As my daughter's second birthday approaches, I find myself looking back on the last two years and wondering how I got here- father, blogger, champion of all things dad related. And, I think back on a comment my grade 11 history teacher made when we were discussing the life and times of General George S. Patton, and it seems fitting from where I stand. "War time hero, Peace time fuck-up," he called him. I think that applies. After all, I'm just a guy who didn't really have a particular calling in life until my daughter came on the scene. "Jack of all trades, master of none," you might call me. But, when I put my mind to something, there isn't much I can't do.
In my time I've seen good parenting and bad parenting; horrible parenting and heroic parenting. But the best parenting in my opinion is always calm parenting; common sense parenting; the kind of parenting that says no matter what life (or my children) throws at me, I can handle it. And that's the parenting philosophy I adopted from the moment I knew I was going to be a dad- and I just ran with it.
That's not to say I haven't been lucky. My daughter- the light of my life, the fruit of my loins- has never been a particularly difficult child. She sleeps with the best of them, eats like a champ, and has the kind of disposition that just makes everyone she meets an instant fan. She rarely cries (for real), and she just says some of the funniest, smartest sh@# that you will ever hear out of the mouth of a child. I am blessed, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. But, in many ways, so is she.
If I look back on how far I've come as a parent, I also have to look back on how far my partner in crime, my wife, has come. After all, it's not easy for a mom to give up the kind of autonomy she affords me as a father. And you have to give her credit for that. Sure, she thought I'd made a "good" father, but it is only through her willingness to give me the opportunity to shine that I have been able to become what I believe is a darn good dad; one who can hold his own against some of the greats (Cliff Huxtable, Jason Seaver, that guy from Father Knows Best). It's a true partnership we have when it comes to our daughter, my wife and I, and I think that's something special.
And just like some believe (rigidly, I might add) that dads are secondary caregivers meant to take a back seat to moms, I believe that all parents, moms and dads, should be able to handle almost all responsibilities equally (with some obvious exceptions) when it comes to caring for their children. So, I may have had to insert the word dad where it said mom a few more times than I might have liked, but it never stopped me. A good parent is a good parent. And a good dad need not be hard to find.
So, after thousands of diaper changes and feedings, hundreds of baths and more battles with Mommyitis than I care to mention, I'm proud to report that I am the father I set out to be, and much, much more. I am the parent my wife, her parents, and my mother can be proud of. I am the dad my daughter deserves. And I am the same fuck up I always was, but one who knows when to turn it on and off when it’s time to get the job done; one who learned to take his weaknesses and turn them in to strengths when it mattered.
- Fodder 4 Fathers