It’s been nearly 7 months since my last post and boy, a lot has happened. I tried keeping this blog in the loop of the things daddy does but with a career, working on starting a company to move into a new career, keeping mommy happy which in turn keeps baby happy, and writing the first page of many different novels to come and some times revisiting those novels late at night when baby was keeping us awake, well, you know…
As you can imagine, Griffin has hit certain milestones. Some early then others and some later, but hitting them just the same. Like any good father, being daddy has been a lot about making time for those milestones so I can take pictures of them, video tape them, and then re-watch them with mommy over and over again after Grif goes to sleep. I can say that this never was the plan, and the more I just get to watch him eat his first meal of solid, try to take his first crawl, or stand up for the first time in the crib all his own I know some of these milestones are just better served as a memory that I’ll hold on to until I can’t anymore.
Jackie has tried her best to keep up with the milestones in Griffin’s baby book, a chore better left to mommy, but being daddy means we have to hear about it over and over again and look at the book every time a new milestone is complete. Though it may seem redundant at first, being daddy is about remembering the labor intensive work mommy puts in to keeping that baby book up to date, in line, and fresh. Milestones, like matching socks, are better kept together; nice, neat, and organized. But like the best pair of socks, it’s the ones that we find after they go missing that we cherish the most. And those milestones are usually stored away somewhere deep in our memory, peeking out when we need them to the most.
What I learned today about being a father:
I’ve been sick for the past three days. So sick, in fact, that both jobs were ignored and Jackie took Grif to the in-laws for the day to stay away from me. I made the suggestion, but while they were gone I went through the motions of thinking about how empty our apartment was, and how much more miserable that made me.
Being daddy is about working and doing everything you can to provide for your family. So I spend the majority of my week sitting in an office working on keeping a business I run afloat, then spending more time at my home office building a business I run to try to get it afloat. All this time is spent away from my family, and even though I’m at home during my second job I am trying to deal with clients while they are in the office so I don’t have to bother them at home when they are with their family! Quite the conundrum really, but I’ve tried to make it work as best as I can so I can give my family something better than what we have now. But being away from my family is hard, especially because I’m consistently reminded of the milestones I’ve missed from the pictures Jackie texts me or the videos she shows me when I get home. I love being kept in the loop, but being there is much, much more rewarding.
What I learned about being a father was two-fold; when I saw Griffin standing in his crib without our help, his childhood literally flashed before my eyes. Less than 8 months ago he was still just a tiny being inside Jackie’s belly and we worried about him being healthy or what kind of parents we would be. Back then, like it was so long ago, we called the doctor when something didn’t seem right or sought advice from people who have been through this before, worried that w
e would screw something up along the way and our child would learn to hate us before he was even 1 year of age! But as he stood tall and proud, balancing himself up on the side of his crib, a new set of thoughts ran through me…damn, I’ve got lower that crib.
Kids grow up, and they grow up fast. And I also learned that when you’re sick, no matter which parent it is, parenting doesn’t just shut down or go away. I had it easy for most of the day I stayed home sick. Jackie took Griffin to her parents for half the day, giving me time to rest and try to make myself better. When she got home she was frustrated, even angry, and let me know that being daddy doesn’t get a break just because I’m not feeling well or because my partners in another country need me on a conference call at 10PM while Griffin is trying to sleep. Being daddy, she tells me, is also about being present and especially about being quite when baby sleeps.
What I think I know:
For those who have read this blog in the past, I can honestly tell you that everything I thought I knew did not teach me anything about what I know now, and that still isn’t very much. Eight months later and mommy is still the most important part of baby’s life. Jackie is Griffin’s lifeline, his go-to when something doesn’t feel right or he doesn’t think daddy can take care of his needs. When mommy leaves the room, baby notices.
But what I think I know is this; being daddy is about cherishing those few moments after birth that we get to have with our sons and daughters when mommy is away. Sure, it takes a few minutes for our infants to realize that things will be alright, but being daddy is also about earning that trust, taking care of our babies and spending time with them no matter the situation. We can’t be present for all of their milestones no matter how hard we try, but it’s just as important to be there for them when we can, make an effort and turn off the TV, put down the cell phone, reschedule that important meeting, and speak to your child as much as possible.
Those milestones, the time you spend with your child, will always be kept up somewhere, in the back of your mind, for you to look forward to remembering again. And if you want to be a real hero for your wife, always keep an eye out for that missing sock, because you just might be rewarded handsomely when you find it.