Dad Discrimination Part 1 – Changing Tables — parentalGRIT

This is why men’s rooms should have changing tables. With more dads taking a more active role in raising children and even becoming stay at home dads, public restrooms need to evolve, too. Or, you know, we women can just get used to seeing grown men changing a child’s diaper in the women’s room.

Please leave comments on the original post (and give parentalGRIT a follow while you’re at it).

There’s no hiding the dirty diaper of a toddler.

via Dad Discrimination Part 1 – Changing Tables — parentalGRIT

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On Being a Dad: Balance

What does all this mean to me being a father (and husband)? How have I changed? How have we changed? Let’s discuss Newton’s Third Law of Motion. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. There must be balance. Something cannot come from nothing.

I am still the same but slightly worn. Kat is like a fine wine – she always looks great. But I know she’s tired. I am tired. You are all tired. Everyone is tired. I think you are all tired of reading this too! We have reached a new balance which will also be shifting as our kids (and we) grow older. I love my wife. I love my children. I love my family. I love my profession. I try to think about how to do things better, how to understand cancer better, how to improve T-cells to better target cancer. I also love my family and try to figure out how to be a better husband and father; how to spend time with everyone and to be present. I imagine there are many people out there that do the same.
I am no one in particular and I live in the same blue ball that is floating through space near a yellow star. But the question still remains: what does this all mean to me?
Life is more than just numbers, cells and molecules. All of the things come together to make a completely new whole. Put more simply, take all the following components water, yeast, flour, sugar, salt, tomatoes, basil pepperoni, mozzarella. Separately they are interesting. When combined, they make a very tasty pizza (see post)! What does being a parent mean to me? What is all this worth to me? 42? It means nothing to me and at the same time, it means everything.
Being a parent, like being a husband, is part of living; part of the circle of life. For me, there are many reasons why I made the choice (together with Kat) to be a dad. While challenging, I get to be a part of the process of caring for a little human being that may one day look back at these moments and hopefully have wonderful memories. I get to be a part of a process that I did not have the opportunity to have. I get to be an example while at the same time growing in ways I never thought of. The meaning is inside me! The meaning is inside everyone. It’s personal. My version of parenthood may be different from yours.

I live for those special rare moments that we all share as a family – good and bad. My son is going to school and I get to watch his transformation. Most important – he really loves to play with me. I love spending that time with him. My daughter is walking! Honestly, I just hope that I really get to enjoy them both while they are this small. The meaning is in the value that we place in the things that we do and the actions we take. I place value on disturbance; on time; on commitment; on soul; on balance. These are my ramblings and thank you for being part of it and for reading. To all: live long and prosper. Until next time. Same bat time. Same bat channel.

-The Husband

Fatherhood Guest: Yesmoreblogs on Becoming a Father

The Lily Cafe is thrilled to welcome Yesmoreblogs as a Father Fridays guest. A wonderful blogger who posts some great book reviews that always have me adding more books to my reading list, he is here to talk a little bit about what it was like to become a dad. Do be sure to check out his blog and take a look at his very interesting book reviews (and maybe add a book or two to your list)!
Well what can I say 😀 the first words come to mine when I was with my daughter when were alone together (her Mam had gone for a wash) I was sitting in the chair looking at this beautiful fragile child (who had the hiccups) thinking Fuck!! I need to grow up and look after this little thing. During the pregnancy I never really thought about being up all night, getting sick on or changing multi coloured poops 😀 I honestly thought this would be easy when my partner was still pregnant. I think the first few days flew by as I was still on a high becoming a Dad. Then it finally settled in but we had a routine going which worked really well from the start.
I never used to drink coffee before my daughter came along but now I’m an avid drinker with anything that has caffeine in it 😂 I’ve never been so tired but you do get used to eat. I even have the odd nap during the day when she was asleep if I was really tired. For the first few months I only ever changed nappies as my partner breast feed. It was 3/4 months after my daughter was born when I fed her for the first time. It was an amazing experience. I’ve feed babies before but it’s not that same as your own child.
Days turn into weeks then months and years. It has been difficult I’m not going to say it was easy when it wasn’t. I think it made me and my partners relationship even more stronger. Your always learning as a parent as there isn’t a parent book you get to leave with from the hospital 🤣
I think I’ve grown as a person becoming a father. It is the best job in the world. My work patterns mean I miss out on a lot but I do make up for it when I get home. I will just go into her room and watch her sleep for a few minutes just so I’ve seen her. I didn’t think I could love something so little so much. Now I’m going to be a dad again in September and can’t wait even though I’ve got a bit more of an idea what to expect this time.
Thank you so much for sharing your fatherhood story with us! And congratulations on your second child!
Don’t forget to check out Yesmoreblogs!

