A little more than 15 years ago I finally and fully relinquished the rights to my free time and any remaining sense of personal autonomy by having kids.
I don’t think men dream of having children the way that women do. If they do, I haven’t met those men. For myself, and a lot of men I know, coming to the stage of ‘wanting’ to have children comes more often from one of two likely scenarios.
“Whoops! That CAN happen when I have sex with a woman. Looks like they weren’t joking in sex education class. Oh boy, I guess I am going to be a dad.”
An evolutionary process highly influenced by being married to a woman, who since she was a small child has been playing with babies and dreaming of the day when the doll would be real and be her very own.
Think about it, do you know twenty-something unmarried men who sit around talking about the day when they get to be a father?!
That doesn’t mean they won’t be awesome dads, or don’t want to be dads, it’s just not usually one of the ten things that they spend their time dreaming about. For me, it was the very same way. But eventually, when I was twenty-five, I followed scenario #2 and was ready to dive into the great unknown and start having children of my own.
Having been raised with three sisters and exactly ZERO brothers, I prayed like a zealot that the giver of life would miraculously intervene in my sperm (or in the womb of my wife if needed) in such a way that only a baby boy could be born.
And it was so!
The revelation that my first child had a penis brought real tears of joy to my eyes for the very first time. The births of my second and third sons hit my soul with the very same hammer of emotion. I don’t care two shits if you think that’s callous, sexist or that at twenty-five I had a narrow, little view on being a father. I really, really wanted boys and I do believe that they are all answers to prayers. (No, I am not kidding about this.)
And so for you, my incredible sons, I have a few words to share. Nothing that I write in this post, or in the ones to follow, will surprise you. I am writing these things down that you may always be able to reference what your dad believes about life and what I am trying to instill into your lives as your grow and head out into the world as men.
So, the very first thing that I want to remind you of as you continue to develop is this…
Boys, I joke all the time with you that we are “European” as I tell you that I love you and kiss you unashamedly goodbye as you get out of our car in front of your schools in the morning. You know it’s my silly way of saying to you, “Hey, they kiss more in Europe”, and so I am not at all embarrassed to kiss you no matter how old you are and if your buddies might happen to be watching or not. As I’ve always said, you can just tell your friends “yeah, my dad is a little weird, he’s European like that and he can’t stop telling me he loves me.”
Your granny has always loved me generously. Her dad loved her that same way. And I love you as generously as I know how. I do my best to do the same with other people in my life as well. It’s a “European” family thing.
As you continue to get older, I hope you never cease to love generously as many people as possible. It’s my hope that you have learned to love in this way as we have served at soup kitchens, given out meals on the streets, packed clothes for those who’ve needed them, donated every possible item that we don’t need and helped family members in hard times. With friends who have loved us, like the Moore’s, I hope that it has made a lifelong impact on you that love is expressed with generosity, providing an open home to all of our friends, providing warm smiles, greeting people with hugs, sharing food, being comfortable enough to be silly and helping others to feel like they have a much bigger family than they could’ve ever imagined.
You can’t control how other people love you, but you can determine and choose to always generously love others.