What Do Dads Want?
Father’s Day is rolling around again — and I have another kid in tow.
My boy Cedar of 2 ½ years will undoubtedly make me another artistic wonder to hang on my studio wall — and sweet little three-month-old Frankie will hand over the first card made on her behalf by my wife Eden.
Father’s Day. Being a Father. When I was growing up I only had one friend with parents that were together so it was always a day of wondering for me. Where is my dad? What is he doing at this very moment? Where does he live? Was he thinking about my sister and I?
My best friend and I would always talk about our fathers. In our minds, they became legendary. His father was similar to mine in many ways and we both found comfort in keeping our dads around by talking about all of the things we knew about them. Sadly, we knew very little of their worlds, so the most trivial things became incredibly important.
I can still see John’s dad’s white patent leather shoes as he stepped out of his early 80’s Navy Blue Monte Cristo with white leather interior. John had told me about those shoes and that car so many times that I felt like I had already seen them when I finally met him.
My dad was around in fits, but often not for long stretches of time. My mom remarried, and so my stepdad pretty much raised us. We got along but I definitely had a lot of angst growing up, and spent a lot of time preoccupied with the anomaly that was my dad. Amazing, as a parent now, to contemplate how every single action impacts our kids.
The irony being that the more focus we put on thinking about our actions, the less time we spend in the moment, in our naturalness, showing our kids what it looks like to be accepting of ourselves — faults n’ all.
Which brings me to this: There is nothing I love more than being a father. My little boy is the apple of my eye and I’ve fallen head-over-heels for the calm, easy joy that is new baby Frankie. Parenthood is the one thing I can say for certain in my world that is of undeniable importance; I really am trying to do my best to help these kids feel good about themselves in the world.
That being said, being a parent is the hardest thing I have ever attempted and having the extra kid now thrown into the mix has intensified both ends of the spectrum.
Some of my friends with kids have said to me that the first year with your second child (if you decide to stop there) is the hardest year of your life. When I saw a pal of mine with two kids at the farmer’s market on Father’s Day last year, his response to my question “Any plans for Father’s Day?” was: “I just want to be left alone so I can pretend just for one day that none of this happened.”
That made me laugh but I’d be lying if I said that thought has never crossed my mind.
So, what do I want for Fathers Day? In no particular order…
I would like to sleep in. Right up to 7:30. I would like a VW Westfalia. A portable man cave, if you will, since my home studio has become Cedar’s bedroom. I would like a nice bottle of Scotch. I might even want to be left alone to drink it. I would like to read the paper. I would like to not have snot, food, and mud on any of my clothing for one day. I’d like to wake up to the sound of birds — not my son screaming my name as if someone woke him with a bucket of cold water. I would like to have a mid-afternoon nap.
In the end I think what I want most is to spend the whole day with my little clan. Out there in the world, being blown away (again) by just how unbelievably amazing it all is.