Soul

We are tired (Kat more so than I) – as I imagine many of you and others are out there in the world. We’ve made a conscious choice to be present. So there are many functions and events that we do not currently attend. Simple outings are challenging. Let’s all commiserate as we discuss “going to the market for groceries.” Is the toddler car seat in? Is the baby seat in? Who will take care of one child to prepare him/her to go outside while other parent does the same for the other child? Going down the stairs is also an adventure in futility as our first born can be stubborn (parent’s revenge) and often want to do it entirely, and painfully slow – reframing – he’s learning to go down the stairs. Getting to the car is also an adventure as again the first born want to run – he’s just having fun. The finally, comes strapping in both kids. Let’s just say neither wants to be strapped in. Would you? I can relate. That’s just the beginning of the journey to the grocery store. But let’s be honest – would not trade that for anything. NOTHING. There are some clear limitations as to eating establishments and destinations. More fun outings require serious planning. Timing is often dependent on the willingness of the first and the need to feed of the second. Our definition of date night has been slightly altered for the time being. Life is an amazing journey. I get to do the very things that I missed out on during a time where I was very malleable. Life really is a balancing act. At each stage of life we are getting experience with balance. I’ll let your imagination fill in this very broad statement. I enjoy doing that so I won’t bore you with my meager version. However, I’ll say, in no particular order, that we balance ourselves (if we are lucky), careers (which include stay at home moms/dads), then relationships, then kids (along with relationships). I really do look at things from this perspective – it keeps me sane. Though I will jest a little about sanity because let’s be honest that too is out the window. For me, every aspect of life is about balance, as well as, reframing. Why do we choose this path? Why do we become parents? The joy of birth? That joy is relative especially if you are the mother giving birth. The joy of watching our children grow up? No sleep; limitations on personal freedom; the struggle of getting kids to eat, poop and pea. We are all on this tiny blue ball in an expansive universe. There is joy in all of it. Pain and joy go together. Sadness and happiness. Love and hate. We all search for meaning in the things that we do. The meaning is in each of us – in the process. I have learned so much about thinking of others -especially when it comes to my wife and kids! Though tired, I wouldn’t trade this experience. My family is everything. Both kids are growing up and I get to be the role model I never had. My son told me recently that he misses me when I leave for work. I told him I miss you too. That’s it for now. Until next time – same bat time and same bat channel.

A Starry Night

When I was nine, I wrote my first poem. It was for my dad for Father’s Day because, being nine, I didn’t actually have any money to buy him anything. But I wanted to give him something special. So, I ventured into the realm of poetry writing, not really knowing what it was. I wrote it out on a piece of white paper and created a paper frame decorated with stars of all sizes. I don’t remember much after that, but I know my dad displayed it for a while.

In honor of Father’s Day, here is that poem. And a Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.

The stars are shinning.
They twinkle and seem to tell a secret.

They give a soft
And bright glow.

They seem to glow brighter
As the moon rises higher.

As you watch on a hill
The stars seem to rise
Higher into the night sky.

Some stars are small
While others are big.

This makes a starry night.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Happy Fathers Day! Reflections on Pregnancy Discrimination at Work Places in the US

Hi All! Happy Father’s Day to all! Upon reflection, Father’s day is really, for me, about my children and my wife. My wife does some incredible work with our kids. They are good…but they are also young and learning how to be. Today, in that spirit, I leave you all with a NYTimes story on discrimination against pregnant women. There are several class action lawsuits against some major companies that espouse “family friendly” environments. Being a parent, is something important…as without the next generation, there would be no workforce or voting blocks! But this is really a digression. The article below details what was discussed in several of my post – indirectly – regarding the real double standards that exist. I look forward to learning about the outcomes of these court battles. Being sick and being pregnant are not crimes; it doesn’t mean you will not get work done; it does not mean you are lazy; it does not mean your brain is as good.

