I’m going to cry on August 18, 2020.
It’s an emotional response that has been building for over 17 years.
In 2002 our first child was born. She emerged screaming. My wife was on the operating table and exhausted from over 24 hours of labor and then a c-section. She kissed our daughter and the nurses took the screaming gooey cone-headed child to the warming table to clean her up. She kept on screaming.
I stood there with all this activity around me feeling like I was in the way. My wife was the experienced one. She had cared for her younger sisters and babysat countless other kids. She knew what to do. I never held a baby before.
I planned to learn from my wife but it occurred to me in that moment that she couldn’t teach me. She was lying on a table getting her insides put back inside her. I had to step up. I had to be Dad.
I went over to our screeching child and muttered a few words. From the birthing classes, I remembered that babies love to suck on something to soothe themselves so I offered her the ring finger of my right hand. She immediately calmed down. She immediately grabbed ahold of my heart.
But, in August, I will have to let her go. She will be attending college at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. I’m thrilled for her to find a college she loves that is not terribly far from home. I’m sad she will be going.
For almost 18 years, she has been with me every day. I have helped teach her to walk, talk and ride a bike. I have been there after her surgery to separate her webbed toes and at her side in the hospital after she fell off a cliff in Yellowstone National Park. I have cheered her on stage and at cross country meets. I have been with her at her best and her worst.
She has taught me so much too. She has taught me how to love unconditionally and how to laugh uncontrollably. She has been by my side when I have been depressed. She always knows how to see the good in everything and everyone.
I am so proud of the woman she is becoming. She is so confident, responsible and intelligent. I know she will love college and continue to grow. So many lives will be made brighter from meeting her.
It’s just… I’m going to miss her.
So, when we say our goodbyes at Iowa on August 18, 2020, all of the feelings I have stored inside me will overflow and the tears will slide down my cheeks.
He was a brash New Yorker who was not afraid to speak his mind. He was arrogant and rude. He was a master at bending the media to his will. Both his enemies and friends feared his unapologetic wrath. Anyone who dared to oppose him soon regretted it when reading his sharp words the next day. He wanted a lasting legacy, craved notoriety and frequently considered becoming President of the United States. His ambition could not be contained.
He was constantly battling rumors about his finances, character and philandering. He strenuously denied all but one adulterous affair which became very well known and publicized. For anyone else, such a scandal would have ruined his career, but not for him. His influence in New York and in nationwide politics never waned.
His reputation concerned him the most. He cultivated it. He defended it. He died for it.
No one influenced him but his own ideas which he defended vigorously. As a result, he often did not do what was expected.
He agreed to a compromise that was against the best interests of his beloved New York City so he could achieve something he believed was in the best interest of the entire country.
He was accused of fraud and, to disprove the accusation, admitted publicly to being bribed to keep his wife from knowing about a sensational affair.
He was asked to endorse a fellow New Yorker for President but instead endorsed a Virginian who was vocally opposed to him for a decade because he believed the Virginian to be the better candidate.
Everything about him was scandalous. Everything about him made our country better. Everything about him is what our country needs now.
He never did satisfy his hunger for the Presidency. It was another similarly brash New Yorker over 200 years later who did. While Donald Trump has a lot of similarities, he does not match the integrity of Alexander Hamilton.
Hamilton always put his country first. He had a set of beliefs and never wavered from them. His beliefs made him many enemies and certainly destroyed his chances to be President but they were firmly rooted in creating the strongest democracy ever conceived. With the hindsight of history, there is no doubt Hamilton was one of the most important founding fathers and worthy of admiration by current politicians.
The politics of the Revolution and the first 20 years of the United States were brutal. Like today, elected officials were in one of two camps (Federalists led by Hamilton and Democratic Republicans led by Thomas Jefferson) who were tribal and unwilling to compromise. They despised each other and fought bitterly. Hamilton was no saint but he was always more interested in the bigger picture. Whatever further strengthened the country was more important than political expediency to Hamilton. He believed creating and sustaining a strong government would cement his legacy which he cared about more than anything else.
In order to get Congress to agree to assume the debts of all states after the Revolution and create a central bank, Hamilton sold out his home state of New York by agreeing to support the capitol of the country being located in Virginia rather than in New York City. While doing this angered many northerners, it secured a strong financial position for the country. Even Jefferson, who viciously opposed Hamilton, would agree years later that Hamilton was right about the importance of a central bank.
