Childhood Dreams: Become a Dad

Jun
19

As Father's Day approaches, I thought it might be appropriate to tackle one of my favourite childhood dreams - continued from my earlier post on the subject of childhood dreams

From the earliest days I can remember, one of the things I wanted most to be when I grew up was a father. I've always enjoyed children - and there were always lots of cousins for me growing up - so I had lots of really positive experiences with the younger crowd.

I am not sure about the other childhood dreams and how successful I can claim to be - but for this one, I can certainly say it has been an overwhelming success. I have 6 wonderful children, each with their own spark-of-life that makes them unique, charming and occassionally/frequently frustrating.

And according to a quick poll my wife conducted last year, I'm the BEST dad (I admit, the sample size may not be representative of the general population).

Interestingly enough, we have enough children to make a sentence. Of course, this picture is missing our latest addition Charlie.

I think one of the challenges of being a father in this day and age is how to measure whether or not you're a "good" father. In previous generations, the measure of a father is how well he provides for his family. Certainly today's father is measured by a much more complex set of criteria.

At reflective times such as these I wish I spent more quality time with my children and that I was able to give them more - love, time, affection, etc. However the realities of life is that these are difficult things to accomplish given the other demands on time - whether external (work, family, etc) or internal (desire to play games, update blogs, read, etc).

I definately think there is room for improvement on my role as a father; at the same time, I believe I am doing a lot of things right. For example, I wish I was less grumpy with the children sometimes - but the reality is the 5th time you have to ask a child to do something it's tough to maintain a happy-go-lucky demeanor.

One of the tricks of fatherhood for me has been to try to recognize that they are infact children and do not govern themselves the way adults do. I also was blessed with good advice from a mother who had recently lost a child that told me to love and cherish your children every day - sometimes when parenting is at its most frustrating I remember that sage advice. I would definately pass the advice on to anyone reading this blog, although I'm not sure it would have the same potency as at the funeral where it was given to me.

I am not sure my younger self realized what a challenge that parenting can be - and I definately did not appreciate how scary it can be (just ask any parent who has had to take a child to the emergency room). However, I don't think that younger self could also appreciate how awesome it is when the pudgy-10-month old says "DAH DAH!" and pulls your shirt in to bring you closer for a snuggle, or how amazing it is to watch your older children evolve into thinking, diverse and interesting human beings.

As I review the list of dreams it's very nice to have a resounding "YES! You did it!" in the success column.