I became a father later than most.
I wasn’t ready when I was a younger man. At 21. At 31. Lord knows. My son came into the world at the right time. After I had answered some questions. After I had lived a young man’s life.
He came into the world, my world, at the exact time I was ready to be a dad.
I’ve had the incredible gift of being able to raise my son. To be involved in my son’s first two years. To be present in his presence. It’s a reaction, I know, to being raised by two parents who loved me beyond measure, but who had to work all day. It’s a reaction, I know, to having had to figure things out on my own. It’s a reaction, I know, on the kind of father I want to be.
“Oh boy, is he a mini-version of you!”
I hear that a lot. I sort of love it. Although I see my wife in his features, in his complexion, I love that others can see me, too. It’s the highest compliment for the dad of a little dynamo who runs around with gerbil cheeks and mischievous eyes. A bit of karmic justice, a reality check, when his temper gets the best of him, when he squeals when he doesn’t get his way, when he won’t do as told.
Where does he get that from?
I have no idea.
The Heart of the Matter
It’s 2017. Seventeen years after the second millennium. The time….Where? How?
It doesn’t matter.
What matters is now. And the nows that follow.
I see the genius in life. How it’s constantly renewing itself. Improving upon past models. How it knows when you’re ready for some things and not others. And how it’ll sometimes push upon you these things prematurely and how other times it’ll just wait.
Best Late Than Never
After a few hours of deep work, I hear the familiar jingle of keys and door opening. Then that sudden burst of energy, alive and fully charged, hits me.
I see my son. Smell him. Fresh from a play date with his mom at the park. His sweat scents his hair, his skin. I take deep breaths. I did and do inhale. I love him more everyday, if such things are possible.
He leaps into my lap and I ask him:
“Did you have fun?”
“Fuuuuuuuun?” He echoes.
“Mmhmm. Did you have fun with umma?”
I can feel his heartbeats thumping in my forearms, my hands cupping his. I examine them. They seem larger, but still tiny. Both at once. He can cup things so much better than I could. A much firmer grip, he has. A better design, this one is.
He puts his head on me. Content to let me dote. I soak it all in. As a magnet magnetizes, I feel young again by being near him. He improves me. If youth is wasted on the young, consider me drunk.
This is the best life, even if, maybe because, it came later than most.