Posts Tagged ‘fatherhood’
The days are short and the nights shorter still. The tree is dead and slowly drying. Bottles of wine come in one door and out the other. The shopping is hung by the chimney with care. Sugarplums dance for dollars and whisper sweet things to those that long to hear them. My wallet, the victim of yuletide vampires, turned to dust in the morning sun. Receipts fell like ash and snow.
The boys are quick to give and quicker to receive. They are fast with patience. They kill suspense with sticks and stones. The fight is sudden and seldom fair. Between their laughs fit so many cookies.
They are their own Advent calendar. Each new day opens like arms.
Holidays are extreme in their excess. It is not just the too many gifts, for the happiness is grander, the sadness all the sadder, and the music of a thousand elevators is pumping through my stereo. My kids deserve everything, and there are those that need it so much more.
We spread joy as thin as we can.
The tree is a time machine. It is a wormhole to Christmas future and Christmases past. Each twinkle of light a star dashing by. Each ornament a moment on a string. There is a glow and bits of reflection, and in the pieces of glass there I stand. I am a man, a boy, a father, a son. The tree is strung with memories and those that we are making. I forget myself for wonder. The whiskey warms me like a fire. Their songs I’m softly singing.
The boys sleep where they fall. I carry them through the night and place them all snug in their beds. When they wake in the morning it will be where they always are, safe and sound, and one day closer to missing the wait. One day closer to it beginning again. They will want hugs and breakfast.
These are a few of my favorite things. I wrap them tight in brown paper and time.
This post is sponsored by Procter & Gamble, makers of such fine products as Tide and Downy. All opinions and stories are my own.
They are usually the last one out, as if the thought of leaving would never have occurred to them had not everyone else left just moments before. The time was good—good, clean fun, and they never considered it ending until the moment that it did.
The stoppage was fairly sudden, but the warnings were there for those that cared to notice. For example, somebody turned the water off. Also, the bubbles had popped from every corner of the sky. Then the lights were on, and they didn’t have to go home, but they couldn’t stay here.
I had only paid for one cycle, and I was running out of quarters.
As it is, they hid as long as they could, beneath the threads and folds of fabric, and had they hung on they would have never been found, at least not until a small hand fell to its old ways, but they lacked the strength to do so—they let go, one by one, and the hem was pulled away.
These are the stowaways among us, and the din of their fall against empty, cold metal betrays them every single time.
“Look,” I say to the boy nearest me. They are interchangeable in this respect. Both are equally guilty at all times, and neither tries to deny it. Rather they look as instructed and their eyes light up when I pull their toy from the bottom of the washer—a thing so loved it was kept tight in tiny pockets and forgotten to the hamper as little boys fell asleep and the garments of their companionship became the fortress of their solitude.
When the toys wake-up the world is spinning, and the tide rises on scents of clean breeze and ocean mist. This is the ride we opened with. This is the good, clean fun.
They might be a building brick or a stuffed, green frog, but that is not what defines them. The toys find their meaning in the love of a little boy, and frankly, they needed the bath.
The moments like this are fairly common. I do most of the laundry in our family and the boys cause most of the messes. Together we have spent hours in the laundromat whistling away grass stains and folding up memories. Then we rinse. Then we repeat. The occasional toy making its way into the wash creates such a reaction of joy that I have considered planting them there myself; however, I have come to realize that a reunion is just a fresh layer on existing happiness, and the story of the stain is in the making of it.
The toy has been found, the clothes are clean and wet, and the boys are loads of laughter. The dryer isn’t going anywhere.
- This month, Tide and Downy are celebrating the unique way that each dad does things
- Everyone has a story about what makes their dad uniquely him. Tell us your story using the hashtag #DadsWay on Twitter
- For every tweet sent out with #DadsWay, Tide and Downy will donate $1 to the National Fatherhood Initiative
I walk a line called fatherhood and my balance is precarious at best. Toes fall over edges smoothed with kind words and late night hugs. Feet slip upon surfaces left wet by tiny tears and early morning accidents.
It is a path that my father walked before me, and his before him, but the scenery is vastly different and always changing.
It is a path that my peers, friends, and men everywhere stand upon, some more firmly than others. Yet the path is my own. It started where I started and it will end where I end. There will be steps backward and jumps ahead, but it will never be alone. There is no harness for fatherhood and there is no net. We are daredevils on a tightrope and to fall is to fail, and to fail is not an option.
I am every man. I am the Great Santini. I am Atticus Finch. I am Cowboy Gil, as in guil-ty.
I have retraced steps to find things dropped hours after their loss and minutes into the crying. I have walked blocks from strange places to find substance in the hours where no child should be hungry. I have looked into my son’s face and said things that embarrass us all.
I have slammed doors and stood behind them as you cried yourself to sleep.
I have slept in your bed, curled around you like a blanket and felt my legs grow slowly numb.
I heal your wounds and you fix me when I am broken. We meet in the middle and find much happiness there.
The line is not straight. It loops and knots and forks, and maps are useless and hard to fold. Road signs consist of frowns and smiles, and we choose our adventures accordingly.
We run, we skip, and we waltz upon it—watching our steps in equal turn with refusing to do so. Some jumps require both feet.
When we pass each other we nod and wave. We tell tales of where we are going and stories of where we have been. And in the distance there are children laughing loudly and growing way too fast, each breath a beacon and a breadcrumb, guiding our footsteps to the place that we call home.
A version of this post first appeared in 2010 on DadCentric.
If I’ve learned anything from the wonderful video that Philips Norelco has created to showcase the New Face of Dad (without product placement!) it’s that most of us would be better off making wonderful audio. Don’t hate us because we’re not pretty.
We, meaning Jim from Bobble Head Dad, Clay from Dad Labs, Jon from Blurbomat, and Seth, The Didactic Pirate are, however, a good group of guys doing our best to support fatherhood, bust stereotypes, and love our kids with everything we’ve got. I’ll take that over good looks any day.
The video can be viewed below (or on YouTube):
And that’s not all! The guys spent countless hours (really) sharing their stories for you (they’ve been edited down), the audience, and they are touching, funny, and great examples of the new face of dad, which, as far as I know, is not proprietary.
Philips Norelco and Doug French, the man that helped make it all possible, hosted a Twitter party last night to launch the video, and the response was humbling in its support. That’s a good thing for dads.
I want to thank Philips Norelco for sponsoring this post and the videos above. If you are on the Facebook you should visit them and give them some Like.