is as normal as they come. I encounter the same basic stresses as all other dads and husbands.
Admittedly, I question some of my past decisions and actions. And I seriously wonder about my future; financially.
Since moving from our secure jobs in Nashville before Jack arrived, we now live on a much smaller single income, with a kid. Yeah, the thought of money stresses me out big time. Living here in Alabama now, I can’t provide for them the same way I used to. Money sure isn’t everything, but Nashville’s good economy definitely eased things in my mind.
As I am wired to do, I ultimately feel responsible for providing for my family. So I question the version of myself who a few years ago led me to make the decisions to get me here today. And I often fantasize about a future time when I won’t feel the stress that I am feeling now.
Of course, my making a habit of mentally time traveling is not a good thing. Because if I keep going back far enough, I may fantasize about a time when I had no real responsibilities and no family of my own. And it is nothing but counter-productive and selfish to subconsciously covet the 21 year old college version of myself who made money by selling egg rolls and Hot Pockets from the mini-fridge in my college dorm.
The weight of my responsibilities is constantly on my mind. Will I be able to care for my family? Am I good enough for them? Should I have gotten something other than an English degree a decade ago in college, so I could be assured I’d make enough money to be the breadwinner at age 30?
This is an honest, vulnerable look into a guy’s brain. I’m never unaware of my need to provide. Never.
Other men have greater or less financial concerns and decisions to make. But still, as men, we are perpetually terrified of the realistic demon who reminds us that nothing we can do is ever enough.
It’s a matter of reminding myself that that even the ravens, who don’t even sow or reap, who don’t have storerooms or barns, are still fed. And I am much more valuable than a bird.
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1996, Alabama, anxiety, baby, bar mitzvah, Bush, Christian, Christianity, Conan, dad, fatherhood, financial, Jewish, Nashville, Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Temple Pilots, The Supertones | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Home Life, Must Read, Nostalgia, Spirituality, Storytelling