According to my research, I have bought and used about 40,000 Pampers in my life. Boy, do those diapers tell a story.
I am a decent father. My work pulls me away from my family too much; I am still too quick to ask for quiet; I spend too much time worrying about dirt in the house, and I am quick to forget my boys are only 5 and 4. All of that being said, I am the richest man I know and to my boys, I am literally Superman.
Today, I got to spend the day with my youngest at the lumber yard picking out lumber for our new deck. He followed me around like I was ‘Bob the Builder.’ He asked me what we were going to use for tools; how much wood we needed, what was concrete, how long will it take to build our deck; and most importantly, when will we start on their clubhouse. Regrettably, I have not begun the transformation of our old storage shed into the most awesome clubhouse known to a kid. It is next on the list.
My other son couldn’t wait until I got home so he could tell me about his afternoon with mom. He comes running up to me, half naked (we live in the country, and evidently a kid nudist colony) and tells me about the work he is doing in the backyard. He wants me to pick him up. He’s almost six but still loves to put his head on my shoulder. It will never get old.
You see, my boys are my second chance at parenting. My oldest is long gone, but these two young men, Laurie and I get to raise. We get to give them experiences that will shape their little hearts and it is such an honor.
When I was asked to reflect on fatherhood by Pampers as part of their #thanksbaby series, I took a few minutes and thought about how fortunate I am today. If you would have asked me fifteen years ago what my life would look like at almost 48, I would have said, close to retirement, enjoying a carefree life, sort of planning for a soft landing into golf and great food.
I would have NEVER said, I will be the father of two young boys who look to me like I looked at my dad. They think I can do no wrong. Luckily, my wife thinks I do plenty wrong, so I don’t get cocky. But, what a blessing it is to have this season of my life filled with legos, mud-pies, a sandbox in my driveway, my porch covered with bikes and scooters, and my mornings filled with ‘dad, can I get my brother up.’ I am truly blessed. When I watched this video that Pampers put together, I was moved to think about ALL of the things my family means to me. You have to check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNPpvebb1Ds
One of the biggest blessings is the chance to raise these boys with Laurie, my wife. She is a rock and is the only partner I’ve been able to raise a family with. My good memories are with her. I could not imagine raising these boys without her.
It saddens me sometimes to have conversations with single moms and dads. It is tough to not be able to share the joy of parenting with someone else. Knowing you aren’t alone in figuring out what is best for your kids can’t be under-emphasized.
So, what is it about a family that changes us?
Now that my boys are out of Pampers, I am amazed by how much they’ve challenged the way I see my life. It’s interesting; for me, I tend to rationalize the time I spend working as a need for our life. I am not sure that is right. I see tons of people making different career choices who are happy. Maybe that is my lesson for this year’s Father’s Day.
As it is Father’s Day Eve and my family has retired, I sit here thinking about the number of Father’s Days I have seen: that number is 22. They are only going to get better.
Tonight, as I was digging out the last two feet for our pool, I found an earthworm. I stopped and picked it up, then gave it to Eli. As innocently as I could ever imagine, he says, “Thank You, Dad, for the earthworm,” and then goes sprinting off, having named it O-Lo. I stood, leaning against my shovel thinking how incredible it is to be able to experience such joy of such simple things.
Tomorrow, I believe my family will be heading to my in-laws for a pool day, while I stay back and dig holes, getting ready to pour some concrete. Laurie asked me if I was okay with the kids being away for part of the day tomorrow, seeing it’s Father’s Day and all. I said, “This pool and the work I am doing for them is more than I could ask for for Father’s Day, enjoy your dad tomorrow.” Plus, they got me a drone! 🙂
Thanks so much for being with me this year focusing on parenting. I hope your family has an incredible time celebrating the dads in your lives this year!
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Julian Ivey-Caldwell founded GetConnectDAD with one simple goal: Connect more families to their kids. Julian works a day job and spends his evenings (after the family retires) continuing to grow this platform. Because he travels a great deal for his “day job,” he is intensely focused on trying to find better ways for fathers and mothers who work long hours, different hours, or unusual hours find better ways to be engaged.