Life is a wonderful struggle. However, in this day and age when companies are making enormous profits, they can afford to take care of their employees. To me, this type of discrimination is reprehensible. I almost wonder if society, especially our capitalistic society, should go on a nation wide strike for a single day to remind companies, that without good people, they are nothing. Good people come from all walks of life. Whether you are a single mom or dad, married, divorced…whatever, I wish you a happy father’s day. Please enjoy the article which is linked here. Have a wonderful weekend.

Until next time. Same bat time. Same bat channel! Live long and prosper.

-The Husband

Burkina Boy by Rob Stolzy of Skirmishes With Reality

The Lily Cafe is thrilled to welcome Rob Stolzy from Skirmishes With Reality, a Father Fridays guest. Do check out his blog and give this wonderful man and father a follow. Please enjoy this lovely guest post. I know it made me quite teary eyed.

I know, and can tell you with exactitude, the very instant I became a father…

I don’t mean which particular nanosecond a fatefully victorious sperm hero ended his marathon swim from loin to egg wall. Not speaking about biological fatherhood. He’s not my biological child anyway, for I’m an adoptive parent.

And also, I don’t mean some sort of bureaucratic milestone moment when it dawned upon me that the threshold into reality had been crossed. The international adoption process was lengthy and twisty, some parts zooming by smoothly and giving us encouragement that things are as they should be, others dragging interminably and forcing us to confront the African concept of progress with forgiveness and resignation to fate. (At one point we discovered that a critical adoption minister dawdled for six months without signing a crucial release form because he had political misgivings about international adoption. Picture that: an adoption minister opposed to adoption! This cost us half a year of priceless bonding time.)

Neither do I have in mind the biography-shaking moment when we first received an email dossier of sorts, the essence of brevity, which ‘proposed’ him to us as a match ordained by the wisdom of tropical sociologists whom we never can meet. (You must envision that we were more than two years invested at this point.) Aside from a little, perhaps tiny is the better word, profile included, there was a precious picture of his 2-year-old self. A thing, a face, a soul with a piercingly direct regard, which haunted our imaginations for weeks.

My wife knew immediately, of course. This was her son — and it was an outrageous travesty that he was separated by five or six thousand miles. Meanwhile, I’m trying to introduce pragmatism into the arena… what about the medical records and so on, blah blah blah. She had already connected with him, a convening of spirits, and she recognized his little but strong being, and I had no doubting about any of this. I’m convinced there ensued within her a kind of intense emulation of the hormonal goings-on during actual physical pregnancy, except for her this period of moon-wise feminine poignancy extended something like 15 months in total rather than nine, being not alleviated until she held him.

You cannot dispute with true feminine intuition; you can only stand back supportively, in awe of it and hope to learn something of it’s workings. A woman’s constitution is different; her heart is intimately connected with her living and healing and vitality and sensing. For us men, we are more intensely inhabiting our thinking and our physical being, as a natural given. And so there is a gap between these two locations in us, exactly in the regions where the woman dwells most intently. The inward certitude afforded to her eludes us often, and we can be soothed and washed clean and educated by her being if we simply quiet down in her blessing presence, thus starting to heal this wounded fissure. But we have gifts in kind too, and can connect earth to sky as a sculpture of stability for her, though we do not know how we do so.

So we did wonderful things together during this gestation period. Creating his bedroom, studying adoptive child development, making recordings of our voices stuffed inside teddy bears to send to Africa, shopping for winter clothing for a little boy, learning to cook new things, and we even made a story booklet, with fotos of us and his new house, to be read to him by caregivers at nighttime if they please could. The last page had a wonderful picture of a jet taking off, and underneath we wrote, in French, “and we are coming soon to get you on big airplane — because we love you.” I remember one sad day when my wife was mourning something, and I sat with her. And she explained it was his infancy. She would never know him as 2 months old or 12 months old or even 24 months; and that was a lot of lost time to make up for, he developing far away without adequate lengthy regular hugs and physical warmth.

