Posts Tagged ‘ Nostalgia ’

Man, I Really Used To Be A Cornball (And Still Might Be!)

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

It was three years ago today that with great excitment, I saw my WordPress daddy blog, Dad From Day One, get rebooted  and placed on a much broader stage, as The Dadabase on Parents.com.

Just for fun, I decided to go back and read the very first official Dadabase post, entitled, “Welcome To The Dadabase.”

Yeah, about that…

I do think I made some good points in that post, as I made it clear men think differently than women and that one of my objectives was to positively rebrand fatherhood despite all the classic sitcom cliches of idiot dads and husbands.

However, I feel like I was pretty cheesy about it:

I am a guy, so I don’t do “cute.”  I do practical. With the name of this daddy blog, I wanted to allude to the idea that a man’s perspective of parenting is a bit offbeat when compared to the more easily recognizable viewpoint of the beautiful and poetic female mind.  So for you moms out there who wonder what your hubby is really thinking about this whole dad thing, I might be able to shed some light on the subject.  Granted, I’m not claiming to represent all or even most husbands and fathers, but I’m sure I will often hit close to “the dadabase.”

Wow. I must have really thought I was clever or something. Of course, that was back when you were only 6 months old and I was still writing to a social media audience, instead of you directly. That narrative change didn’t occur until your 2nd birthday, which I definitely think improved my writing style as a daddy blogger.

For me, it’s so much more natural and real to write about parenting when it’s to the very kid who is the reason I am a parent; if that makes sense.

I also had to laugh when I read my unofficial disclaimer from my first Dadabase post:

Sometimes, you will totally agree with my opinions and my take on fatherhood- you will appreciate what I have served up that morning for “blogfast” (note to self: copyright the destined-to-be-trendy word, “blogfast”) and you will “like” it on Facebook, and/or Tweet it.  Other times, you may feel I am so quirky that I’m kooky; disagreeing with my “wrong opinion” so much that you throw your shoe at your computer screen.  In either case, I’m still the same guy you either liked or didn’t like the day before.

But here’s the thing. While I see the 2011 version of myself as a bit of a cornball, I am very mindful of the fact that there’s a very decent chance that 3 years from now, I’ll be saying the same thing about the 2014 version of me.

Let’s find out.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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Boys Grow Up To Become Men Who Move Away

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

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!

 

Love,

Daddy

 

P.S. The top picture is an entry we submitted for a “selfie photo contest” for Joe Hendricks Photography!

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My Kid’s First True Need For Band-Aids

Monday, April 14th, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

While you’ve been enjoying the splendor of Band-Aids for quite a while now, or as you refer to them, “tattoos,” it wasn’t truly until this past weekend that you really needed them.

Saturday morning we were helping our next door neighbor Rachel move her elliptical to the other side of the neighborhood, where the community yard sale was going on.

(Fortunately, the thing had wheels on the bottom.)

On the walk back to our house, you were running ahead of me on the sidewalk, in flip-flops.

Granted, I did indeed yell out to you, “Jack, slow down! Let me catch up to you.”

It was precisely 5 seconds later that you fell down, scraping your elbows and knees.

There really wasn’t much blood at all, but it was enough to scare you.

After all, you’ve never really fallen down and gotten hurt before. And that’s pretty amazing, actually!

I can’t believe that you made it until nearly age 3 and a half before your first real accidental injury. Had you not been wearing flip-flops, I doubt it would have even happened.

You’re a boy. You’re supposed to get cut up and bruised on a fairly regular basis, right? That’s how I remember it, first hand in the 1980s.

I find it interesting that you typically remain so unscathed…

Makes me wonder if there’s any way I’m a helicopter parent who is in denial? I try to give you all the practical freedom that a modern day American dad can give his son.

Or maybe you’re just now getting to the age where you can really start getting into trouble?

While I hate to see you get hurt, there is definitely a part of me that is proud to see you growing up, like a little boy should- with scraped elbows and knees.

And well-earned Mater Band-Aids.

 

Love,

Daddy

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The Joy Of Wandering Around Aimlessly As A Kid

Friday, March 14th, 2014

3 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

This week I happened to read a really cool article that is going viral right now, called “Things I Did As A Kid (But My Kids Won’t)“,  by Amber Dusick.

She explains how parents born in the 1980s, such as myself, were basically the last generation of children to enjoy no seat belts, no helmets, no childproofing, flying attempts, (certain) playground equipment, sledding, and freedom.

