Sunday, June 15, 2008

On Fatherhood

I am writing at the time of the predawn day of the now iconoclastic day of fatherhood, Fathers Day.
My whole life, as far as I can remember, has revolved around the promise of fatherhood. I have always wanted children, as many as a wife would allow me to father. Although the family that I was raised in was not entirely huge per say, four children, my parents came from prototypical Irish Catholic families of the mid 1900's. My mothers family was the holy grail of fatherhood to my paternal instinct, thirteen children. I remember going to my maternal grandfathers birthday celebration in the 1990's, and during the ubiquitous family photo, I could not even imagine how it would be to have so many pieces of yourself at large in the world, but I envied him.
My own Father is my hero. He is all I ever wanted to be. He is the kindest, strongest, and most generous man I have ever known. He is not the most outspoken man in the world, but he can say more in a look or gesture than most can say with a whole dictionary.
He gave me life.
He gave me an example of manhood.
I was never the supreme athlete he was, but he never made me feel bad about it.
My father, although possessed of a higher education (political science), is a house painter and a handyman, like his father was. It was the best way to support a growing family in the 70's-80's. But I can tell you with out a shadow of doubt that there is no smarter painter/handyman out there.
He taught me that Fatherhood is sacrifice. Once you bring a child into this world your world changes; it is not about you, it is about your creation and how you can make the world better for it.
Children are the single hardest and greatest thing in this existence.
For so long you live in a world that revolves around yourself. Its a nice world, you know it like the back of your hand, but you crave something more. Next comes the love of your life, who alters that singular world view and helps you see that there is more to life than yourself. That first divide of love can be hard for some who find it much easier to live singularly but for most it brings even more love than you thought you were capable of. This results in a production of two loves, a child. I can honestly say that there is no single joy in life that can compare with that of your own child.
The birth of my first daughter was not exactly the death of me, but it was kind of. In her was the new me. I am not the same person I was four and three quarters, as she says, years ago. My life is her life. I still have my hopes and dreams but they are now entwined with hers. I live through her. My son and new daughter was and are the same.
I remember having a conversation with my wife before the birth of my son about how I could not imagine how I could love another like my daughter to which she wisely responded "before me, you didn't know how it is to love someone else and yet your love grew. Then we had our love together which was wonderful, yet it expanded again for our daughter and just like it was unimaginable how love could be made better by her, it will be made larger again for him." Now that is not an exact quote but it was the gist of the conversation, but the point is that love has no boundaries or limits. Love is ever growing.
I love being a father. It is what I always wanted to do. Looking back at my families life, even with the trials of having thirteen crazy children, I always will envy my grandfather for the unbelievable amount of creation he loved and enjoyed, I just cant seem to convince my wife to let us house our own baseball team. With the price of living nowadays I cant imagine affording a quartet!
Enough of this crazy, wandering Fatherhood post.

1 comment:

Radcliffe said...

MMM, since my Dad passed on I feel his loving embrace and watchful eye, as when I was a boy.