Despite all this however, I’d still have to admit to you that there was yet something theoretical or not quite real about my fatherhood. I still pursued my interests as I always had, got more deeply involved with playing music and so on. Being a parent was something in the future, something I would comprehend better later on. Though I often thought about his eyes and they lived within me, I did many many things without constant reference to anchoring a family.

Even our first actual in-person meeting did not confer the feeling of being a parent upon me properly. This happened as soon as 2016 dawned upon world history. On New Year’s Day we were off to the airport, flying two legs and a total of 19 hours, Montréal-Bruxelles-Ouagadougou. A little after lunch on Jan 3rd, settled into a lodging with sheltering trees and gardens, a guide accompanied us by taxi to the first meeting at the orphanage. The guide knew him, and liked him, they were ‘pals’. In fact it was he who had long months before presented Burkina Boy with the first gifts from his eventual and strangely-colored parents. It was warming to know that our child valued these gifts jealously and slept with them in his little cot area. We were shown to a waiting lobby in a kind of office building near the entrance to the orphanage compound. Holding hands. Outside a little side door through a window I could see into a broad courtyard which served as one of the play areas, and beyond were the pinkish buildings housing living and eating quarters and workers of various sorts. I expected there would be some kind of formal greeting with director type personnel and discussions about what to expect, guidelines for behavior, tips, etc. when suddenly the side door opened and the unmistakable head of Burkina Boy walked in atop a sturdy self-possessed though somewhat undernourished body, and just behind him an adult minder.

I was a bit too stunned by how unceremonious this was and lost my wits for a second. I was closest to the door; he looked right at me, assessing. He presented a collage of gusto, assertiveness, and controlled fear, as if knowing how serious this moment was. He was about to jump into my lap when he detected my surprise and it not being the emotion he was looking for, he turned his attention immediately to the next nearest adult, my wife. She, being awake, knew what to do and he was soon in her lap while I cuddled and greeted him from the side, the frequent adoption hello. They had gussied him up for the occasion. Shiny white plastic sandals, a new looking striped henley shirt. He’d been schooled for this meeting, but the real him came through at once. He spoke just little, I think “bonjour”. He was splendid, beautiful, and already an individual, his own person. No-nonsense, though we learned not long after that he loves to tease and clown around. Duly smitten I was! But I would not become his father for forty-five more minutes.

It was just a brief informal greeting. We were now to head off across the courtyard to the main building where a small room had been prepped for us to get to know each other awhile in privacy, away from any other adults. This too was deliberate adoptive protocol. Burkina Boy naturally led the way, and I emphasize naturally. He strode purposefully, connected to the ground and who he was. I watched his being move from a few steps behind, impressed. Others came and greeted him, his fellow squadron members, chanting his name as if he won the Super Bowl. Maybe a dozen kids with clamoring intelligent eyes scanned me and huddled round me as I walked, climbing my legs and checking my pockets, asking for hugs or bon-bons and cheering with joy. In a blur we were ushered past some dingy but cared after hallways, a communal eating room, and an interior courtyard to a small door. Then the three of us were alone together inside a small 8-by-8 room, with a small sofa against one wall, a little chair, and a small table against the opposing wall with a plastic box of toys underneath it. It was explained they would leave us alone for awhile.

The peace was refreshing, but the intensity was real. Things went well. We had brought peace offerings. My wife after further hugs and petting and complements about his outfit, took some orange oatmeal cookies out of her bag and gave him one. Food was a serious, serious consideration for Burkina Boy. He was strong, physically adept, but a little short and scrawny for his age, and had a distended belly as do most African adoptive toddlers. He ate it sacramentally. We took turns holding and petting him, asking how he was, telling him we were his mommy and daddy and very happy to be with him, giving little kisses, holding his hand, and slowly revealing the contents of our greeting bag. An inflatable little transparent ball with a map of the world decorating it. He loved this and watched happily as I blew it up, capped it, and handed it to him. There were little hankies, a container of apple juice, a stuffed animal puppet. His eyes were alert, and he took his time settling into things. Sometimes he cooed a phrase in his dialect, the Mooré language, though he also knew some French. His voice was pure watery music.

