When Laura-Kim invited me to write a post about something Dad-related, I agreed immediately. After all, I meet the basic qualification criteria: I fathered two children. I’m a Dad.
Also, I’m a writer so I have the ability to take all my fatherly wisdom and share in this written form. So there’s that too.
Being a Dad is challenging
At first I was going to write about how being a Dad is tough. Dads who think it’s easy are either mostly on cruise control or have figured out the mystical key to happiness that utterly eludes me.
Don’t misunderstand me, being a father is the most rewarding experience of my life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I was also going to point out that being a father is a remarkably challenging experience because it involves our most incredible creations.
The magic of fatherhood (my first interruption)
I thought I had something meaningful, profound even, to share about the magic of being a Dad and then I was interrupted.
I was at the park with my daughter at the time. She asked to push her on the swings and I lost my tenuous link to what I thought would become a deep insight into the source of the magic of fatherhood.
As I pushed her higher and higher (these kids are crazy) I tried to remember where my thought train was derailed and failed. Instead I found myself captivated by the sunlight in my little girl’s hair and I realised that she isn’t such a little girl anymore. When did that happen?
Important Dad tip: document everything!
Fortunately I have pretty much documented their entire lives in photos so I took a short trip back in time and couldn’t believe just how much our kids have grown in between all those bowls of cereal (when they deigned to eat breakfast), school events and bedtimes.
Timelessness (and my second interruption)
As if that wasn’t enough of a distraction from this article (and I apologise, I’ve clearly lost the plot – literally), the next day my son insisted on me taking him to the park. At the time, I was ruminating on how fatherhood seems to slow our aging process even as our kids seem to grow in the blink of our weary eyes.
I take this article seriously, I really do, but what could I do?
After making sure my son understood that it would be a short trip to the park so I could return to you, we went out. I was optimistic I would be able to make up for this further interruption.
Once again I tried to bring my thoughts back to this fatherhood conundrum as we walked to the park, his hand in mine. Once again, I proved unequal to the task.
My son wanted to play hide and seek at the park that evening. As I searched high, low and everywhere in between to find him (I didn’t realise just how well he can hide), I was left speechless when this gangly boy emerged from his hiding place and sprinted to the tree we were using, laughing at the futility of my attempt to catch him.
He’s turning 10 this year. 10! It felt like just last year we were watching him take his first steps in our house a continent away.
Afterwards, as we walked home together in the setting sunlight, my thoughts about fatherhood and aging forgotten (I apologise, again) I felt strangely rejuvenated and content to listen to our son talk about whatever had peaked his interest that day.
He was happy and so was I.
Endless wonder and admiration
Since that afternoon at the park, my thoughts about our children stubbornly refused to return to this thesis. Instead they drifted and I thought about how our children have adapted to a new country, a new first language, are learning to code and have discovered the joys of reading to themselves.
And in the midst of all of this, I feel partly like a witness to our children’s achievements and, at the same time, finding new opportunities to help them achieve more, learn more and discover their places in this world.
As for my article about being a Dad, I’m sure I’ll think of something.
Paul Jacobson is a writer, photographer, husband to his very patient wife and proud Dad to two wonderful children. He and his family live in Israel. You can find more of his writings on his blog and connect with him on Twitter.
- Ok, their mothers really deserve most of the credit there. We’re mostly like investors – we made a modest investment of some stuff we had lying around anyway. They did all the real work to transform our quirks, tendency to leave the seat up and endearing qualities into parts of these wonderful beings who will hopefully provide for us in our old age. ↩
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