I am so very pleased to share with you the fantastical writings of Eli from Coach Daddy. He was so kind to ask me a few months back, to write a guest post for his blog. Now I am very excited welcome Eli’s witty, comical approach to fatherhood.
Without further a due… Coach Daddy.
Months from her due date, Ashley planned ahead.
She asked me to write a guest post for her blog. Heck yes. Ashley’s been a welcome friend on my own
blog, and I’d love to pitch in during blogging maternity leave. I jotted the date in my Trello board for blog planning, and stuck to it – for about as long as it took to close the browser.
I let Ashley down, and turned in nothing.
I set a due date and everything. Life went on, posts were posted, and babies born. Post-baby, Ashley asked again. Think I’d drop that ball again? I promised a post on three truths about dads that are okay. There exist in the wild approximately 11 million more than three (I stopped at five to save trees.)
As dad of three girls with 18-plus years in this gig, I’ve got the experience equivalent of the Dalai Lama.
I’ve heard truths and lies and hypotheses. I’ve lived and I’ve learned some, proven some wrong and become reluctant poster boy for others. Fatherhood is hard. I’m not here to dad-bash. If report cards for dads were a thing, I’d have been held back a grade or two and grounded by my own parents.
Mostly, I’m a flawed unit, a woeful work in progress. And that’s okay.
1-Dad’s the family’s biggest kid.
Just like The Force, there’s a dark side to all dad truths. It’s a difference of semantics – being like a child and being childish aren’t interchangeable. Children carry boundless wonder; dads often harbor that germ long after they can jump vertically or should wear a baseball cap backward.
A childish dad rubs raw the luster of that inherent hero his child is born with. The risk: A child who knows him only by modeled bad habits and lack of direction.
Child-like fathers foster curiosity in their children. They share a sense of adventure. He’ll stay on the floor to meet his newborn. He’ll ramble on knees with his toddler. He’ll heft a child on shoulders and stand side by side with his kid for the National Anthem and Thanksgiving prayers.
And he’ll goof off before “home of the brave” and “amen.”
2-Dads sometimes mistake presents for presence.
You know a Disney dad. For him, ice cream is the bottom of the food pyramid. What bedtime? He’s the kids’ pal, not parent. It’s flash, not substance, and to the younger child, that looks heroic. It can’t last, though. Know how some adults say, “my dad always said … [fill in the blank]”?
Kids of Disney dads usually don’t have an answer – unless it’s, “why not? Don’t tell your mom!”
Presence takes effort. Presents require a credit card. Xboxes fizzle, iPods crack, and Hoverboards explode in a flash of poor engineering. One go-to doesn’t require a battery or data plan: Time. Even a poor man can find it. It takes zero dollars to grant a child your undivided attention.
It’s the slowest bond in the dad bank, investing time in your child. But brother, it’s worth it.
3-Dads can’t connect with a child as a mother can.
Dads can bring baseball mitts and museum tickets. We can cast fishing lines and drive a kid to a casting call. We can color and create, discuss and debate, and try not to show up late. But we’ll never, ever, grow an umbilical cord. The bond been mother and child exceeds our rank and skill set.
I’m stand in awe of the mother-child dynamic – with zero interest in trying to recreate it.
A dad must foster his relationship with every child he fathers. It requires attention and nurturing. Tweaking and rearranging? They’re inevitable. Probably, it’ll undergo a total breakdown to elements and be overhauled. Children change and grow; if a dad approaches it right, he’ll change and grow, too.
This, I’ve found, continues for a lifetime.
There’s no finish line, just plenty of lines in the sand – and a few lines on a dad’s forehead. We ought to say we’re practicing fatherhood, because, like disc golf, there’s no such thing as perfection, only perception. You throw, you look, and you try again.
# # #
Expectations for dads run low – just below the eloquence of a Viking and just above the intellectuality of
a hedgehog. Reality varies from dad to dad, although we share this tattered book of truths.
How’s a dad navigate with that?
Ignore it, mostly.
Play. Be there.
Love. Listen. Try.
We’ll win sometimes. We’ll fail often. We’ll hurt and get hurt, get it wrong and miss horribly. And then we’ll try again tomorrow.
I’m okay with that.
When he isn’t keeping his car messy or writing for other blogs, Eli Pacheco writes the blog Coach
Want to see more fabulous writers? Read more great content from other bloggers? Make sure you give the banner below a click.