I recently read a blog post – What Just Happened? AKA, Why I’ve Been Missing for a Month) and it took me tumbling back in time…
So, lets think back, nearly 25 years ago. I was young and excited at the anticipation of my coming adventure. Fatherhood. Ready or not, my son arrived in December 1992. It was just before Christmas, the 23rd in fact. For many years he thought Christmas was a three day birthday party, just for him.
Now, Before his arrival I did as I pleased, pretty much. I had a job of course, but my free time involved softball games, reading, movies, and going out on the town. No worries. A spontaneous trip and five or six hour drive across the Southern California desert to Vegas? Let’s go! An overnight trip to Baja Mexico for a fresh lobster dinner with tortillas, rice, beans and a beer in Puerto Nuevo. Out the door we went. Ya no mas, as they say. No more.
The last book I read, before my son changed my life forever, was David McCullough’s Truman. It would go on to win the Pulitzer in 1993. Perhaps this is why that doorstop of a Biography, over one thousand pages of awesomeness, is still on my shelf and one of my all time favorites. Because after my son was born, I had little time for reading and my free time consisted of naps between work, midnight feedings and diaper changes. After my first born was a few years in, we finally got a rhythm of this new life called parenting. It was about this time, I recall reading October 1964 by David Haberstam. Then baby sister arrived, soon came number three and baby brother. Reading regularly became a distant memory.
Fatherhood is great. Sure, I missed reading books and holding them in my hand, but holding a baby was so much better. They smelled good – most of the time – and I was able to do things with them I could never do with a book, like teaching them to ride bikes, play baseball, catch butterflies and lizards. I did get to sneak in a few books now and again, but it was more Dr. Seuss, twenty-seven times in a row, “Again! Again!” It was not Angela’s Ashes, Notes From a Small Island or Corelli’s Mandolin. I was more likely to see the movie versions of books if they did make the big screen. Truth be told, I was more focused on trying to get ahead at work, pay bills and put food on the table. I never complained. How could I? Fatherhood has so many tremendous rewards.
There is no joy greater than being met with smiling eyes at the door by kiddos so very happy to see me come home. A big hug and a smile was enough to fill my soul with love. I enjoy thinking back now to each of them. Eventually five in total. One came along late, she’s now eleven – Surprise! The other four are either married or in college. What that has meant to me is, these last few years, I have been able to read more again. So many missed titles to catch up on. It is an exciting time to be a reader again. I wouldn’t change a thing. Well maybe a few things, but that’s a story for another time. And so, to each of you new fathers out there, like Thad, Congratulation’s… Oh, the Places You’ll Go!