Posts Tagged ‘
Deep Thoughts ’
Saturday, January 26th, 2013
2 years, 2 months.
Last week when I wrote “Dads Are Happier Than Moms and Singles, Says Psychological Science,” I received an intuitive comment that really helped me understand myself better:
“I am a mom who, much like you, just knew I’d be a [parent] but never dreamed of it my whole life, or knew what to expect at all. I assumed that when I had my child I’d keep working and be happy with him in daycare, because that’s what my parents did with me. I couldn’t have been more wrong — about my happiness/satisfaction with this scenario.
We can’t afford for me to stop working, but all I want to do is be with my son. It is the most horrible feeling in the world. Guilt, feeling like I’m missing out, and most of all: the inherent instinct, dare I say biological need, to be with my infant child, makes me INCREDIBLY sad to have to sit at my desk all day. I know not all mothers feel this way, but this is why I am less happy than my husband — who has no problem at all working full time.”
The main takeaway from this comment for me personally is that, as a mom, she feels guilty about having to work full time and be away from her child; meanwhile, her husband has no problem with that issue.
Good point. Not only does it appear to be the norm for most women to yearn to become mothers, therefore causing my familiarity with the phrase, “All I ever wanted was to be a mother,” but it seems just as predictable that men experience much less guilt about working all day, away from their child.
I’ll speak for myself here, as a dad. Do I feel guilty about you being in daycare all day while I’m literally a quarter of a mile down the road, working in the office?
To be vulnerably honest… never.
If the question is whether or not I miss you everyday while I’m away from you, the answer is absolutely yes!
Inconveniently, your 2 hour nap occurs during the middle of my lunch break; otherwise, I’d spend that extra hour with you.
Like most dads, I am wired with the subconscious yet undeniable desire (and biological need?) to provide for you and Mommy. So to be honest, the thought of feeling guilty about you being in daycare while I’m at work… well, it’s pretty much the opposite of how my mind works.
Instead, I would feel guilty if I couldn’t be working all day while you’re in daycare. In an ideal world, Mommy could stay home with you, at least.
I gain a lot of confidence and self-worth by going out and working to provide for you and Mommy five days a week. It’s like, for me to feel successful, I have to have this “other life” away from you to earn the right to the version of life I share with you and Mommy.
So, no; like most men I know, I never thought or said out loud, “All I ever wanted was to be a dad.”
Instead, this was my version:
“All I ever wanted was to make a good and respectable living for the family that I always knew I would have one day.”
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Sunday, January 13th, 2013
2 years, 1 month.
Sometimes I feel like I’m a little too young to be your dad; yet I’m 31.
When I was a kid, I always thought my parents were old; not in a bad way, just that they seemed like they really had a lot of life experience.
The funny thing is, when I was your age in 1983, my dad was 26 and my mom was 25.
Your Mommy and I didn’t even get married until I was 27 and she was 26!
An even stranger thought for me is that when my dad was 31, like I am now, I was 6 and my sister was 3.
Needless to say, it’s a definite challenge for me to imagine having two kids right now… ages 6 and 3. Again, you’re only 2 year right now.
I get it that there are plenty of parents out there my age with two kids, ages 6 and 3. But for me personally, I just can’t see myself in that position right now.
Of course, this goes back to the struggle Mommy and I have been talking about a lot for the past several months: Will we even have a another kid?
What this shows me is that I’m not ready for you to have a brother or sister right now. I’m just not.
Whether it means I’m selfish or not mature enough or whatever it needs to mean… it’s just where I’m at right now.
Maybe part of this is that I’m a Generation Y parent.
I look at my own parents, who didn’t need college degrees to get real jobs. They actually built their first house when they were in their very early 20′s; whereas Mommy and I live in a townhouse.
In general, my parents just never seemed to worry about the future the way I often do. They managed and survived and it never seemed like a struggle for them.
Well, I suppose you will think that Mommy and I are “old” too. We’re not, though. We’re only 29 years older than you.
While to you we may seem like we’re really in control of things, the truth is we’re just now figuring things out.
But with nearly 3 decades of life experience more than you, I can see how we make it look like we actually know what what we’re doing.
I have a feeling it was the same way for my own parents, even if it didn’t seem that way growing up.
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Sunday, December 30th, 2012
2 years, 1 month.
Last night I saw the new “momantic comedy” The Guilt Trip starring Seth Rogen and Barbara Streisand. While I acknowledge the movie hasn’t received the best of reviews, I personally loved it all the way through and already want to see it again.
It made me think of you:
At the beginning, as well as, the end of the movie, the mother tells her son that if all the little boys in the entire world were lined up and she had to pick just one to be her son, she would pick him… every time.
That may sound like a simple and passing statement, but to me, it holds a lot of weight.
