Friday, February 20, 2009

Fatherhood Fridays: Marriage and Raising a Teen

Wow Friday is here already? I’m up early, can’t sleep again, so I thought I’d get a start on this, finishing it up later in the day.

I’m not even sure what I’ve posted this week, tis been a blur of activity. I do see a pattern with my blogging. “If it ain’t a themed-day I pretty much don’t post”. Well I’ll rectify that and get back to rambling on about something every day. Honest and for true I will.

And one more time, let me just say, it’s so very nice to be able to post2 again from work. Okay I’ll stop beating that happy horse. Blah, blah … you’re glad to be back Rob .. so blog already :)

Well on this Fatherhood Friday I wanted to write some about how this particular dad feels about venturing into the teen years with my son, as well as, being a new dad again.

Easy part first. The new dad stuff. I think that’s gonna work out fine. I did have trouble adjusting to it at first. I don’t shift gears very fast. Heck not cause I’m an insensitive jerk, but because the pregnancy is a big deal to me too. And a big adjustment. I hear you out there .. “what does he have to complain about, he’s not the one who’s pregnant?”. To that I will say a resounding … shaddup you.

Guys have every right to their opinion on pregnancy just as do women. In my marriage, and yes Heather reads this and I know she’ll back me up; we have equal parts in everything and respect each other’s opinion. My thoughts and feelings are important to Heather on this and I have every right to voice them, even though Oprah wouldn’t like my wife’s view on that.

Society today treats men as though we don’t have a right to voice our opinions in “women’s issues”. What a load of crap. Like racism, if most people could get over their on-going gender war issues, we could live a lot more peacefully. Neither the mom nor the dad has it harder than the other one in a good marriage. Marriage is a team sport. If someone in a marriage is having a consistently harder time with something, then some open, honest and patient communication is a good cure-all.

I said all that because it was another thing I had to get over in my marriage and Heather had to help me. From my upbringing, I really didn’t think I had much say in the pregnancy thing. I had no “right” to worry or be distraught by anything. A man’s job is to silently and strongly provide for this family and to display feelings or doubts in regards to his job was to show weakness. That’s how I was raised.

Again. Crap.

So there were some things I went through. A new sense of responsibility that at first I rebelled against internally. A sense of fear. A sense of guilt for having those feelings. Then a further sense of aloneness because nobody really “got” what I was going through (it really sucks being a misfit). Guys by the way, generally speaking, are oddly enough NOT the ones to talk to about “guy fears”. They slough it off; tell you to suck it up, call you “old man”, really useless stuff like that.

Not very helpful when you’re hurting .. and none of which I needed to hear.

My best pal did help me out a lot and encouraged me to keep the lines of communication open with Heather. I did. And glory be, it worked. But it wasn’t easy for me to talk about because of my upbringing. So as I usually do, I sent Heather a long email. Technology is great for our marriage.

You see when one of us doesn’t know how to get out what we need to say “in the moment”, we often will email each other. This allows us to get our thoughts in order and have a much more meaningful, focused conversation later. It really works for us. And following my bestest buddies’ advice I did it again this time, and the email-conversation-kicker-offer, worked great.

Heather validated my feelings, as only she can. And hopefully I’ve been there for her when she needs to talk. I hope I have been there for you dear. I do try. If I haven’t listened well though, then pull me aside and gently correct me like you usually do.


Daddyhood is going to be fun again. There are some really neat things I look forward to in this second run at this whole child-rearing thing. I think Josh and I will get closer during this time too, which has been happening anyway since he seems more grown up every day.

And that brings me to the teen years part of my post but I’m outta time.

Maybe I’ll write more about the teen years in another post. But for now let me say I’m proud of my son. I couldn’t love him more. I remember sitting in the hallway of the hospital right after he was born. After all the process, worry, and unknown of watching Heather give birth .. feeling so strong but useless at the same time, I was completely drained, devoid of anything and feeling utterly hollow . So I’d gone out to the hallway to let others visit with Heather and so I could think for a moment.

I suddenly felt a near physical change on the inside of me as all that love clicked into place for me. I’ve never lost it and never will. That first night as Josh slept in my arms, in the chair I was in next to Heather’s hospital bed, I quietly whisper-sang him a song of encouragement, telling him all the things I hoped for him in his life. It was 2:30 in the morning. I'll remember that night as long as I have breath.

As we enter these teen years, he and I, it makes me sad because I know that someday not all that far off, he’ll leave to be on his own. I’ll see how that hope I sang to him in that song and the hope I tried to give him over the years with my actions; how much of it is revealed in the man he will become.

Also as we enter these years, I’m also happy. Very much so. Because we are going to get to have more man-to-man talks. Share more mature feelings. And there are so many things I have to tell him yet. I can’t wait for the next moment sometimes.

I’m glad I’m here to see it all. And I’m glad I’m here to help. There is no place else I’d rather be.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Thank you so much for posting all of this! I am so glad to see a man, [proudly] MY man, stand up for his "rights" and feelings. Thank you for standing by me and listening, and yes, you do listen. I continue to pray God gives us the wisdom and understanding, as well as the fortitude, for the years ahead - both teen and toddler. :) I love you, dear.