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Tuesday, June 10th, 2014
3 years, 6 months.
For me, this was a weird day. I had to leave early this morning for a business trip in Kentucky.
So instead of taking you to and from school, I was across the state line. By the time I got home, you were already asleep.
My only interaction with you was saying goodbye to you at the front door.
While that may not seem like such a big deal, it is for me.
Today just felt wrong without you.
I feel kind of sad. I feel kind of wrong. I mean, I had to go for work- so I did what I was supposed to.
And I know I’ll see you in a few hours when we both wake up. But seriously, not seeing you for a day is just plain odd.
My day went great. It was very productive. I got a whole lot done. But I was aware the whole time that something was missing- it was you.
Since you’re only 3 and a half and are obviously way too young for a cell phone, it’s not like I could text you to say I miss you or even call you to a donkey noise to make you laugh.
So I settled for Mommy promising me that she would tell you good night from me as she put you to bed.
It only makes sense that if research shows that kids make men happy, as the infographic below explains, that I would be less happy when I’m not around you for a day.
I believe it. I have been psychologically conditioned to associate feeling happy and fulfilled with having interaction with you.
Without that, I’m like an actor on stage who suddenly forgot his lines. I’m staring into the blinding spotlight, trying to find you in the audience.
Infographic courtesy of Happify:
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Thursday, June 5th, 2014
3 years, 6 months.
I have learned that there are certain things that are just so much better once a child is introduced to the equation.
Swimming would be a great example. The only times I’ve bothered stepping into a swimming pool in the past 3 and a half years has been because of you.
Having a child has also introduced me to new experiences that I might not have otherwise been exposed to.
When I was invited to attend the Wizard World Atlanta Comic Con, to my surprise, Mommy said she wanted to go too, and of course, we brought you along as well.
Turns out, it was a really good idea to take a 3 and a half year-old little boy who loves Spiderman and Captain America to a place where there would be a lot of people, many of them who were dressed up as Spiderman and Captain America.
So we loaded up the Prius and took the fun drive from Nashville to Atlanta. When you’re in the presence of so many adults dressed in impressive costumes of comic book characters, it’s only natural to want to get your picture made with them.
In fact, I got the feeling that’s part of the culture at Wizard World Comic Atlanta Con: It’s as if there is an unspoken contest going on the whole time in which those who show up in costume are seeing who can get the most “uncostumed” people to ask to get their picture made with him.
And of course, we helped many costumed attendees gain points from us.
In addition to the array of Captain Americas and Spidermen, we also saw many scary looking villains and zombies. The funny thing is, they were some of the friendliest to speak with.
You just went along with it, no matter how scary or creepy; Mommy and I explained to you beforehand that the Wizard World Atlanta Comic Con was kind of like Halloween.
Our road trip proved that Atlanta is a very friendly and fun place to visit, and this was easy evidence of that.
In fact, Mommy suggested that we go to the Wizard World Comic Con when it comes here to Nashville in September.
Only, we wouldn’t be going as spectators… we’d be going as a family dressed up as comic book characters.
I think Halloween might come early this year for us…
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Batman, Captain American, Comic Con, dad, daddy blog, parenting, parents, Spiderman, Walking Dead, Wizard World, Wizard World Comic Con | Categories:
Sunday, May 18th, 2014
3 years, 6 months.
Last Thursday when you and I got home from school and work, I found a package on our doormat. This was odd, because aside from holidays, I never receive mail directed to me alone.
I’m okay with that, but it did surprise me. Turns out, it was a copy of the book Lessons For Joey: 100 Things I Can’t Wait To Teach My Son.
A couple of months ago, the author, RJ Licata, had asked me to write a little blurb about it to be featured on the back cover.
After creating the successful daddy blog “100 Things To Teach My Son” a while back, he recently published a book based on it.
Here’s what I said about his book:
“I think one of the most masculine things a father can do for his son is to communicate with him clearly and regularly; from the day to day to the big picture stuff. Therefore, it has been easy for me to be a fan of RJ Licata’s blog–and now his book. A good father is a good mentor. That’s why this book is special. It’s a glimpse of what hands on fatherhood looks like, fleshed out in the form of 100 lessons.”
I easily celebrate any fellow dad who publically and positively portrays fatherhood. Something I’ve learned in the 4 years of writing about you/to you is that I care less now about how the media so obviously makes dads out to be idiots.
These days, my focus is on spotlighting any entity that shares my passion of reinforcing the positive examples of fatherhood.
