As snowflakes softly fall to the earth
As songs of birds give this day birth
I think of you
Your tender touch
Your warm embrace
The love I can see
Upon your face
I know your quiet smile
Your heart so like a child
I get lost in your sapphire eyes
Your gentle lingering kiss goodbyes
My body can feel you against mine
Passion fills my heart, divine
Your sweet love, your tenderness
Your ever present sweetness
The moon chases away the sun
Another cold day is done
I think of you
The snowflakes now are just a trace
I walk from your final resting place
The tears I wipe away
I will go on another day
Eight years since you went to heaven
The sorrow I feel does not lessen
How I wish you were here
How my days are hard to bare
But with each tick of the clock
The closer I know we will walk
Until then in all that I do,
I think of you
“If I have kids,” my fifteen-year-old declared to me the other day, “I’ll just adopt. There are lots of kids who need a good home anyway.”
When I was fifteen, I would have said the same thing. I would have said it ten years later too.
My wife and I weren’t sure we wanted kids. She would eventually, I knew, but I didn’t know if I ever would. I babysat a couple boys after school when I was in high school and it was mostly a disaster. They never listened to a thing I said and I didn’t know how to make them. In college, I coached soccer for first graders. They never listened to me either. I was easy to manipulate (yes, I was frequently outsmarted by six-year-olds). I didn’t know how to be authoritative. I had no idea how to control them.
While my wife was much more confident about my parenting abilities, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to be a father until my daughter began sucking on my finger within the first hour of her life.
I now am the father of four children and have been their primary caregiver their entire lives. How did that happen?!
The ‘how’, however, is not nearly as important as the ‘why.’ And this is what I needed to explain to my fifteen-year-old.
It is certainly true that we love kids that do not have our DNA. Many of our kids’ friends are equally loved by us. A couple even have our garage code and permission to come in our house whenever they want, eat our food and watch our Amazon Prime like every other member of our family. Our capacity to love does not require our DNA.
There is something special, though, about passing on your genes. We see our facial features, mannerisms, interests and character, as well as those of our parents and grandparents, in each of our kids. We knew them before they were born, before they were conceived in fact, because they are us. Our individual lives are very short in the grand scheme of things, but children, children of our flesh and blood, will live beyond our years. Their children will too and their children’s children into, hopefully, eternity. Our children make us immortal.
My fifteen-year-old was not terribly impressed with this explanation. I probably wouldn’t have been at that age either. Achieving immortality seems egotistical or narcissistic or selfish. We chose not to help any of the children already born who have no parents able to care for them and just added our own to the world.
There absolutely is some narcissism involved. Seeing me as them makes me feel like I am growing up again but with the experience of forty-plus years. Also, a sense that I will never completely die as my DNA and, hopefully some of my wisdom, passes from generation to generation, is intoxicating. By having my own kids, I will live beyond my death.
However, there is another important reason for having my own children. Like I mentioned earlier, I knew my kids before they were born. I have a unique understanding of them that only my wife and I do. This allows us to raise our children with an innate ability to mold them. We have some idea how to talk to them, motivate them, and discipline them because they are us. With our own children, we have the building blocks there at the beginning. They already have the character we want them to have because it is hardwired from us. We can then build from that solid foundation with instinct as to how to help them become successful and compassionate adults. If we succeed, our kids will be the ones out there changing the world and making it a better place.
My dad always tells me “I hope you make fewer mistakes than I did.” That is kind of the goal of humanity. We want life to move forward, better than before. By having our own kids, we get to be a part of that grander plan.
Obviously, I’m biased. My kids are great kids and growing (faster than I’d like) into incredible human beings. They will change the world. I get to be a part of that.
And I get to be immortal.
After publishing this, several of my followers on twitter pointed out that I seem to suggest here that having your own children is superior to adopting. I see how it can be interpreted that way. My piece intended to explain how I felt about having my own biological kids. In no way did I mean to suggest adopted children are less desirable. It's not what I believe at all. Every adopted child is a special gift to their adopted family and I admire parents who adopt these children. I apologize for suggesting adoption is not a desirable option. That was not my intent.
Originally published 4/15/2010 on Momaha.com
Dads are like superheroes: if there’s a problem, we can swoop in and solve it!
Frisbee stuck on the roof…
POW! Got it.
Doll house broken…
THUMP! Kissed and bandaged.
Training wheels needed to be taken off the bike…
Training wheels needed to be put back on the bike…
SPLAT! No problem.
We dads can get to feeling invincible sometimes; like there’s no problem too big or too small that we can’t fix. We can feel like superheroes in the eyes of our children! But then our child gets really sick or really hurt and we discover there is a lump of kryptonite in our pocket.
Last week, our 22-month old, Rachel, had minor surgery to put tubes in her ears. She did great going with the doctor to the operating room and didn’t cry or fuss at all. About 10 minutes later, the doctor emerged and told us everything went well, but warned us that she would be very crabby when the anesthesia wore off.
The doctor assured us that she wouldn’t be in any pain, but more like mad from getting woken up right in the middle of the good part of a great dream.
Well, I’ve dealt with many a cranky kid in my 7 year career as an at-home dad so I was ready to swoop in and…
DA DA DA DAAAA! Get pushed away?
Somehow a giant piece of kryptonite had been shoved in my pocket and I was completely powerless to help our little angel. She wanted nothing to do with me, even to the point that my wife had to take her out of the recovery room and down the hall so Rachel couldn’t see me because every time she looked at me she started screaming and crying and flailing.
I am the one who is with her almost every hour of every day. I cuddle with her, read her her favorite stories over and over, kiss her ouchies and have to carry her with me anytime I try to leave a room without her. But on this one day when she needed comforting, I was the last one she wanted.
It was almost a surreal experience listening and watching our angel cry while being utterly powerless to help her. I paced back and forth in the recovery room doing everything I could to not rush over to her and hold her and make her feel better.
When I started staying home, I had thought our kids would bond with me more than the average dad. I thought that would mean that they would want either mom or dad when they were really sick or hurt instead of just mom as it is in most traditional families in which moms are usually the ones who are home more of the time.
I learned last week, as I have countless times before, that no matter how much I am with our children and how great of a dad I am, they still prefer mom when they don’t feel well.
And I have to accept the fact that sometimes there is kryptonite in my pocket.