Chronicles of The Anonymous Dad: 0 to 18 in 60 Seconds

As it relates to your kids, the window of youth doesn’t stay open forever. As a matter of fact, parents of teenagers say that the window has already been slammed shut on them. For those dads who may not have as much time with their kids as the moms do, you need to “take it all in”. I know that sometimes minutes may feel like hours and a few hours may feel like a full day, but just like your child was not in diapers forever, they will not be a child forever either. Do you sometimes really wish that you could have them crawling or totally dependent on you, just like that special memory or snapshot we all have in our mind of our babies?

My snapshot is of my kids standing at a window overlooking our backyard. They could barely see over the windowsill and even so, they were using it to be able to stand up. That feels a little bit like yesterday, when in fact the time counts in years. What is your snapshot?

For those younger dads, it can be hard to manage it all: work, family, marriage (and yes, this is sometimes the natural order of priorities, admit it). The fact is: It doesn’t have to be. The difference is perspective. If you look around, even with all the commotion out there, we (Americans) have it pretty darn good. We’re not covered in volcanic ash like Indonesia; we’re not living in squalor like Haiti, and our families live in relative safety compared to most. So, putting all or that into perspective,

  1. When you put your kid to bed at night, remember how special that was for you when you were just a kid and know that those types of nights are truly limited.
  2. Document the snapshots (1 per week) in a memoir (fancy term for word document). 10 years from now when you go back and read, it will make your day!
  3. Take pictures and often, and then put them in an album and leave it out to look at.
  4. Don’t just follow the Joneses. You don’t have to do Sunday soccer at the age of 3. Instead, go feed the ducks on a Sunday afternoon at a local lake.
  5. Go in their bedroom when they are sleeping, look at them, and think about their life and where they are at today: Young, impressionable, naïve (which can be a good thing), numb to some of the harsh realities that many families are currently encountering. It is a beautiful time in life for them. Dads, do your best to share it with them.

When your mom and dad tell you to appreciate this time and to “stop and smell the roses”, think about it. That may be some of the simplest, yet best advice they could ever give. And, in 60 seconds or 18 years, whichever comes first, you may be giving that same advice to your son or daughter.
‘Til Next Time,
The Anonymous Dad

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