That’s why I mentioned him a year ago in my letter, Dads Like To Teach Life Lessons To Their Kids.
For example, I was pleasantly surprised to see the healthy relationship between the father and son the movie, About Time, that I recently wrote to you about.
It’s subtle, but it’s a big deal to me.
I read a fantastic article recently, called “Why Fatherhood Matters,” by Stephen Marche, which proclaims that fatherhood has never mattered more, as the definition of masculinity has evolved through generations:
“Only fatherhood is indisputably masculine, which is why when you ask men when they became men, they usually answer when they became a father or lost a father.”
He goes on to declare fatherhood as a marker of class.
The way I feel, this is one of the most important times to be a dad. And let’s face it… it’s also one of the coolest times to be a dad.
Fatherhood is masculine.
I just don’t see how a man can be more manly that being a good father- and by “good father,” a huge part of that is how well he communicates with his child.
To me, that is perhaps the most important aspect of being a father.
So while I could easily go on all day about all the times I’ve missed the mark in life, I can at least feel positive that I’m doing one thing right:
Communicating with you.
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Saturday, May 3rd, 2014
3 years, 5 months.
There are some questions, as your dad, I can just not be prepared for.
On the way home from school last week, you asked a very logical question:
“Daddy, how do you grow up?”
While you’re still fuzzy on my actual age (you think I’m 4 years old), you do understand that eventually, you’ll grow up to be as tall as I am.
So I answered your question the way any dad would in that situation:
“Well, you just have to keep going to sleep every night… and each morning when you wake up, you’ll be just a little bit bigger.”
What’s interesting about the timing of your question is that we just happened to be driving one of the smallest cars on the road:
I was doing a review of the 2014 Fiat 500 at the time.
Maybe that’s what made you think of it; you were feeling so big in such a small car.
The questions have continued since then.
A few days later as I was helping you put on your shoes before we left for school, you asked, “Daddy, will these shoes get bigger when I grow up?”
I can see you’re definitely fascinated by the process of physically growing bigger. In hindsight, I really don’t know that I could have answered your original question any better than I did.
Without getting all scientific, I think it really is that simple.
You go to sleep, you wake up, you’re a little bit bigger the next day.
I’m assuming my answer was best suited for a 3 year-old little boy like yourself.
Since then, I’ve heard you proudly explain to Mommy that the more you go to sleep at night, the sooner you’ll grow up.
It may be a coincidence, but I feel like here recently, you’ve put up less of a fight when it’s time for a nap or bedtime.
Hmm… I wonder why.
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Thursday, May 1st, 2014
3 years, 5 months.
When I was growing up, I never minded the small town I grew up in. It was all I knew.
Life was good, easy, and comfortable. My parents did everything right.
But around the time I starting driving, I became more curious about life outside of the shared corner of Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia.
The summer before my senior year, I travelled to Ecuador. Then after I graduated high school, I went to college in Florida and Virginia; both of which took way more than 8 hours to travel to and from the house I grew up in.
I spent two of the summers in college overseas in Bangkok, Thailand; teaching English. I briefly did the same in South Korea, as well.
For a guy who sure was comfortable being raised in a small town, it was my instinct to want to go explore the world outside of safety and comfort.
I think you will be the same way. I think you will end up being an explorer of the world; at least the world outside the town you are growing up in.
Aside from that, though- after Mommy and I have “raised you,” you will leave us and start your own life. You will have the desire to become who you were to intended to be, apart from us.
I am preparing myself now for the day you will move away and figure things out on your own, like I had to do.
The way I see it, when a father does a good job of raising his son, he is rewarded by seeing his son move on to start his own life, and eventually start his own family. It seems that’s one of the ultimate rewards of being a father… as much of a paradox as that may sound.
Mommy is the nurturer, I am the mentor, and you’re the kid. Together, I know that the three of us will always have a close love for each other; but I get it that you will, in essence, need to “start over” and do this thing yourself.
Right now, these are the years when the rewards of fatherhood include cuddling with you, wrestling you, having you ask me to sing you bedtime songs, taking you to the zoo and the monster truck show… so many things each day that mean the world to me.
The undeniable irony here is that for the next 15 years or so, I will ultimately be revolving my life around you so that you can become independent enough to live your life without me being right there. I guess that’s sort of an obvious element of being a dad, but I’m thinking about it more here lately.
I don’t take for granted you are growing up so fast. After all, one day, that might actually be a real mustache on your face!
P.S. The top picture is an entry we submitted for a “selfie photo contest” for Joe Hendricks Photography!
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