I believe in America.
Tag Archives: Father
“I can’t believe how fast you’re growing up.”
You must be sick of me – and lots of other people – saying that. I get that. You are simply living your life, moving on down the road of your journey. I’m sure that your perception of the passage of time is very different than mine and very different from that of Papa or Ya-ya.
For me, though, I will never forget the moment I learned that you had been born healthy and that I was now responsible to help raise a new child in the world. As amazing as that day was, it was dwarfed the instant I first held you a few weeks later. You are my firstborn child, trueborn, and you changed everything for me.
Over the last 2 1/2 years, I’ve written about my youngest son, the Goon, and his perspective on the world. His preferences and choices tend to challenge some gender roles. As his father, there have been moments that were heartbreaking along the way.
Our journey watching his unique choices began when, as a 3 year old, he picked out his own footwear for the first time. His choice? A pair of purple and silver Dora the Explorer sneakers. I wrote about the separate-but-similar reactions that The Queen and I had at the time. We wrestled with the opposing instincts to support him in expressing himself while still concerned for the social conflict we were sure he’d face. Society does not allow one to challenge its mores without consequence.
My boys are pretty lucky. They, unlike most American families, live in an extended family home. We just barely qualify for that classification as my father lives with us. And my boys love it.
My father ended up with us through a particular set of circumstances that found him living a bachelor life as a man in his early 60’s. When we were looking to buy a bigger house 4 years ago, we decided to look for something with room for Papa. My wife and her close friend, our realtor, found our current home. The house was big enough for our growing family (my wife was pregnant with the Goon at the time) and the basement was 90% finished with a space that would be perfect for my father. So it was that Papatown was founded.
My boy likes dolls.
This warrants some kind of intro. If you’ve read some of my other posts, you may know that I’m a dad with 3 boys- ages 13, 5, and 3. I’m very close to my dad. He is definitely a standard against which I measure myself as a man, a husband, and a father. I’ve had some missteps and false starts but the one consistent driver in my life has been this- “I want to be a good dad.” This is something that matters to me.
I love all 3 of my boys- nothing special there. That [should be] the basic expectation for any dad- love your kids. That is an important motivator for me. I make the best decision that I can then worry whether it’s good enough.