We just got back from vacation, and while it was fun, it was also tiring.
Like Luke Skywalker carrying a very tired Yoda.
- Things S— can say: Mama, Dada, Dog, Baby, Book, Ball, Hi, and Bye.
- Crawling is so last month. Now, she’s climbing stairs!
- Dancing to music. Two favorites include “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross and “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley. Videos are below.
- Waving hello and goodbye.
- Expressing her disapproval when R— or I leave the room.
- Helping put away toys.
- Deciphering the meaning of Goodnight Moon. Just who is Nobody?
Any bets on if she’ll be walking by her birthday?
The house is quiet. The dog is asleep on the couch, tucked in an Auggie-ball in the corner. My wife is asleep. Our baby sleeps too. In this house full of sleep, I am awake. The sounds of the train rumble a few blocks away. My neighbor watches TV on his front porch, a well-stoked fire burns in his yard, an open living room to which the neighborhood is invited. It’s in this quiet that I think about fatherhood. I should be joining my family in dream, and yet, here I am, awake.
The topic of fatherhood came up in conversation the other day. Partly, because I am a new father, but also, because I mostly grew up without a father. I don’t know what that means in terms of learned behavior. After my dad died, my mom raised us alone. I watched her fight for her kids. I grew up in a household full of books and music and curiosity. My mom took us fishing. She fearlessly drove our old Dodge Caravan down overgrown logging two-tracks in the Upper Peninsula, sand spitting and tires humping over pine roots. From my mom, I’ve learned a parent is patient, uses seriousness and humor like sticks and carrots in diplomacy. I have no idea what it means to be a dad. I don’t identify with those caricatures on sitcoms or in Sunday commercials.
I will be there for my daughter. I will teach her to be curious, to ask questions, and to learn. I will watch over her with my wife. Protect her and nurture her. I will do all that I can for her, like my mother did for her sons. We’ll have fun. We’ll all go on adventures, whether they begin in a book or start near the shores of Lake Superior, in the dry heat of August, playing among Blue Spruce and Bracken ferns, the scent of wild blueberries in the breeze. ∞