How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

Happy Finn-Dependence Day!

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Finn and Dad at Zuma Beach

Today is the 4th of July, a day centered around the independent spirit of our country. Our fore-dads birthed a nation that is pretty awesome to behold. Independence day is lovable in many ways. Beyond the obvious patriotism, there’s the awesome fireworks and excellent barbecue. But really, let’s first talk about the EATING.

I just finished (yesterday) a 3 day fast of juices and vitamins and 113º heat in the desert of Palm Springs. I’m 50 pounds lighter now and speak Swahili fluently. I can also walk on water and fly. The idea of pounding 40 lbs of raw meat today (to even myself out), sounds like stuffing razorblades in a water balloon filled with piss. But my mouth still wants to eat.

Finn and Charlie at the Aquarium of the PacificSecond star to the right, and straight on til morning. Me & Finn a few weeks ago visiting the Aquarium of the Pacific Photo by Noah Harald

In true 4th of July style, I’ve gorged myself beyond recognition, pretty much every holiday. It’s funny how we’ve arrived at the idea that holidays mean gluttony. I’d really love it if my mouth and stomach spoke to each other more often. “Hey Mouth, I’m about to clock out here. Could you stop carpet bombing me for 30 minutes and give me break?” They’ve become estranged in the past few years and my intestines have taken the brunt of it, like a child in a bad divorce.

When you’re not eating, the unconscious desire to munch pops up at very specific moments — using your cell phone, three times a day when you’d normally eat a meal, walking, reading, watching TV — pretty much all the time. I won’t bore you with my poop stories… this time. At one point, I heard someone say “we’re all emotional eaters”. At first I bristled at the idea. But the simplicity is, people like to eat mostly for sensation (socially or for yumminess) and sometimes when they’re upset. Why would we eat past the point, if it wasn’t something in our feelings and not based in our physical needs? Fasting reminded me how many times I rock the “LOOK-IN-THE-FRIDGE-ONE-MILLION-TIMES-IN-A-MINUTE” move.

My grandfather in the South Pacific.My grandpa Walter in the South Pacific resting his dogs. My son’s middle initial derives from this gentleman.

But more to the point, I was away for three days at this health program thinking about my wife and son constantly. I had some time on my hands since I wasn’t hoarding food in my stomach. As a parent, I haven’t been perfect about treating my son and my wife with the perfect patience and dignity I know they deserve. For a little while there, when I was with my son, I thought about all the work I had to do, and when I was away from him, I just missed him terribly. He’s become an appendage now. I can’t just amputate him for days or even hours at a time. You try it. No wait. Don’t.

I sat there for three days, a good two and a half hours distance away, and I realized how important, no there’s a better word for it, DEPENDENT, I am to caring for and loving my son.

So while today I’ll be pretending to celebrate our country’s radical move for independence, and in that vein, celebrating my son’s personal independence by letting him run around like a screaming nutcase, I will be celebrating my Finn-Dependence and loving every minute.



19 Responses to “Happy Finn-Dependence Day!”

  1. Anna says:

    Love this post. We often don’t realize how much we LOVE our children until we are away from them and then it makes us realize even more how much more time and energy we should be putting into them versus other less important things. Happy 4th!!

    • charlie says:

      So true. As with any relationship, the rust around the edges can get cleaned off by taking stock of what’s important. It was a good trip. Enjoy Santa Cruz!

  2. Cindy H says:

    Very nicely written my friend. So true, our children are so much a part of us and when in absence a piece is missing, a piece of your heart. Happy Finn-Dependence Day to you and your family! (and thank you so much for sparing us from your poop stories 😉

  3. This is a wonderful post and serves as a reminder to me that there are good fathers and husbands out there.

    My ex husband called me yesterday because our daughter wanted to come home. I had to explain to him that as she gets older and smarter, she tries to use guilt as a way of getting her way when she is being punished. Of course he fell for it but I had to explain she was pushing his boundaries.

    I also have another ex – who calls only when he wants money or needs something. I’m carrying his child but I know for someone so willing to up and leave his family, he doesn’t miss us at all which sometimes makes me sad. Have a great Finndependence Day and thank you for reminding me not to give up hope with all the terrible men that have created an imprint on my life.

    • andy says:

      That’s too bad, not that life can’t be great without “dear ol’ dad.” I’ve got single-mom friends who are testimate to the fact that living a harder but douchebag-free life can be much better that living an easier one with a turd for a husband. Have a happy (yourchild’sname)-dependence day!

    • charlie says:

      Wow. What an incredible compliment and story. Thank you so much for sharing this. Men can be horrible. So can women. It’s our job to find and support the good people we run across. Or run across those bad people with a car or bus.

  4. So sweet! I agree – my time traveling away from my kids helps me to appreciate them all the more. For all the stress that “dependance” can bring, I wouldn’t trade it in either!!!

  5. Stephanie G. says:

    Best post ever. Hands down. 🙂

  6. You’ve nailed it right on the head. I feel the exact way about my two boys. I moved away from my boys for 2 years to complete my schooling and while I know that it was the decision that had to be made, it only reinforced for me my dependence on being their mom. Now, I’m making sacrifices to stay close to them but I can’t have it any other way. I need them as much or maybe more than they need me.

  7. Gena Morris says:

    Love this! Tissue warning next time. Our kids are definitely just like an appendage. We can’t just go without an arm or leg occasionally. My whole being is dependent on my children.

  8. QuicksilverNHS says:

    I live near Palm Springs and suffer through the 110+ degree heat daily. Still, I must say, congrats for making it out alive! Its my 4th summer here and I’ve gone through 2 summer pregnancies. OUCH!

    That being said, my best friend is always telling me I need a vacation from my son. And I can’t figure out why. Who will show me their boogers with pride as though he’d unearthed a new species in his nose? I miss the hugs and the kisses, sure, that’s to be expected. But I also miss giving him food and seeing him go from cranky to happily fed or watching him drift off to sleep after fighting it for an hour. And, best of all, watching him explore the world around him, even if it is just the desert sand between his toes!

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