My life prior to Ava and Vinny seems so distant. Who I was, what I did, my attitude, my personality, my hobbies – pretty much everything about me – seems like a different life. Having Vinny has only brought me (us) deeper down the rabbit hole as my memories of pre-fatherhood Mike are disappearing faster than a cake at fat-camp.
But you already know what I’m going to say next. “…but I love my kids. Wouldn’t give them up for anything.” Most parents always say it after they bitch about their kids or reminisce about their glory days (cue Bruce Springsteen in your head). They tag it on there so they don’t look like selfish, unloving people. I truly mean it though…honestly…no, really…seriously…stop thinking that…I REALLY mean it!
Yes, I do miss a bit being able to go any place, any time I/we wanted (movies, day trips, sporting events, concerts, restaurants, bars, etc.). I do miss the extra money we had. I do miss the large amounts of peace and quiet that filled the house at any time.
But you know what? I say screw that shit. It’s for the birds. Michelle and I discussed it just the other day. We had extra money and we spent it on shit. We would go out and shop because we were essentially bored and had the money on hand. So we bought a bunch of things we didn’t need and that just cluttered the house. In retrospect we could have saved better, but we were in our early to mid-twenties and were stupid about money then.
Screw bars and restaurants. Nine dollar beers taste like piss and if you spend $28 on an entree it shouldn’t be able to fit in the palm of your hand. Now that we have kids, the times we do get to go to these places actually is more special. We appreciate the time more. We appreciate our time together more.
Don’t screw sporting events. I like them and I like taking my kids to them even more. I look forward to answering their questions and teaching them about the game. “Daddy, why did that man elbow that other man in the face?” “Because honey, that bad man took a shot at Crosby and he should have known better.”
Screw concerts. I hate crowds. I hate noise. I hate high school kids who just started listening to the band last week and dance like idiots in their hippy wannabe outfits. Plus the record sounds better and I don’t want to hear any new material. New material sucks, just play the songs that got me to buy this ticket.
And I can go on and on, but you get the gist of it. I never was one for the single life or the party scene. Neither was Michelle. That’s why when we started dating we both knew we for sure wanted kids. So we got what we asked for. Making them was fun. Having them around can be fun, lots of times it’s not. I will say this, however, I am amazed on a daily basis.
Take Ava for instance. Just turned two and she is already able to count up to 10, recognize and understand many different shapes, colors, objects, and people. She is able to talk in sentences and hold simple conversations. She is able to do things, something new each day I feel, that we don’t remember ever teaching her or showing her. She is figuring out things on her own. At this point I’m bragging, I know, but I am honestly flat-out amazed at her development. It blows my mind.
I’m no expert, but when I was two I would bet I couldn’t do half those things.
Vinny is following suit. He is just over three months old and is already able to roll over, grab at things, has had full control of his head since month one, can stand while we hold him and responds to people and other stimuli. That doesn’t sound like much, but for three months it ain’t bad at all. Once again I’m bragging, but this is my blog and my kids, so it’s what I tend to do.
These past two years have been the hardest of my life. Because with kids, you don’t just deal with kid problems. We have also dealt with money issues, job issues, house issues, and relationship issues. All either directly or indirectly related to our new life of parenthood.
These past two years have also been the most rewarding. My kids have made me a better person. They have bonded Michelle and I in a way we never imagined. They make me laugh on a daily basis. I am playing with toys again, which is awesome. Time away from my family is almost physically painful. At work, all I think about is going home to them. Seeing their faces. Giving kisses and hugs. Cuddling in bed. Watching them play. I can’t tell you how great it feels walking through the door and hearing Ava announce that “Daddy’s home!” or “It’s daddy!”.
All that other stuff prior to the kids was just a way to kill time. Something to distract you. At least it was for me, to each their own. Kids are the real thing. They make me feel fulfilled. I look at them and I know I did something right, something good. Something to be proud of.
I will leave you with this. Do you want to know what the best feeling in the world is (besides the baby making feeling)? The best feeling is knowing your kids look to you for things such as guidance, protection, love, and approval. That feeling when something scares them, they come running to your arms, because to them you are the only one in the world who can protect them. Because you’re Dad or Mom, and you can take care of anything, especially the scary things and you will always make everything alright.