I know this will be hard to believe, but this has already been a crazy week. We have had early mornings, evening meetings, construction decisions, birthdays, and the timer getting ready to go off for these babies. She is getting oh so close to D Day and trust me when I say, she is REALLY ready. I think, because I have never experienced it, that having 14 lbs. of baby growing inside of you would get increasingly uncomfortable. Everyday activities have become impossible and, her being such a strong personality, that is really a tough pill for her to swallow. As expected, she is still doing it with grace and dignity, not complaining, too much, and I bow down to her spirit daily. I must say the female body during pregnancy amazes me. To see your best friend transformed and to watch arm and legs dart around under her skin, wow not too much can compare. It is truly a miracle!
We also celebrated my fathers birthday this week, although we couldn’t be there in person, we were all there in spirit. That event sparked deep thoughts about who and what shapes us as fathers. There is no map, book, computer program, app, iPad, or anything that I can physically hold that tells us how to do this fathering thing, except our own fathers and grandfathers. Who better to emulate then your own father. I know not all fathers we would want to be like, but for me, my father is exactly what I try daily to become. Just a little about this man, he served his country courageously in Vietnam, came back and went to college while raising 2 kids and working full time. Hmmmm, this all sounds familiar…. He attended every practice we had, coached most of the teams we played on and sacrificed life and limb on occasions, all for his kids. Literally he had his face shattered by a foul ball while playing catcher (without the face mask, lesson learned) at my baseball practice. The man is and always will be relatively selfless. He has and always will, love my brother and I without judgement. Now where did he learn this innate ability to father his kids? Are we born with these abilities to nurture or taught through our environment? These things have been argued about and discussed for decades. The answer for most, I believe, comes from within.
My father watched his dad raise 6 kids on his own, while selling washers and dryers at Sears for 30 years. As could be expected from that generation, you worked hard and honest, didn’t complain, and at the end of the day you have dinner with the family and thanked the Man above for all you had in life. That sounds pretty good, but is that what todays society practices, I think not even close. My Grandfather will always be one of my role models for his selfless acts to support and raise his family. In all those years my father, being the oldest, witnessed a lot, and certainly learned a lot of lessons. Those lessons shape who we are and how our life plays out.
I knew when I became a father I wanted to be just like my dad, he is my hero and role model for how I conduct my life. He cooked, cleaned, worked hard, and was always “present”, which I believe in this day and age is the most critical part of parenting. How do we positively influence our children if we are absentee fathers? How do we provide an environment of nurture and love if the job takes precedence? It is impossible to become a role model if you are not there to model what your role is in the family. If I could offer any bit of advice to any new or old father, be around for you kids. It impossible for your kids to idolize you if you are not there for them in times of need, which is all the time! It has been studied and discussed for years, kids with a strong father figure are better adjusted and more successful at this game called life.
As our clock ticks by and the time grows nearer for me to become a father again, I am excited and nervous. I know you are thinking, how can you be nervous, this is baby 6 and 7? Each time is different, each munchkin is different, and we, as parents, become more experienced as the family grows. This experience transforms the way we parent the later kiddos. I always want to be the best father I can and I know this time not only be different (first time with twins), but will be my last chance to be my kids superhero. That is both sad and exciting, but most of all, it is the best feeling in the world.