I think of this heavenly adoption room where parents go to pick out the kid they want to be their own. As I walk through the hundreds of rows of little boys, I just keep looking.
Then as I begin to experience being overstimulated by all the bright lights and unorchestrated voices, like the way I do anytime I have to go to Wal-Mart, I finally see you at the end of the row, despite squinting my eyes through the dizziness.
It’s you, Jack! It’s you!
I’d know you anywhere, even if I’d never seen or met you before. I know that barely makes much sense, but it’s true.
If all the little boys in the world were lined up, and I had to just pick only one, I’d choose you… every time.
To say you’re special to me is an understatement. Maybe the best way I can say it is that you’re… mine.
And I know you feel the same way. You tell me in the way you pat me on the back as I carry you to the car when I pick you up from daycare, proudly saying, “My daddy.”
That’s right. I am your Daddy.
While you often liberally use the word “mine” to describe so many things that definitely aren’t yours, I’ll definitely be yours.
After all, I picked you out of all the little boys in the world.
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Friday, December 14th, 2012
While I will always do my best to give you answers about life, there are certain things that just can’t be explained with a reasonable answer. Today will be most remembered as the day a gunman killed seven adults and 20 children at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
People ask, “Why did this happen?”
No one can give a reasonable explanation, because nothing about this incident was reasonable or explainable.
My attempt at an explanation is that some people in this world feel so broken, unloved, and numb that they give up on life.
The irony is, as hopeless and alone as they feel, they still don’t want to die alone.
It’s times like these that cause some people to ask, “If there is a God, why would He allow such an unthinkable event to happen?”
Others ask, “How could an event like this not cause people to turn to God, in the hope that there is a saving grace stronger than the depravity of man?”
In these moments we are forced to both contemplate and appreciate our own lives.
After all, we are the ones that still have the gift of life.
As messed up as it gets sometimes, we still share this gift. We still have the opportunity to love others as ourselves.
People who destroy the lives of others don’t, and maybe even can’t, understand this concept. I’m sure part of the reason is that they themselves weren’t shown enough love in their own life, but that doesn’t give them any excuse.
That’s why as your dad, I will always be teaching you the importance of making people feel special and included. If we all did that the best we could, maybe we could help create a butterfly effect where we passed along hope instead of despair.
I will teach you to seek out the lost, the friendless, the misunderstood, and the lonely. They need a good friend.
And I believe you will make a good one.
We can never explain events like the one that happened today. We can only do our part to quench the pattern of brokenness and fear with a pattern of love and hope.
I love you, Son. I hugged you extra close tonight. So did Mommy. We’re going to take good care of you.
Image credit: Shutterstock, Highway Gantry Sign.
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Thursday, October 25th, 2012
Very seldom do I credit the word “genius” to artists of my lifetime, because it can be a pretty cliche thing to say. People say Quentin Tarantino and Lady Gaga are geniuses. To that, I submit a circa-2010 “Meh…”.
But there is no doubt about it: Dr. Seuss, who died in 1991, when I was only 10, was definitely a genius artist.
There’s a quote which is often credit to him, though it was actually comes from p.115 of True Love: Stories Told to and by Robert Fulgham:
“We’re all a little weird, and life’s a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
That, my friends, is also genius. That is the kind of quote I am jealous of because I didn’t think of it first.
It doesn’t just apply to the person you marry. For me, it also obviously applies to the relationship between my son and me.
He’s only 23 months-old. So for anything weird he does, like his impression of a snake that involves flapping his arms like a chicken, barking like a dog, and covering his nipples, all while he tries to go potty as his Mommy and Dada watch, he has a solid excuse.
I’m 31 years old. Somehow that gives me less of an excuse to be weird.
Since he’s my son and is exposed to my weirdness on a daily basis, he gets an extra dose; on top of the God-given weirdness he already has.
Needless to say, the two of us have joined up in our mutual weirdness and call it love.
In his ever-renewing resistance to falling asleep for naps and bedtime, I have to step up my game as needed.
Recently he’s been going down less easily, so as of 3 weeks ago, I invented a technique that I, for some unknown reason, named “droning.”
Imagine what it would sound like combining the African back-up singers on Paul Simon’s acclaimed Graceland album with your token chanting monk:
On repeat for like 4 minutes.
It’s basically the human equivalent to the white noise a humidifier makes if you could turn up the volume on one.
I hum this into the side of his cheek as I hold him, then lay him down in his bed once he gets in the trance, and then I do it again for a couple more minutes to let it all really soak in.
If he isn’t deep enough in his sleep mode when I start backing out of the room while still droning, he politely calls out in the dark room:
It’s his way of saying, “Will you keep doing that weird thing that helps me fall asleep?”
I appreciate when he does that. It shows me he likes my weirdness. He asks for my weirdness.
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