Being a dad carries it’s joy, that’s no doubt. If we’re honest, it also carries its weight in fear, and anger, and grief, and…
Through my 44 years of living, I’ve found that when things are done with the support of others, those things appear to be a bit lighter – a bit easier – downright doable. That’s the biggest reason for me deciding to start this conversation.
I’m a father of a now 4 1/2 year old son. For those of you familiar with this age, you understand why I mention the 1/2. He requires it. Each and every time someone asks how old he is, if I replied with ‘he’s 4′, I’m quickly followed by an ‘I’m 4 1/2 daddy.’ And so it is.
He’s our only son and our first son. I started fatherhood later in life (I’m 44 now). That comes with both its benefits and its burdens. One benefit that many believe about being a father later in life is that we’re somehow wiser. Although that may be true about specific areas of life – like not partying with my old buddies till 2:00 in the morning – it’s not necessarily true for parenting. I’ve never done it before. I have no experience. As a good friend of mine says ‘This is my only data point’. Having the experience I carry for living the life I lived, however, does comes in quite handy when I need it.
One of the burdens I find in parenting is energy, or should I say, limited energy. It seemed when I was in my twenties and most of my thirties, I carried an inexhaustible amount of the stuff. These days, especially after being a father, I’ve learned that those days are gone – long gone. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not shuffling around like a lifeless character on ‘night of the living dead’, it’s simply that at the end of the day I’m wiped and I mean wiped – like fall-down-on-the-bed-like-Tyson-just-kicked-my-ass wiped.
Regardless, I love being a dad. I cannot state that enough. Love, love, love being a dad. Watching this little boy grow up. Seeing him develop his sense of personality and start learning his way through life gives me such joy it’s really immeasurable.
On a personal level, I’ve been doing self-help work for over 20 years (self-help, now that’s an oxymoron). I stand as a man of courage, honor, love, integrity and wisdom. I say this, not to toot any horns, only to acknowledge the work I’ve put into becoming the man I am today. The man my son will look to – will learn from – will one day want to become. As much as we don’t like it (or, at least I don’t like it), it’s true. Our sons look to us as their guides and it’s our responsibility to show them the best way we can. Doing it alone sucks and is really quite difficult. It’s a belief given to us by previous generations and it doesn’t have to be. We can do it together. We owe it to ourselves to be awesome.