I love my kids.
Emily turns to me every now and then to say “We have kids. We are ‘Emily and Shawn and the kids.’” I gently correct her: “Shawn and Emily and the kids.” And then she rolls her eyes at me so hard she sprains her forehead.
My son hasn’t pooped in a day.
My daughter, who drifted off to sleep while I played soft songs on my guitar last night, shouted at me to put my guitar away and belted out “Itsy Bitsy Spider” at the top of her lungs over my version of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” tonight. Eventually I gave up and started accompanying her with a blues riff.
My son is sleeping with his mouth open in a still swing, thinking hard about soft and how good it will feel when he finally get this one out.
My daughter is sleeping now, exhausted from endless solos performances of “Row Row Row Your Boat” in the dark.
When Erin removed her diaper yesterday in the swimming pool locker room and demanded to go pee on the potty I gave her three gummi bears instead of the two she usually gets after a swimming lesson. It was a Three Gummi Bear Pee. When she ran away from me on the sidewalk in the morning while I was pushing Adrian in his stroller outside the Tech Museum I chased her down and put the fear of Car into her. “No runnin’ naway from daddy,” she repeated over and over again all morning, “my bonka my head. Onlee wocking, slowee.”
When Adrian started offering small smiles with his eyes and mouth the other day I entered that 37th stage of New Fatherhood: Reflection. Instead of looking to him for signs that he was seeing the world and reacting to it I started grinning right back at him, my own eyes shining into his, my deep laugh lines presaging where his will be someday, letting him show me what a smile ought to look like and then showing it right back to him.
Being a parent is hard even when it’s easy. It’s hard because there is an entire life of non-parenting out there, somewhere, in my memory and when I look back on it I can see how radical this change has been, how much attention I pay now to a hundred items a day in time that I could have been sleeping or leveling that paladin up.
But being a dad…being a dad is easy, even when it’s hard.