When accused of defrauding the government as Treasury Secretary, Hamilton admitted publicly to being bribed over an affair in order to keep it a secret which explained why he was paying a man in jail for taking money from Revolutionary War veterans. He was respected for his honesty even though it ended his opportunity to be President and was extraordinarily painful for his wife, Eliza.
When the election of 1800 ended in a tie between Thomas Jefferson of Virginia and Arron Burr of New York, it was Hamilton who convinced several delegates to vote in favor of Jefferson. Hamilton and Jefferson were always on opposite sides and hated each other but Hamilton rose above politics to support the candidate he felt would be better for the country, rather than support a fellow New Yorker who would be indebted to him politically.
All of these incidents were seen as scandalous. Hamilton did not choose what was best for him. He chose to do what was best for the country, believing his reputation and lasting legacy would be more secure by independent thought, bold action and an enduring future rather than what would be convenient, easy and immediately beneficial.
Our politicians today are nothing like Hamilton. They are beholden to their party. They listen to polls instead of their conscience. They are untethered from the truth when it does not suit their personal or political party interests. They work more to convince us we do not see what we see instead of doing their duty to defend the Republic and the people they serve.
Hamilton was arrogant and unapologetic. He vigorously defended his ideas, often making friends into enemies but he did what he felt was right and sacrificed tremendously for it. For this he was quite scandalous and achieved a legacy worthy of adulation today.
We could use more of such scandalous leaders.
Originally published 6/28/2012 on GoodMenProject.com A reality show is looking for at-home dads who are funny, burn their children and forget them at the park. Should be easy to find lots of them, right?
At-home dads are still a novelty in our culture. This makes them a natural fit for today’s “reality TV” programming. In fact, at least twice a month a casting or production company contacts me for help finding at-home dads for a reality show they are developing.
Most of them seem to understand at-home dads fairly well. Some are even willing to listen to my suggestions on how they could accurately frame a show.
And then there is the casting company who sent me this email the other day:
ARE YOU A STAY AT HOME DAD?
Do you go to a stay at home dad support group?
Do you have a dad blog talking about being a dad and the hilarities of raising babies and toddlers?
Have you caught your child’s high chair on fire?
Have you walked in and watched your toddler creating art with their own poop?
Have you left your playground without your child?
Does your stomach ache at the sight of a sonogram?
We are looking for dynamic “Mr. Moms.” If you are single, widowed or mom is MIA and you are therein daycare we are searching for you. You must have at least one newborn, toddler, or up to kindergarten kid.
Would be excellent if we found a group of friends, interconnected, going through the development of at-home fatherhood together. Send us your stories of visiting the parks, setting play dates, organizing birthday parties, and handling any of the other challenges and mishaps of being MR MOM.
Uh, I man. I turned on stove! Why smell like burned plastic and hair? What pretty brown wall painting! OOOO... do not like smell from that small human. I run way from scary child!
ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!
I would really like to ask them how their sick and twisted minds conjured up this load of diaper fill. Sadly, I don’t have to. I know there are people who still believe this is how bad men are when they take care of children. Sure, there are some men who are not great at parenting.
But only a demented child abuser would fit the character profile they are looking for!
Despite my reservations of this company’s ability to accurately portray at-home dads, I decided to send in my application anyway:
YES, I AM A STAY-AT-HOME DAD.
Yes, I go to a stay-at-home dad support group. Our group is called LinOma Dads and they are an awesome group of guys I and our kids get together with each week. I also will be attending the 17th Annual At-Home Dads Convention which this year is in Washington D.C. on October 6.
I don’t have a personal blog but write for several. I’d like to think some of what I write about is hilarious.
I’ve never caught a high chair on fire. Normally I only cook food, not my children.
I’ve always changed our babies’ diapers regularly so they never sat in their filth long enough to use it as paint.
I have never left my children at the playground because I can remember what they look like and I can count to four.
The sonograms I have seen of our children gave me a giant lump in my throat and caused my eyes to water; they never made me want to hurl.
I am not a dynamic “Mr. Mom.” I am not a man doing a mom’s job at all. I am a dad who happens to be home everyday parenting our four children, ages 10, 7, 5 and 4, and I’m pretty good at it. Their mother is not MIA. She is a very involved and loving mother who works hard to make sure we have what we need as a family.
I have a lot of interesting challenges being an at-home dad of four, but the most difficult is dealing with uninformed people like you who think dads are idiots.
Wonder if I’ll get a call back?