I moved to the floor and opened one of the stored toys, it was a kids carpet made of interlocking rubber pieces with letters and numbers you had to fit into the appropriately shaped empty places. He eagerly joined in, clearly familiar with the game. He seemed comfortable sitting on my knee partly while doing this. One issue to understand and work through with some young adoptees is their catholic touchy-feely comfort level with new adult strangers. A knock on the door and a kind worker came in bringing Burkina Boy a cup of tou, a kind of yucca porridge, with a little sweetener added, his afternoon snack. It was also subtly timed to eyeball how we were doing, acclimating to one another. All seemed well and she departed. He also received a second ‘health’ cookie at this point and some dried fruit from a sealed package from my wife. Every new package was a delightful adventure to him, and most of them were edible, just as he liked it.

After ten more minutes our guide stepped in. He was a well-meaning tall strong guy from the northern parts of Burkina Faso, devoted to doing uplifting social work for children. Like most Africans, he was naturally community minded and thus thought nothing of bringing in a little girl called Jamila for a quick visit. She lived in the same orphanage, was familiar with our Burkina Boy, and was also scheduled to meet her adoptive parents from Canada within two months. She was about one year older. I was sitting on the floor next to my son, so at eye level, when this happened. I witnessed something brave, beautiful, and revealing at this instant. His eyes watered instantly, in silence. A tear formed slow but sure and rolled down his sturdy cheekbone. I grasped at once what he was feeling. This sweet, sensitive, perceptive child feared that the girl had been ushered into the room as a potential alternative for us to consider bringing home with us. That was his worldview, his perception. Savior mommies and daddies came from far away every so often to be caregivers just for one of them, for one lucky one, to dedicate their hugs and bedrooms and voices and food just for them, forever. And even at his young age he knew not all of his friends would get mommies and daddies. When they came, it was a terrifying pass/fail test. Barely three years old, fretting about whether he was good enough! My wife saw at once too. I took him gently to me, kissed away a tear, and placed my hand atop his shaved head, voice to his hear. I told him in this moment, we are his daddy and his mommy, nobody else’s — and it would be this way forever. In bad French, but his eyes knew. We belonged to him and would always take care of him. My wife dealt with the guide, explaining how important it was that he depart with Jamila immediately.

This was was the single moment I became Burkina Boy’s father, and knew it. As though an unseen force assisted me, looming nearby lovingly, lending me unlimited capacity for grace and compassion in that instant — beyond any of my normal abilities I’d been previously familiar with. I would do anything to protect this boy. To instruct him, to soothe him, to feed him, to understand him. Theory fell away from me like a caterpillar’s cocoon shell, and I knew what true fatherhood felt like and tasted like. We bonded in this; love revealed as action, as willingness, as the gift of attention. As without duration.

We stayed another hour or two. For a long time I played soccer with him in the hallway using the world globe ball. He already possessed a wicked kick, and was gleefully game. I knew this was a rare thing for him: one-on-one adult play. Next day mid-morning we returned to the orphanage and brought him to the rented villa for the entire day and evening, sharing all our meals with him. We had two mosquito netted beds which he loved climbing into and out of. He rapidly learned what the refrigerator was. I remember vividly his first can of sardines — a brilliant idea of my wife to bring along a half dozen of these. Watching him eat made me want to eschew implements forever and use my fingers too. He ate with infinite gusto and care, wiping his fingers assiduously along the bottom of the empty tin in order to collect and ingest all of the oils. Then, once satisfied he’d emptied the container he immediately uttered his favorite word: “encore”. So we gave him a second. We watched him poop in his accustomed manner, running with purpose to a spittoon-like object against the wall near the bed — we had up till that moment been curious as to the object’s utility. He lowered his trousers and crouched over it, then looked around for toilet paper. I carried him around the hotel grounds on my shoulders, investigating every tree and following every lizard. The staff seemed in love with him, though he caused them plenty more cleanup work than usual. Every day the kindly gardener brought him some fruit. He spotted a miniature djembe drum for sale by the vendor at the compound’s walls, and wanted it with a passion. Apparently he’d seen drummers visit the orphanage for special occasions.

