Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Happy Birthday Dad

My dad turned 66 a couple of days ago. It's crazy for me to wrap my head around that. Especially since my oldest son and I share the same birth month with him. I find myself comparing my life timeline to his. My son turned 9, so when I was 9 what was my dad doing with his life

As I've mentioned in past posts, I'm competitive, so it's natural for me to look at our fathering styles and career success in a "who was where" type of way. I remember my dad always being too tired to play as I got older. That on the weekends, I would feel let down when it came to active attention from my dad. So I've done what I could to be more active in the day to day; to make lunches each day; to pick the kids up from school; to build Legos, go on walks, head to the playground... To be super active. 

And up until recently, my take away from my own dad was left only on the "what I wanted to do different." And I realize now, all the things I wish I would have done the same from the beginning. 

I realize now that while he may not have been an "active" dad, he was always there. He made it to all of our sporting events. We knew he was there because he would be the loudest supporter.. "Go Vikes!" He would always have advice and a solution to any problem. And he showed me what it was to work hard for the people in your life. To provide. To take care of all the "assets" from each other, to our cars, furniture, and clothes. And he did it so well, that I didn't pay the best attention to it. Until now... I see now all that I was supposed to have learned from my dad. 

As a kid, I would hear my dad say, "I love you more than you'll ever know" any time I told him that I loved him. I now get what he was saying, and I realize that I have some things to fix. It's time for me to to take better care of my "assets" while maintaining some of the active fathering I've done so well.

So, to my dad: Thank you for still always being there for advice and support. I appreciate you and your love for me more than you'll ever know. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

9 years and counting

Nine years ago today, my oldest was born!.. I know, right? Where did that time go?! So much has happened over these past 9 years. All milestones that themselves are remarkable. It's not always been easy... ok it's rarely been easy. I mean, being a good parent is tough! There are so many choices to make that shape the life of each child. Tempers flare when maybe they shouldn't have. Schools are chosen that weren't the best fit. There are falls and scrapes; sick days and tantrums; laughing and playing; hugging and crying. And in each moment the person he continues to grow into teaches me about myself each day.

As a first born myself, I always felt like the Guinea Pig child. All things that didn't work for me, were changed for my sisters. I went through my childhood as the test child, so the lives of the younger ones could be better. And in some ways that was true, and is in fact true for my oldest. But what I'm realizing is that there have been plenty of victories that my wife and I can celebrate. not every decision we made for him has been a "mistake" or a learning moment. We've actually done a pretty darn good job! And.. if it makes him feel better, we continue to make mistake with his 4 younger siblings.

The most crazy part about today, is that in turning 9 he is now halfway done with his childhood. In 9 more years he'll be choosing a college, and getting ready to attempt his journey into being a grownup. These past 9 years have felt like they have flown by, so naturally the fear of the next 9 going just as fast is real. In fact, when my MiL brought that up with me last night, I jokingly yelled at her that she's not allowed to bring that kind of stuff up! I'm not ready to think about it!

So, for me and my wife.. it's time to buckle down. Time to make the next 9 years full of the best memories that will keep us all learning and growing together. Memories that we will share and have well after he does finally leave the nest. We have to make sure that each day is full of enough love for him to know, and for each of our kids to know, just how much we truly adore them.

So, wherever you are today, please say a happy birthday to my oldest. He is the most remarkable 9year old in the world.. a fact supported in that after just waking up, and announcing, "I'm officially a 9 year old," he went straight to cleaning the cat litter... on his birthday! Clearly, my wife and I have done something right. We are so lucky to have him, to learn from him, and to have his unending love. He makes us the best parents in the world!

I love you so much buddy.. so very much!