LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND

LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND

Hello and welcome to a strange new world. You have traveled far through the desert, only to be met time and again by one empty oasis after another. You are lost and alone, wandering, wondering if someone, anyone, knows how you feel. And just when you think you can't go on, and no one could possibly understand your struggle, a hand reaches out to you, lifts you to your feet, and carries you to the promised land. He feeds you knowledge, shelters you from the self-righteous (and the ridiculous), and provides you with the tools you need to survive in this brave new world. You are a stranger in a strange land, but you are not alone. Let him be your guide. Follow closely as you travel together on this adventure of a lifetime. For now, you are a foreigner to "Fatherhood" but soon YOU will be the master of this realm.

"No Man is Expendable!"

This is Fodder 4 Fathers...

TWO BE, OR NOT TWO BE? THAT IS THE QUESTION: RECALLING THE FIRST TWO YEARS OF "FODDER"HOOD


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.

Am I a hero? No. I'm just a guy whose wife had a kid and was able to pull his shit together in time to be the father he always wanted to be. Is parenthood war? Far from it if you ask me. It's a joy. It's an adventure like no other, but like anything else, "chance favors the prepared mind." And I was prepared for any and all possibilities thanks in great part to my own upbringing.

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.

Now, to toot my own horn, from the onset, I may have taken on more than most men. Believing that "knowledge is power," I took it upon myself to do a fair bit of reading before the birth of my little girl-  I watched video online; I read articles on childbirth; I even brought out my old developmental psyche book a few times to brush up on the science of it all. But I always took everything with a grain of salt and a sense of humor, because I don't believe there are any absolutes to parenting.

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.

"I'm Two?"
Two years, and we’ve barely touched the potential of where this relationship between father and child can go. Two years, and we’ve barely tackled the real hard lessons that life can throw your way. Two years, and we’ve barely scratched the surface of what a father’s love for his daughter can accomplish. But it’s been the best two years of my life, and I thank you for sharing it with me. My little girl is going to be 2, and the honor has been all mine.

- Fodder 4 Fathers

3 comments:

  1. Congratulations. It ISN'T easy for men to step up, it feels like. When one does, and does as boldly and with the flair that you seem to, it is a wonderful thing to see. I've been following you on Facebook for a few months, and I think I've learned a thing or two about my OWN parenting from you. Mine still drive me nuts, and they probably always will, but ... I think I laugh about it more, seeing other PARENTS (male and female) going through it ... I'm not ALL for gender neutrality (I do believe that there ARE some things men are better at, some things women are, and in my core, I think I'm a bit of a feminist, and not necessarily the best "we're all equal" kind), but I think it's great when men CAN confidently step into previously women-only roles, and do it with the aplomb you have as a father. Your daughter is lucky to have you ...

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  2. Happy B-day to your little girl and Congrats to you on making it this far. Sounds like she really changed your life in a lot of ways. She is lucky to have you.

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  3. beautifully written! your daughter and wife are lucky ladies for sure!! :)

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