Friday, June 18, 2010

New Dad

Saw this on youtube:

It's about 3 minutes too long, but there are some funny lines and truisms.

It got me thinking about a topic I have NOT taken any time to consider - What has it meant to be a new dad again, and a dad to 5 kids. With fathers day around the dorner, here's a collection of thoughts.

- I'm not a new dad really, but I am a new dad 'again'. I have never enjoyed having a baby in the house as much as I do with Hirut. She's a sweetheart. But so was Stephanny so that's not why #5 is such a pleasure. Being older and mellowing with age, I think I am taking a lot more time to enjoy it. Everything else has been put on hold, so most of my focus, outside of my work day, is entirely on the kids. There are lots of moments watching Hirut be the doll that she is, watching her develop and do all the wonderful new things 1 year old babies do. She's just about to walk, and says new words almost every day.

- For the same reasons, I am enjoying being a dad in general more than I ever have. The house project is on hold. I am coming home at 5 every day. It's summer. It's really nice to parent without other distractions competing for my attention.

- I change %5 of the diapers and get up 10% of the "Mommy" calls late at night. Stacey has always been the primary bearer of those burdens, and it certainly makes being a dad much easier, or at least much less 'tiring'.

- If there are dads out there who miss going to the bars and doing guy stuff, I'm confused. I just don't miss that stuff, not that I was a champion partier back in the day. I do miss doing stuff with Stacey. We had a lot of fun, and some of it is just not cool to do as we get older. For instance, we are now at the age where we would definitely be the old people if we went to a techno club. (I'm sure there's a lot of people who might read this and be surprised we did that kind of thing). And if we were caught parked in the middle of the woods sleeping in the back of our minivan, I'm pretty sure we would be arrested as vagrants. We spent the better part of a year doing that sort of thing when we first met! Being in collage together was a blast. I miss that attention that we used to be able to give to each other, and how much fun we had as a couple back then! We did not take any of those days for granted. I cherish them.

- What do people without kids do with themselves? I don't care how successful you might be, or how many adventures you might have, life would be so empty.

- There are few things as special as walking in the door at the end of the day and having kids run up to you and wrap their arms around you screaming "Daddy!". When those days end it will be a sad sad day.

- There are few things as special as hearing someone say "Goodnight daddy, I love you, see you tomorrow". When those days end it will be a sad sad day.

- I think I stepped it up a notch being a daddy this year. I don't celebrate birthdays, and am not big on presents at Christmas. But I'm calling in the favors this year - I want a present for fathers day. I think I have earned it this once. Kids, consider this your notice! I may not ask again, but this year I want some presents!

- Krem has definitely elicited a feeling of extra responsibility with regards to parenting an older adoptive child. I feel like I owe it to him to go the extra mile - to be patient, caring, solid, and present. There are times when the look in his face, or the actions he makes, seem to tell a story of his life before we received him into our family. I feel it is my responsibility to make up for the hardships he experienced, and assure he gets whatever he needs to lead a happy, normal, successful life. The picture we received when he was referred to us, and the thought of what it must have been like for him to leave his birth mother breaks my heart. That alone causes me to have strong feelings about being the best parent to him that I can be.

- You know what scares me as a dad - we have to somehow figure out how to get 5 kids through college, assuming they all go.

- You know what else scares me - teenage daughters.

- I do not fear the responsibility of providing for and raising children.

- River is soon to be a teenager, and these are the critical years he and all teenagers must bridge to get to adulthood while avoiding pitfalls, mistakes, bad influences, and temptations. I hope to be the right kind of parent - patient and understanding at times, solid and stern when needed. One things for sure - he is entering these years on great footing. He is kind, sensitive, does well in school, is helpful around the house (sometimes with a little prodding), and is a great kid in general. What I realize is that I don't spend enough time with him one on one - which is made difficult with 5 kids - but hope to do better over the summer.

- It is interesting and amazing to watch how each childs personality develops in different ways, shows different strengths and weaknesses, and how they devise their own systems to work together, resolve disagreements, help each other out, and even sometimes scheme to manipulate Stacey and I. It's like a little sitcom right in our home!