14 June 2011

daddy issues

Having kids has humbled me in a bunch of ways over the years.  The thrust of responsibility to care for them at their most fragile, newborn state.  The late nights.  The fact that my whole life had to be rearranged to revolve around their needs.

Bottle service became viewed in terms of Similac vs Enfamil.  The minivan became viable option.  (You know, for my wife of course.)  Screaming kids on the airplane?  It's different from the other side folks, although I have to admit I think we've been lucky so far.  On all our flights my kids have always been relatively easy going.  But we don't push our luck these days; there are definite benefits to taking the extra time on the road versus working our way through various airports.

I'm not complaining, mind you.  Watching them grow up - to witness them accomplishing every new step in their lives - has truly been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.  It's put my outlook on life in a completely different perspective and in many ways has forced me to really grow up.  First words, first steps, reminding them to wash their hands after going to the bathroom and to put daddy's records back-in-the-order-you-found-them-in-or-I-swear-you-will-never-get-near-my-1200s-ever-again...

I think the most revealing part of being a parent for me has to be that sometimes they can become little mirrors of ourselves.  Even though they have their own personalities and tendencies, I've found that there are times they may as well be the fulfillment of some of my mother's warnings when I was younger.  "I hope your kids don't pick that up," she occasionally said when I was younger and still single. 

Maybe it's because these are personal shortcomings that I've always known about myself, or maybe I've just recognized my own tendencies through them.  Maybe they're not even shortcomings at all.  Stubbornness isn't necessarily a bad thing if they're going to be stubborn in positive ways. 

In either case, I think there's opportunity here.  Opportunity for them to be raised in a more positive manner and opportunity for me to become better.  I'm certainly not perfect, and I couldn't ever expect anyone else to be either.  To become better?  That should be reasonable, right?  I think so.  So for them and for myself I'm going to try to become better.  A better dad, a better husband, a better person.

No time like the present as some folks like to say.  With Father's Day on the horizon, it seems as good a time as any.

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