I feel like I have lots of mileage for a dude who just wrote how he’s halfway there.
If stop-and-go city driving miles push a car to the auto salvage yard quicker than country miles, maybe parenthood miles push a dad to pasture quicker than childless men’s miles. I’d so much rather take on the wear and tear than not to take this path, though.
Rather than a car, I am, as a dad, more like a skillet with age.
The seasonings of use and heat and duress enhance it for the next meal. I’m better off for that. I can look back at the men I meant to be for my girls that have fallen off along the way like pine needles on a Christmas tree when you strap it to the roof of your car with the tip pointing forward, not the trunk.
Trust me on this one.
Here are five worthy men I could have been, but haven’t, in 19 years of fatherhood. It’s too late for most of them. These images crumbled like a baggie of Goldfish crackers dumped on the floorboard of the backseat of my car (geez, the metaphors today!)
The patient dad
I meditate. My blood pressure’s good. I wait in traffic without the use of my middle finger. These things are quiet. What the kids will remember is the day I made waffles for dinner and cursed under my breath and slammed kitchen drawers!
They see some fire, sometimes. Maybe that’s not bad.
The sage dad
He’s the dude with a saying for every situation. He got them from his papa. My papa didn’t have sayings. He did teach me to throw a spiral and took me fishing. When you’re throwing spirals and fishing, there’s not a lot of need for sayings.
I hope my girls feel this way when we’re throwing spirals and fishing.
The ultimate cook dad
I love to cook, but I am like the student who graduates last in medical school. Still a doctor, but if you need Lasik surgery, you might want a guy who went to class more often, right? What I make works for dinner 9 times out of 10.
What I make won’t grace the pages of Better Homes & Gardens 9 times out of 10.
The dad who wouldn’t wear white socks and black slip-on shoes in public
No one ever said, Man, those girls’ dad has style! I tried to keep it reasonable. It’s easier in winter when I can tie on a tie and cover myself with a pullover and even put goop in my hair and shave. In summer, I dress like a 10-year-old boy. Who wears grandpa’s footwear.
The dad I am
I might sometimes lose my temper at dumb things like cracked cellphone screens and forgetting to pack underwear for a trip. But I also don’t mind driving all the way to Swannanoa to bring my girl home.
I might sometimes not have the answers to life’s problems, but I’ll get right alongside you and try and figure it out together.
I might not know when to start the green beans when I’m making spaghetti, but I’ll tackle any recipe – even ones that ask me to separate eggs – if I think you’ll find it tasty.
I might not always dress like Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes, but … oh hell, girls, who am I kidding? Yes, I will. You know that.
But with comfy shoes and a few snacks, imagine the places we still can go.
The rest of the A to Z to this point:
A is for Addiction to Devices
B is for Burgers (3 Lessons I learned During a Month Without Them) Plus 3 Random Smartphone Pics
C is for Interview with a Cat
D is for Do What I Do and Eat What I Eat
E is for Eight Things I’ve Left Behind
F is for Foods That Bring Me Comfort
G is for #GirlsRock: An Interview Mental Health Care Advocate Kitt O’Malley
H is for Halfway There
I is for Ice Cream
J is for Justification for the Blog Life
K is for 7 Women I’d Sing Karaoke With
L is for Last 3 Blogs I Read (and Why You Should, Too)
It looks like you’re doing just fine Eli. It’s hard parenting. My life sounds much like this as well of course only on the mom side. Sensible shoes are a must! 😉
Thanks, Jaime parenthood is a game with no score, but you keep on playing! You’re my balance in the universe, perhaps. Life is tough when your shoes hurt your feet.
Hi Eli – exactly looks like life is unique to you … you’re the special Dad – they’ll remember the good times and the fun times … that’s what counts … you’re just an older version of them – with some daughterly ideas thrown in … and as Jaime says … sensible shoes are a must … cheers Hilary
And older version of them, with daughterly ideas thrown in. I really love that, Hilary.
My shoes are so comfy.
Nice post. Sounds like you are doing a great job and giving the kids fun memories. What fun would reminiscing later be if nothing ever went wrong?
Emily | My Life In Ecuador | Monkey on my head
Sounds like you’re the “wise dad” who knows what is and isn’t important in life! 😀
Thanks, Addison – I’ve learned over the years to worry less about what I can’t give my girls, and to be grateful for what I can.
You have been the exact man and father they’ve needed. Don’t ever doubt that.
Thanks, Mimi. I do my best every day, and try to do better tomorrow.
You’re one cool dad, Eli! ヾ(◍’౪`◍)ﾉﾞ
it’s all about the comfy shoes and snacks, the rest is optional )
Parenthood can teach us all kinds of things. None of us are perfect but some strive harder than others. You sound like a pretty good dad. 😉
Fatherhood changes us and we are often times not the kind of dad we though we’d be. Most times we are better version of ourselves and what we expected pre-fatherhood.
The Denver Broncos used to script their first 20 plays of a game. How things went based on that group of plays would dictate the direction they went the rest of the way.
Maybe it’s like that for dads. We can go in with a set of expectations, but until we’re changing diapers and buying Goldfish Crackers and signing them up for soccer, we really don’t know what’s next!
Here is to all those men you are.
Here here. Thank you.