What sort of Dad will I be?

06/26/2003

Volume #4

When you hit that point in the pregnancy where your wife isn’t experiencing morning sickness anymore and she’s just barely starting to show there is a brief moment where your life returns to a pre pregnancy normal though you should be wary of surprise shopping trips. JoAnn had already spent weeks doing research to nail down her choices for baby furniture and even though she knew what she wanted she went through the charade of showing me options and asking my opinion. I tried to act interested, I didn’t even fall asleep as she dragged me from store to store and that was a real chore. Like a good diligent husband I agreed with all her choices for all the same reasoning she put forth, the stuff was good, can we go now? That’s really all you can do at this point is wait it out and work on advanced nesting techniques. All the plans were in motion, she’d picked all the room décor and every weekend we…”when I say we I mean me”, would work on projects in and around our home to prepare the rest of the house for the impending nursery. The problem with our home being some what small was my office was really a walk in closet so now that we had to empty that room. All this stuff had to find a new home somewhere else in our house so all projects were geared at emptying the future nursery. Then we could begin construction of the nursery with a projected completion date by the beginning of August a full six weeks before Ziggy’s estimated arrival date.

While I worked away constructing shelves in the living room round about father’s day I realized this would be the last time this date passed when it was just about me calling my Dad, next year I’d be a father too. It gave me time to pause and think about my own role as a father and I realized my own Dad became a father a lot younger than I am now, I wonder how he handled this? I know he couldn’t have done a lot around the house to help with nesting, as he was never a really a handy sort of guy. Well he was always hand’s on but it was never what you’d call fine carpentry. He was a truck driver with a hammer which suffice to say a lot of swearing was sure to be heard when he had a project on the go. I know I must be doing the job right myself as swearing is one thing I do very well while working on a home improvement projects though I do think I have a little more finesse with my tools than he did at my age. Since retirement he’s gotten quite handy (his word) around their house getting under mom’s feet and messing with things that she figures don’t need messing with. When She made a solo trip to the coast to see us the one saving grace she had while she was here was my father was sick with a bladder infection so he wouldn’t be pulling a “While you were out” and adding an addition with her away for the week.

When I think of my own father I wonder what type of father I will make. As we grow up our prime focus is to not be like our parents but when we take the time to look in the mirror the apple really doesn’t fall too far from the tree does it. I like to think I’m nothing like my father but I see traits about myself that I see in him and let’s face it good or bad it’s who I am.

My father and I had the type of relationship that Harry Chapin sang about in “Cat’s in the Cradle”. Growing up I didn’t see my father a lot as he worked harsh hours, which now that I do the same I understand but at the time you just wonder where’s daddy? Then the weekends were time to relax or maybe we’d go for a daylong road trip, which is something I live for to this day. Nothing exhilarates me more than jumping in the car and driving somewhere, a good road trip no matter what country your visiting is the best vacation I can think of and I have to attribute that to my father.

One of my favorite road trips with my dad had just the two of us traveling to the east coast to PEI and back through Quebec city when I was about twelve or thirteen, I wonder if my father has any idea how much of an impression that trip left. The time we spent fishing at the cottage in Northern Ontario every year from the time I was in diapers till I was in my mid teens left the deepest of impressions on me and I long to go back to that part of the world though I think the scenery had less to do with my memory than who I was enjoying it with I think. All my fondest memories of bonding with my father were on holiday as I have very few fond memories of our home life together. I know we spent more time in the house I grew up in than anywhere else but it seems the routine of everyday life didn’t leave a real impact.

I wonder what sort of things I do now my child will remember when they’re in there mid thirties. Can you plan events that you hope will leave a lasting impact or do you just carry on with life and hope your child doesn’t shut you out? My own parents were never very tactile or outspoken with their feelings but I always knew they loved me though and as a kid I was always looking for that approval from my dad He never really slapped me on the back and said “wait a go” and I don’t think it affected me adversely. I think I’d like to give more verbal positive encourage to young Ziggy than my folks ever gave to me but I don’t think that made them wrong in there parenting technique. I was just the third of three boys so I they’d let me do just about anything by that point since my two brothers had worn them down.

Am I as close to my parents as I’d like to be is hard to say since they live on the other side of the country and for that reason I do actually feel closer to them as we don’t spend much time together so we always try to make it count. I won’t mention the road trip from Jasper a couple years back. Oddly enough my father displayed a trait I’d only ever really associated with myself to that point so it was comforting to know snits run in the family too. I guess if I don’t want Ziggy to be the same I’ll have to cut it out myself…. ok so the kid will have the odd snit doesn’t everyone?

This is my first child and girl or boy I don’t want to mess them up and have them talking to a psychologist years from now blaming everything that’s wrong in their life on their mother or me. I want to do a good job I want to be a super Dad like the one’s you see on TV that can always solve any problem in twenty-two minutes or less but the reality is this is who I am. I am my fathers son and soon enough the cycle will begin again with Ziggy. Will I make mistakes…with out a doubt, will I have regrets for things I do? I’m sure, .…will I be the best father I possibly can? I’ll always try as I know my dad did with me which at the end of the day is all any of us can do. I’ve never been convicted of a crime or done any time, smoked or ever tried drugs and apart from a couple scrapes with the law in my youth due to peer pressure I’ve turned out a pretty solid citizen that contributes to society. You are the person you are because of your parents and I can only hope I can stack up against my own dad as I think he and my mom did a great job with me. That didn’t sound too conceded did it?

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