There’s stuff that, as great as she is, Mommy just isn’t designed to help me talk through and understand. And vice versa, I want her to hang out with her girlfriends, without you and me around, so she can get the encouragement she needs in a way that I’ll never be able to handle.
In the movie, Big Fish, the whole plot is rooted in the fact that a grown man with a child on the way, is attempting to find out who his own father really is.
His father (subconsciously) refused to meet his son on a deep, emotional level; instead the father seemed to only tell lavished versions of stories of his own life, so the son grew up never really even know who his dad was, in a way. The son therefore couldn’t really relate to his dad.
Yes, the father had always physcially provided for his son; no question there. But the father was, in essence, emotionally absent.
I vow to you: I’m going to be here for you emotionally, not just physically.
And I think a big part of that happening means that right now, I make a proclamation to you:
You can talk to me anytime, about anything.
It’s not enough that you know that. You need to be reminded… so I will do that too.
I realize I will not always be the first fellow guy you want to talk to about certain things, but please know you can talk to me, whether it’s to have someone to listen, or somone to give you season advice, or both.
I’m here. I’m not like the dad on the movie Big Fish.
But I got addicted… and after that first time, I decided to officially change my format of writing about you, to where I write to you.
Exactly a year has passed since that night I sat at our coffee table and cried so hard, realizing my love for you.
Tonight, I’m less emotional in that sense. Instead, I’m feeling fully grounded in how I feel about you and how I understand my love for you.
Instead of a groundbreaking ephiphany, today I simply am grateful for the gift of peace of mind and heart; a gift the world can not give.
In this moment, that is my life. I think of that song, “On Top Of The World” by Imagine Dragons, to describe how I feel about you and me:
“I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
Waiting on this for a while now
Paying my dues to the dirt
I’ve been waiting to smile, ‘ay
Been holding it in for a while, ‘ay
Take you with me if I can
Been dreaming of this since a child
I’m on top of the world.”
Mommy and I do our best to make sure that the little time we have together as a family is as quality time as possible.
We recognize that even the exact events that are intended to be exciting family adventures can end up taking away from quality time instead of enhancing it.
Knowing that we’ve got a fun road trip to Louisville coming up in just two weeks, we’re trying to make sure that this weekend and next are relatively chill.
It could be easy to assume that the low key events that take place on weekends like this would be somehwhat not that exciting for you.
But I can’t be too sure…
On Monday at your school, I saw on the wall a giant list entitled “What Do We Do With Our Families?”
As usual, you had perhaps the most seemingly random answer of all for the list:
“I go to Whole Foods and go to the pool with Daddy and Mommy!”
The pool part makes sense… but Whole Foods?
I thought it might truly just be nothing more than a random answer, but this reference to Whole Foods came up on again on Friday.
Mrs. Tonya, your school’s director, was telling me how you, the assistant director, and some of your friends were sitting at a table, pretending to be riding in a car.
When Ms. Lisa, the assistant director, asked where everyone wanted to go, the answers immediately starting coming in from your friends: to the playground, to the zoo, to play with toys, etc.
Then came your answer:
“Let’s go to Whole Foods!”
I imagine it was one of those moments where it was as if music was playing, then suddendly, the DJ stopped the vinyl record and everyone froze what their were doing, in an instant state of confusion.
Even if it seems to me like certain family activities would not be fun for you, like buying groceries with Mommy and Daddy at Whole Foods, there’s still a decent chance you may identify that event as the most exciting one there is.
Recently Mommy and I started going to a new Sunday School class, which mainly consists of other parents with young kids.
One young wife, who is very pregnant with her first child, learned that I daily document my experiences of parenthood with you, here on The Dadabase.
She responded, laughing, “Oh, well I guess that means we will be coming to you for parenting advice!”
I laughed with her, but seconds later, thought to myself, “Actually, I don’t really give advice. I simply just write about each baby step as well as every major milestone that I observe as a parent. But I don’t actually give advice, day to day. Not really.”
It’s been a process, for me, though.
I remember a couple of years ago, when I talked about and endorsed the “cry it out method” on a weekly basis.
By default, the cry it out method was right for our family, but it obviously isn’t for everyone.
I think it used to sort of matter to me that in my mind, my way was right, and the other ways were wrong.
Another example was how I used to be, in essense, anti-attachment parenting.
These days, I don’t want be known for what I am against, but instead, for what I do believe in.
This moment might be me trying to process that concept.
It’s amazing how little “being right” matters to me anymore. Maybe it’s because I’ve learned that for the most part, “being right” is a relative thing.
Back in 2011, I cared more about trying to convince people of stuff.
Not anymore. These days I just narrate my life and let the free market of freethinkers take its course.
And so it shall go for all other future events in your life:
I will talk about what’s going on, covering which personal decisions and lifestyle choices I encounter as a parent, but I don’t think there is any part of me that cares about converting anybody anymore, to whatever viewpoint I have.
Yet still, I am very passionate about what I talk about; it’s just that I only really talk about what I am passionate about.
It’s actually funny to me now, considering I used to care about “being right” in parenting.
The way I see it now, is that I don’t give parenting advice, I just simply go through new phases in my life, consisting of both baby steps and major milestones. If my perspective and narration accidentally serves as advice, well… then I will consider myself accidentally honored.
Something I am really enjoying about our vacation this year is that you have older cousins here to babysit and entertain (and “dote” on) you the entire time.
Granted, that doesn’t mean I have no responsibilities. I’m still helping with meals, baths, and bedtime. But for the most part, I sort of feel like I’m actually on vacation a little bit more than usual.
You’re having plenty of fun and it’s okay that I have more of passive role this week.
“My reasons for wanting another child, when I sporadically do, are never sincere enough or truly legitimate… If we’re going to grow our family, I want it to be ‘for the right reasons,’ and I’m not even sure what they are anyway.”
So since I wasn’t sure, I asked my friends on Facebook, “What are the “right reasons” for having another child?… What are the wrong reasons?”
My friend Alissa summed it up perfectly, in my opinion: “The right reasons are if you want another child. The wrong are if other people tell you you should.”
On top of that, my friend Rhonda gave me an answer I related to 100% at this point in my life:
“Someone asked me this the other day, and when I got honest it just came down to not wanting the responsibility & stress of more children. Selfish maybe, but true. No plans right now to have any more.”
I love her simple honesty.
It’s true for me, personally. Because it’s not that I can’t handle the responsibility and stress of a child. Instead, I am saying that the responsibility and stress of another child, in addition to one already, is enough of a reason to justify not having another child.
Others may disagree, but I don’t see anything selfish about admitting that.
I don’t see it as selfish for me to feel, think, and say out loud that you make our family complete and that if it’s up to me, at this point, I would choose not to take on more responsibility and stress like that. Again, that could change.
Like clockwork, Mommy could find out we’re having another baby around your 4th birthday. That seems to be the ironic plot line for families of three who plan to remain families of three, at least.