That’s it! I just mailed in my resignation letter. We are packing our bags and heading to an island paradise where I plan to sit all day beach side catching rays, watching my wife and son play with a beach ball in the distance on pristine white sand as I soak in the breeze and take a sip of my cocktail while I tap away my next blog post. Life is good. It really is, until I wake up to the sounds of a wailing and screaming kiddo and I realize I am back to reality. Just when I can gather myself, I get a shuddering kick to my chin for added effect. That’s how my son wishes me good morning. Way to go son! way to put things in perspective. And that my friends is parenthood. You take it on the chin first thing in the morning with a smile, strap your shoes on and head to work so you can put food on the table, pay the bills and then maybe pay some more bills. But all is not lost. There is hope. My son is almost 18 months old and in 18 months I have learnt a lot. As a dad you can choose to learn everything there is to learn about being a dad or you can wing it, learn as you go or you can just say ”I have no effin clue what I am doing” and that would be ok. In these 18 months and before I have had a chance to do all of the above. I have also wondered if this was it, this is what life is as a dad? Surely there has got to be more to it. What do I have to look forward to? parent teacher meetings, minivan, suburbia, trip to disneyland, do I have to do that thing where I am driving kids to and back from karate class? and so on! Ok maybe some of these things I have a chance to maybe opt out of – like the minivan. These were the thoughts that were racing through my head as I held my frail little son the first few days. He wouldn’t even smile, all he did was maybe blink and then cry, those days were the worst. I mostly winged it those days, my mind refused to learn. Who has time to read a book? I decided no books. I told my wife that between the two of us we got this and if we can’t we will google it. 21st century parenting at it’s best! and we did… and it was ok! Then one day my son was no longer frail. He didn’t cry, he screamed, his poops got bigger, nastier, there were things strewn around, just random things. I have tripped on these things, stubbed my toe. There are countless trips to the store to buy baby clothes, toys and accessories. Thank god for Amazon Family subscriptions, we still get diaper deliveries at our doorstep every month. We had a fantastic doula who provided immense support night and day when our son was born. I can’t seem to thank her enough! I will definitely do a piece honoring doulas someday on this blog. We had barely landed in Portland and gotten settled before our bundle of joy arrived. Time went by fast, I still wondered if this was it? I desperately wanted this to be more fun. Shouldn’t we be able to have fun while we do this? That depends on your idea of ‘fun’. Those days we mostly took him on walks, trips to grocery stores were fun, went by the waterfront, visited parks, kids playhouse, playdates and so on. Luckily there is a lot to do in Portland and I love this city for that. Our social life came to a grinding halt initially and being particularly social people, this was a hard pill to swallow. We were somehow different people now?. It is really difficult to fit back in with your old gang, this is really a full topic by itself which I will address some time in the future. I still remember a night at the Timbers game when he screamed bloody Mary until we had to ditch the game before full time and head home. Luckily the Timbers Army section – the most rowdy loud crowd in Major League Soccer wasn’t at full strength that day.
I did get a chance to get creative with handling the pressures of life with a kid. We outsourced at least half a week’s worth of meals to a meal preparation and delivery service in the initial months. This way the missus wouldn’t need to figure out if it was salt or sugar that she added to the stir fry. I wanted his room to resemble a forest with cute animals all around and a little playhouse with his favorite toys in them, so I got to painting and decorating. This way I learnt how to paint to a room and put up decals. Made it all the more better when he would point to the trees and animals.
I only took a couple of days off work since I was working as a contractor and didn’t have paid time off so time was money for me and I had to go back to work exactly 1 day after he was born. I didn’t like it one bit but it had to be done. At the very least, the joy of coming home to “daddaa! daddaa!” is priceless.
Like everything we take on in life, there are ups and downs and you have to suck it up and deal with the downs. Surely I wasn’t the only one, there were other dads too out there, some who probably have it worse than I do. There are some who stay at home as a life choice to watch their kids. I realized I could choose to mope about all that I missed out on with my single childless life or learn to enjoy everything fatherhood has to offer, good and bad. They have a day just for you to honor you and your continuing dedication to this giant life step you took – it’s called Father’s day. Surely I had accomplished something that was worth having a day in my honor for. Something monumental. I spent this fathers day adding final touches to northwest dad. It was my chance to share in words with the world what it felt like to be a dad and take you on this journey that can be a lot of fun if you choose it. Every now and then my boy would bring me a toy to look at while I worked on my blog. I went to bed content that it was a good day, it was simple, I spent a lot of good time with my little man, I tickled and made him laugh. After I went to bed, I knew that a few months from now he will be 2 years old. There would be more adventures to look forward to. Maybe we will be on a beach watching him build castles, play with shells. Surely there is more to it. I can’t wait to find out. Happy Fathers Day to myself and all other dads out there! Hope you had a fantastic day with your kiddo 🙂