Dropping him off at that last night, we explained we’d be back in the morning, and he seemed to have complete faith in this. Next day was it… in our care forever. We lingered about the orphanage in the morning, extended goodbyes to his friends and caregivers. He was the celebrity for the day, no doubt about it. We gave him a little elephant backpack with some of his new important things and he wore it as a trophy. I could not avoid sympathizing with the feelings of the remaining children, though they exhibited honest joy for him. He led us out when the final gate opened, a good ten yards ahead of us, walking down the trail, into the wider world of the rest of his life, fearless, without a clue about what adventures lay around the next corner. About one week later, the three of us flew home. As so many friends told me before hand, my life was completely and irrevocably different. I was soon promoted from father to daddy.

Thank you so much, Rob, for sharing your journey! Happy Father’s Day!

 

Commitment

My first born and I had a good time in gymnastics class. He learned how to do cart wheels, tumbling and bouncing on the trampoline. We got into the car within him strapped to his toddler seat and a request for the “Imperial March” on the radio – which I quickly put on as he had a similar request on the drive to gymnastics. I arrived home seeing Kat hunched over and a tears running down her face. Déja vu! However, this time I was not in the lab. We had company, as my Mother-in-Law was with us at the time. Kat had just returned from the bathroom with some spotting, I called the hospital to expect us and we “hurried” down the stairs to the car. Our first stayed with his grandmother at home. Grandma patiently said to him that Mommy and Daddy were going somewhere and that he would see us later that day. We kissed him good bye and told him we would see him later this day. This was our fourth such visit to the hospital, but this time, the progesterone shots could not keep her in any longer. After fifteen minutes of pushing, our second child was born. She was born at 36 weeks and six days – early but with enough of a gestation period for less concern. She too came out screaming, though this time the Doctor only let me watch from very, very close proximity. After sometime, we were sent to the maternity ward and “rang the bell” on the way. There were many, many bell ringings this day….and night. My son (and his Grandma) met his sister later that night. He saw her and gave her a kiss – I have data supporting this claim! After an evening filled with joy and pizza, I took my son home and read to him as I usually do. When he fell asleep, my Mother-in-Law stayed with him for the night. I returned to the hospital. When Kat and baby girl were released, my daughter’s bilirubin levels were somewhat high. The next day her levels were higher. As with the first birth, I took a few days off and we acquired a photo-blue-light apparatus and blanket to help our little girl with her jaundice. Every time she took a nap was a process – reframing – but she was still home with us. I have been documenting her progress in a similar fashion to my first. She looks nothing like either of us. And she already has an opinion. Our daughter is babbling and cruising much earlier than our son – but she has a role model. Our first had no such examples, only two weird looking tall people who always seem to be around. She’s cute in a hat and loves hugs and especially kisses. She has her mother’s beautiful smile and eyes. Did I say she’s more vociferous then all of us combined? I just feel like that is something. I get my special time every day with her and she’s getting stronger and more curious with each day. My first is her play thing. Reframing – they already play together. That’s it for now. Until next time – same bat time and same bat channel.

