I won’t pretend that I haven’t been absent for the past several months. Somewhere in between Christmas and Springtime I stopped writing, and never seemed to get it started again. This is actually one of my patterns. I become recalcitrant in winter, chatty in warmer weather. I am positively INSPIRED by autumn. Do dying leaves equate with rebirth for me? It’s just one of my things.
I looked at the Jeep today, standing next to his mother, and he seemed taller. Granted, she was sitting, but he seemed even taller than she. He’s two-and-a-half for gawdssakes. Where did the time go? For a long while I explained the stay-at-home dad “experiment” as something we were trying out. As if maybe things wouldn’t work, so we would go back to “normal”. That is obviously not happening. I think it is time to recognize – this is pretty much as normal as we’ll ever see again. Nonetheless, next month marks three years since I left my job and never looked back.
This blog is an attempt to come to terms with some of the stages of daddyhood. The Daddy Life has taken on many forms over the past three years, and I need to honor them. I am always working to become the man I want to be, and that means being honest with myself about my successes and failures along the way. If I had any readers, then I would love for them to learn something from my experience.
STAGE ONE: DENIAL
The summer of 2008 was a great summer. I played a lot of golf. I remodeled the nursery. Then we had a baby. Up until Jeep came along, I laughed and played and chased my tail. I was a passable birthing partner and a poor husband. Then the world changed forever that evening when the sun went down on our hospital room.
STAGE TWO: EARLY DADDYHOOD
Jeep came into the world with only minimal help from Dad, but I stepped it up right away. I remember the first little cries that came from my boy late in the night of his birth. We had slept a few hours and Linden was in no shape to respond, so I rose to the call and changed my first diaper. The first of thousands.
Linden had a long maternity leave while we built our partnership and figured out our family. We also had a number of guests, family, and friends who provided a lot of help. This gave me a freedom from responsibility that I generally enjoyed. We both built confidence in our parenting skills. My wife dealt with some intense post-partum depression that fall, and I generally hung in there and tried not to complain about the changes in my life. Of course I loved my boy more than anything, so I focused my energies on him. I give myself high marks for fatherhood during this period, but there were two of us raising one child, so we still had him outnumbered. I began playing guitar during this time, and we took several trips together as a family. I also took over all the cooking in the household. These were minor, but necessary changes to my lifestyle and identity.
I was certainly a useful part of the parenting team, but of course I wasn't nursing the baby. At times I felt like I lacked purpose. We were all ready for some change when Linden returned to work after the holidays. Jeep was around 4 months old.
To be continued . . .