What I see that all 7 of the things have in common is that they all are related to safety.

In other words, if I raised you by the same standards of safety that were okay in 198os in the mountains of Alabama when and where I grew up, I would be considered (by some, at least) as a bad parent.

That sounds weird to say because in no way is it to discredit the parents who raised Generation Y; it’s just that things are a lot different now.

Out of the 7 things that Amber Dusick describes in her article, the one that jumps out to me as the most valuable is… freedom:

“Perhaps the most striking contrast is the freedom I remember having. I’d eat breakfast and then leave.

I’d wander around. Aimlessly. Sometimes with neighborhood kids and sometimes alone. I’d cross our creek with homemade bridges. And catch turtles without ever hearing of the word Salmonella.

I’d put roller skates on and skate down sidewalks. And stop myself by crashing into a bush, just before the street.

I never stopped to eat lunch. Because I remember being out all day long. Only to be called in for dinner when it was getting dark.

My kids? Yeah, right. At least not until they are older. Like thirty.”

During my own childhood, I had the privilege of riding my bike, as well as my moped, through nearby neighborhoods. I explored the woods with my friends. I went around shooting my BB gun at power poles and metal fences.

I totally know what the author means when she refers to wandering around aimlessly as a kid. I loved doing that!

Almost seems almost like taboo now.

I want you to be able to have the kind of adventurous boyhood I had, and you will, just in a different format… somehow.

We’ll have to make a few changes, but we’ll find a way to make it work.

Even then, it’s hard to imagine you ever wandering around in the woods like I did. Double standard, I know.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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And Now Your Best Friend Is Moving Away…

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

For the past two weekends, we have spent time with Sophie and her parents…

Because, you see, well… Sophie’s moving from Nashville to Alabama in a couple of weeks.

I haven’t necessarily broke the news to you yet.

At least the good part is that where Sophie is moving is only about 2 and a half hours from where Nana and Papa’s house is, which is the halfway point between where we live and where Sophie is moving.

So this is not goodbye…

However, it is definitely a major milestone in your life so far. You and Sophie have known each other since July 2011, when Mommy and I enrolled you at the daycare that you both have remained for the past 2 and a half years.

For the majority of your life, Sophie has been a major part of it. Actually, if I cared enough to do the math, you might even spend more waking hours with her than you do Mommy and I each week.

Yesterday as you and Sophie had an ongoing 1970′s car chase/demolition derby at the indoor playground, her mommy and I talked about the move.

We mutually acknowledged the fact that there’s a good chance you and Sophie won’t actually remember all these fun times you’ve had together.

For the majority of your life, you’ve spent countless hours with someone who has been like a twin sister to you.

But will all this time simply be memories for the parents, more so than the kids?

Here’s how I look at it- this is what I told Sophie’s mommy:

Based on what I learned in Child Psychology in college, the first couple of years of a child’s life are arguably the most important for his or her development and future decisions for the rest of his or her life.

So even if these stories I have written about you and Sophie are, at best, foggy memories to you when I go back a year from now and show you these pictures, I’ll still know that Sophie Culpepper had a lot to do with your understanding of what a true friend really is.

It will be her picture in the dictionary, next to the definition of friend.

I will close by providing links for a dozen of the stories I have written about you two over these past couple of years…

Jack And Sophie: Baby Buddies In Crime (November 17, 2011)

The Toddlers’ Beat Poet Society Of Nashville (June 4th, 2012)

Mall Toddlers: My Idea For A Straight-To-DVD Kids Movie (September 17, 2012)

My Toddler Son, The Pony Whisperer/Natural Laxative (October 11, 2012)

Free Craft Activity For Kids: Home Depot’s Little Helper Headquarters (December 5, 2012)

Forcing Your Kid To Apologize And Hug The Other Kid (February 1, 2013)

My Son’s Alter Ego Is A Schlubby Dinosaur (April 29, 2013)

Still, Though, I Think I’d Be Happy With Just One Kid… (July 4, 2013)

A Southern Fried, Sunday Afternoon Play Date (August 6, 2013)

Finding Non-Petroleum, “Bug Juice” Free Cupcakes (November 15, 2013)

A Purposely Low Key 3rd Birthday Party (November 17, 2013)

It’s A Boy’s Boy’s Boy’s World (December 17, 2013)

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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