Today concludes my fourth full year as a father. Full is a pretty accurate term to describe these four years.
My wife asked me if my idea of fatherhood has changed over the last four years. She asks me a lot of questions like that. Has my idea of marriage changed? Have my feelings about teaching changed since I started? Would I choose the same city, career, life, etc., if I had it all to do over again? Lots of big, often hypothetical, questions.
I’m trying to remember what my idea of fatherhood was back on June 3, 2012. I know I was excited to meet our child. I know it appeared to Lindsay that I was hoping for a little girl, and she’s probably right. Hmm. Maybe that’s one way my idea of fatherhood has changed. I never thought I could be so over the moon about having a son, and then having another. I can’t imagine life without either of them.
There are plenty of other things that have changed.
My ideas of relaxation and entertainment have changed. Books before bed, library time, park visits, imaginative play, gardening, and PBS Kids have replaced many louder, more expensive forms of entertainment.
My expectations for privacy have changed. If I want to use the bathroom alone, I’d better get up before the rest of the family.
My bedtime has changed for the earlier.
My bodily inertia has become a bit more powerful. Now, if I lie down, I’m almost guaranteed to fall asleep very quickly. And if I sit, it’s just a little harder to get back up.
My threshold for getting all teary-eyed has changed. Now, any video of a soldier returning home to his family, or a small child doing anything sweet, or any sad story about parenting gets me a bit weepy.
I think my tolerance for gross things has also changed. I’m pretty sure I never found the cuteness in anyone’s poop, boogers, farts, or smelly feet. But, they totally don’t phase me with my kids.
It’s a good thing I’ve become more cool with the earthy aspects of family life. Within the last hour, I’ve rested my elbow on wet toddler vomit and stepped into a moist pile of fresh cat puke. Side note: I was carrying a bag of recently-scooped cat turds to the garbage when I stepped in our feline’s vomitous mass. The toddler vomit is still on the recliner armrest. It’s doing a really nice job of soaking in.
Also still on the armrest: my elbow.