My wife Otilia, the lovely and brilliant author of this blog, asked me this morning to write a post for her. This is nothing new of course as I often write reviews for her, but her request this morning was not for a review. She asked me to write a piece about what being a dad means to me.
Okaaaay, I said.
Just like that, Okaaaay. Try it. In a low voice, with an air of uncertainty, just say okaaaay. Lingering just long enough on the A for it to sound aimless and lost. As if it doesn’t know where it is going.
Got that? Excellent. Now you know how I felt when she asked me to write this piece. Just like the A. Aimless, with no idea of where I would go with this piece. In fact I still don’t. How you read this, is exactly how I am writing it. or should I say wrote it as you will be reading this in the future, which is my past once you’ve read it. Even though I am addressing you now in your past but very much my present at the moment. Confused? Good that makes two of us, now on with the piece.
What does dadhood mean to me? (is that a word? Fatherhood sounds too stand offish and formal. I am a dad and proud of it. My dad was more of a father than a dad but I want to be a dad to my kids. I hope you know what I mean)
Well for starters I’ll let you in on a little secret. OK, it’s not much of a secret but still I bet you don’t know it, so there. Any way, I never wanted children. Ever! I was always happy to be the favourite uncle, the uncle who would bring mayhem and chaos when ever he visited. But then, one dark night in a smoky club in Bucharest I met a beautiful lady.
That was my wife of course. As I got to know her I began to realise that she would make a fantastic mum. In fact not just a fantastic mum but the best of mums. Slowly I began to imagine a life with this fantastic woman, a life with children whom, not only, would be loved unreservedly but would have the best mum any child could wish for. Needless to say, once we were married we had a child, and then another, and then…. Nooooo way. Two is enough for me. So as you read you will see what a complete turn around life is for me, from what I always imagined I would be to what I actually am.
With that brief history lesson over (there will be a test at the end) let me try and tell you what it means for me to be a dad.
Being a dad is both the greatest joy in the world and the greatest fear. Before my children came along I was free to do anything, go anywhere. I didn’t have to worry about anything really, life was a stress free joy. You can see why I didn’t want kids originally can’t you. Before children what is there to fear? Flying, so what, big deal, if the plane crashes I’ll be dead so I wont care. Disease, phooey, it will either kill me or I’ll beat it. Money, I have enough and if I run out I’ll just eat bread for a week till I get some more.
But with kids. Life is different.
Like all parents (sorry, I mean like all decent loving parents) I worry about my children, I love them so much that their future is constantly on my mind. I think about growing crime rates, education, the cost of future education, housing costs, food costs and much, much more. But it’s not just about them I worry. Now I worry about my own health and the health of my wife. If we get sick who will take care of our beautiful girls. If something were to happen to me how would my girls handle it. I fear their grief more than I fear my own death.
Being a dad means endless worry. Will I be able to provide financial, health and emotional security. But that’s just one side of the coin. And the family coin is an odd thing. You see, on the worry side it’s a small 5 pence piece but on the flip side its a massive 2 pound coin.
The flip side is about happiness and that’s the major importance to any family isn’t it. My main drive in life is to make every second with my children count. To make it fun and full of laughter. To take joy from their every smile, to laugh when they laugh. To comfort in moments of sadness, but then to take that sadness and flip it over like a pancake. To smother it in jam and chocolate, add some colour and make it fun again. It’s my goal in life to make sure that my children enjoy their childhood while they can and not to waste a moment of it. I will never swear at my children and I very rarely get angry at them. If they step out of line or throw a tantrum I will talk calmly to them, on their level. I will make them understand and see reason. I don’t need nor do I want my children to fear me. As long as they respect me they will be on the right path, for it’s respect for others that is one of, if not the, most important lesson in life. Not fear. I’m not saying they wont get a slap from time to time, most children need it. But that’s not what being a parent is to me. Violence is for the parents you read about in news papers, not me.
Being a dad, for me, is all about ensuring that when my kids grow up they will look back on their childhood with nothing but joyful recollection. That when I see them marry (nothing less than a prince will do) and have children of their own they will want to raise them just as they were raised.
To sum it all up, the one thing that being a dad means to me is this.
As I guide them from childhood to adulthood, to make it the most fun, interesting, educational, exciting, awe inspiring, crazy, chaotic, mysterious and colourful journey I can make it. And to be the best dad, friend and guide I can possibly be.
Till next time…