EDITOR’S NOTE: If narcissistic fathers annoy you in any shape, form or fashion…I’d advise you stop reading NOW!
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I’ve previously written about the parental guidance that I’ve received over the last few years – before, during and after The Boy was born.
Reminder: The salesperson at Hallmark won the gold medal when she said, “It goes so fast…enjoy every minute of it.”
For some reason, I was dwelling on her nugget of advice the other day.
It was probably when my son cracked a beer, kicked his feet up and asked if I thought the Cowboys would cover the spread. OR it might have been the first time he pooped in the toilet without me begging and/or bribing him with jellybeans.
Either way… she was right. They DO grow up fast!
This humbling realization reminded me of some other parental insight that I received right after Crash was born. It revolved around “Life Chapters.”
I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who has older children. Her youngest child was about to leave for college, and I asked her about empty nest syndrome.
ME: “Are you worried about it? Are you going to be sad and depressed?”
FRIEND: “Not at all. I’ve enjoyed every chapter to this point. This is just another one. I’m looking forward to it.”
She was so confident and at peace.
ME (somewhat rhetorically): “Chapters?”
FRIEND: “Sure. The newborn chapter was great – new and sweet – but the walking and talking chapters were even better. The pre-school chapter was fantastic – but when they started elementary school….so fun. The older they got…the activities….watching them grow into adults….each chapter has been terrific in its own way.”
ME: “What’s been the best chapter?”
FRIEND: “Each one is better than the last. It just keeps getting better!”
Every time I hear “Daddy…I need you to wipe my butt” these days, I think about these “Life Chapters.” I reflect on the amazing journey we’ve already traveled since Crash was born, and I start to get excited about where we’re going.
The newborn chapter – represented by the hundreds of diapers – was awesome. Everyday it was something new – a smile, a sound, a unique smell.
The toddler chapter – represented by even more diapers – was remarkable as well. Whether he was learning to waddle around the house, babbling to hear himself babble or finally being able to differentiate me from the dog – it was wonderfully great.
Within these chapters there are sub-chapters, too – like stringing words together (even if they don’t make sense), transitioning to a big boy bed and getting brave and adventurous.
All part of the “Life Chapters.” All remarkable in their own way.
Like my friend poetically explained to me, though, the current chapter is definitely the best. Here is the present storyline in the Life of Crash:
• The Boy is starting to declare his independence: “I do it myself!” (That’s whether we’re changing out the laundry or starting my pick-up.) His confidence has grown because of this, too. After finishing the task, he’ll always declare: “I DID IT!”
• He likes EVERYTHING.
CRASH: “What’s dat?”
ME: “Dog poop.”
CRASH: “I like dog poop!”
• He has the weird knack of finding things that are “just da same.” Example: If he sees a picture of a frog, he’ll scour the house until he finds every other frog that he’s ever seen – pictures, stuffed animals, etc. After 5 minutes, it’s like a reunion of frogs – or whatever the object of his infatuation.
It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, Crash wants to be “just like daddy.”
If I’m wearing a blue shirt – The Boy wants to wear a blue shirt.
If I’m mowing the yard – he wants to mow the yard.
There is NOTHING in this world that warms my heart more than those three words.
I know…I know….call me vain or self-absorbed, but feel free to use the adjectives scared and/or humbled as well. They are just as applicable.
When Crash says, “just like daddy,” it’s an overwhelming reminder that I have a responsibility as a father to be a positive role model for my son.
That’s why I take him running with me.
That’s why we go to church.
That’s why I love on his mamma in front of him.
Do I want The Boy to do EVERYTHING “just like daddy?”
I know I drink too much beer, put too much salt on my food and stay up too late, but now I’m aware that little eyes are watching and I try not to miss a potential teaching moment:
– “Remember, only daddies and mommies drink beer.”
– “No….salt will make your heart stop. How about some pepper?”
– “Daddy is stupid. He SHOULD go to bed at the same time as you!”