Ten From Twenty
Ten Great Moments In My Fatherhood(ness)
I have been a dad now for 20 years and it has been nothing short of the best period of my life. My kids are my pride and joy, as most parents would say, and I cannot imagine my life without them. It's impossible to recount all the moments of joy and happiness from those twenty years, but in the spirit of Father's Day, I thought I'd recount ten of the more memorable moments. So, in no particular order, here are ten things that remind me how much I love being a dad.
- Driving home from Sarah's birth. Sarah was born on the leading edge of a 9 inch snowfall that fell progressively through the afternoon and evening. I drove home that evening around ten o'clock and about three miles from home I had to pull over because I was crying so hard. This coming from an emotional flat-liner. What was happening? I wondered. I was overcome with the joy of having someone new in my life. She was perfect!
- Fear of the unknown at Ben's birth. Ben was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. When he came out, his pulse was low and they took him away and immediately put him in the neo-natal ICU. They assured us it was precautionary, but we were scared to death. It turned out okay, but for some anxious moments there we weren't sure we were blessed with a son at all. It was a strange feeling having your baby taken away from you. It made the reunion that much happier an hour later when we got to see him again. He was perfect!
- Falling asleep in a chair with one of them on my chest. Parenting is exhausting, and you need to nap when they nap - as everyone tells you. There is nothing quite as calming as a baby's heart beating on top of your own.
- Watching them learn to walk. Sarah was slow to talk, fast to walk. Ben was slow to walk, fast to talk. I can remember one day Sarah stood up from an cross-legged sitting position and just kind of stood there amazed. Walking came shortly thereafter.
- The first day of Kindergarten for both of them. Yep, there were tears again. Not sure why. I just know I couldn't stop them. It was a bit of a relief to get them into school - it made things a little easier - but it also meant they were growing up FAST.
- Mom-less nights. Donna was deep into the Pampered Chef sales during our kids' early years. This meant a couple nights a week she'd be away at night doing shows. Left to kid duty, I was in charge of dinner, diapers, entertainment and bedtime. I LOVED IT. As a homebody, I kind of liked this chance to stay home all night and hang with my kids. We danced, we wrestled, we read books, played games and laughed. They were the best nights.
- Music recital. I went to a couple of Sarah's violin recitals and while most of the notes were mangled and screechy, they came together to make a song, which is way better than I could ever manage. I was so proud and it was my hope that she'd continue to play into adulthood. She dropped it after a few years, as most kids do. But those moments linger.
- Sports moments. Ben was always the athlete of the two. In his youth he's played Soccer, T-Ball, Flag football, Basketball, and most recently Swimming. While we showed up for every game, nothing made me prouder than to see him take on swimming as a Junior in High School and totally buy into it. He struggled a little early, but never lost faith in himself. By the end of the year he had shaved significant time off his personal best. "That's my boy out there!"
- Nights around the dinner table. Man, no one appreciates these moments more than Donna and I right now. We had another one tonight, over pizza. We laughed so hard about the stupidest things - things we wouldn't have if he'd gone out with his friends or if we'd eaten in shifts, like we do sometimes. Dinners with 4 are the best dinners.
- Watching them. As they progress into adulthood it is fun to see how they interact with other adults. So much of life is dependent on good social skills, and our kids seem to have a good feel for how to do it.
The old saying is that no one gives you a manual on how to raise kids, and that's for sure. So most of us try and figure it out on our own. We read books, we listen to advice, we watch how others parent, but when it comes down to it, we make it up as we go. That has been the most hair raising part of it all. Are we doing it right? Is this the right discipline for the offense? What would Mom have done?
But in the end our kids came out okay. And that is attributable in part to my Mom and Donna's parents who raised us right. That and a whole lot of prayer.