Time

I remember when I first met Kat and the laundry list of criteria that I had to meet to be her life-long partner – with a stipulation that she outranks me at home and pretty much everything. But really, everything is equal that is the beauty of it all. On that list we both shared a common interest in being parents – though the number of children was debated for some time but is now firmly at two. We made the decision together to begin a family. This path was challenging: as it began with a miscarriage. So try again we did. Our first was born early. I was in the middle of an experimental run (which luckily I had finished plating and had the flow cytometer ready to go). I got “the call” indicating a level of pain and discomfort that indicated he was imminent, and I quickly set up things to completed, and left the lab in a hurry. He was born at 34 weeks and six days. I witnessed every centimeter of his arrival into this world – up close and personal as I was very curious. When he came out (screaming) the Doctor (a great man who worked with us from the beginning) was no longer concerned about his lung development. He did however have jaundice and was taken away from us that first night. This was one of the most difficult experiences, having a child removed from you due to health reasons. I took only a few days off to help at home with my newborn son, but honestly that was not enough time. Of those few days my son was in the hospital for six of them – more days than I actually had off. There is no instruction manual on how to rear children. There is nothing that really prepares you for a human being that is completely helpless and requires you to provide the means for survival. In our society there really is no expectation for new “fathers,” but there is a lot of hypocrisy suffice it state that out of 190+ countries we (the U.S.A) rank near the bottom. OK. Reframing this position, we all do what we can with the time and resources that we have. I have watched my first born grow into a toddler…into a little boy. Because of my phone I have an excellent documentation of his growth from baby into who he is now. My arrival home is almost always greeted with a screaming “Dada!” which I can sometimes hear from inside my car. He has had to overcome some of his own challenges and I get to be a part of that process – which is teaching me something about patience: something that is essential in this life. He’s into his own things. Every day I challenge myself to be a “watcher” and not interfere (because in the end there can be only one) – to let him be who he is supposed to be. When he wants to put the wheels on the bottom of the car I just take the pieces and help him to place them where he wants. One of my favorite moments (of which there are many) is snuggle time in our green blanket on the couch. I get to be something that I missed out on personally during my development as a child, adolescence and young adulthood. That’s it for now. Until next time – same bat time and same bat channel.

Father Fridays: Disturbance

The Lily Cafe is delighted to present The Husband in the first of a 5 part series on fatherhood.

Biochemical reactions are constantly occurring inside our bodies. Disturbance in these biochemical processes is an important part of life – as likely without disturbance there would likely be no life as we know it.

For example, when looking at things from the cellular perspective, the contact made by proteins on the cell surface of the sperm and egg trigger a violent chemical reaction that prevents all other sperm from entering that egg. Simultaneously, sperm entry into the egg triggers the biochemical reactions that drives cell division – and the beginning of a new, and potentially viable, very early embryo.

Being a father, or dad, or whatever “title” is given these days when one has children to take care of, significantly alters the way in which one approaches the world, life, the universe (paying homage to Douglas Adams) and everything in between.

I read some posts about the difference between “dad” and “father” and the apparent divergence in definition between these words. Apparently, “a dad is present” while “father is a biological sperm donor.” We’ll get back to this one in a bit. Additionally, being curious at the definition of a “good father/dad,” I also researched to see if I even met those criteria – I fell short in some if not many of these criteria.

Having read all of these opinions, I can see some of the many perspectives that people provide about what they believe to be the ultimate definition of “dad” or “father” and what, exactly, is a good one.

I’m going to avoid falling into this gambit and just attempt to relate to all as a parent. Personally, I don’t subscribe to titles because circumstances can dictate how we conduct ourselves in our lives. And it is there, how we conduct ourselves, in those choices that we make, in those circumstances, whether they be difficult or not, is what I think begins to define the very complex nature of being a parent.

For me, most of my existence has revolved around a single entity – science. Having lacked a positive male role model during my early through young adult developmental period – I devoted my existence to understanding life from a very fundamental level. This path, one that I truly love, has asked a lot of me in terms of time, commitment, and soul. Of these I think time is the one that is the most valuable – because let’s be honest, you NEVER get it back when it is gone. I love this path so much that I have been doing it for almost 20 years. I have to admit that my view of the world has changed since becoming a parent and it has affected many choices that I have made along the way.

Now, with each day, I try to reach a balance. Sometimes I fail and other times, it’s great. This disturbance (which is a terrible word with terrible connotations, which is not what is intended) compels me to attempt to reach equilibrium. This is a tremendous challenge that I readily accept. Complicating things more, being a parent is now juxtaposed with being a scientist and a husband – though there is no contest with regard to which is more important and is first on the list. I’ll let you try and figure this one out as I proceed (Hehe!). I’ll continue this exploration next time – same bat time and same bat channel.