When I first began writing So Long Freedom I spoke numerous times about the frustration of not being able to find a good resource for dads-to-be. So I logged my experience from pregnancy test till present (and beyond) so parents and dads could learn from it. One of the things I found to be often true was how mother’s (when pregnant) picture their new child as a tiny baby they will care for while dads picture their new child as a toddler that can interact with them and play. I didn’t want this to be true for me…but its hard to not let your mind wander off to future baseball games and playing catch in the back yard.
Last night I walked in the door and was greeted with a hearty “Dada” from my toddler Max. He embraced me in a hug, took my hand, led me into the family room, and sat me down on the floor. Then he ran to the kitchen, turned around, and shouted “TACKLE DADA!!!” His tiny feet started running down the hall, his expression of sheer joy was awesome, he began making a guttural sound that ramp’d up in volume, and then he lept into my arms knocking me over and tackling me like they do on TV when we watch football together. Then he got up, waited for me to sit up, and repeated the tackling process. Let me tell you…toddlers don’t wear out easily and if something is fun…they will do it over and over and over and over…
I got tackled about 30 times with a brief pause to be sat on a few times and slapped in the belly.
Eventually I tackled him (he didn’t find this as fun) and when I was done tackling him he was sitting in his chair for dinner (he definitely did not find this fun). “Peas!” I proclaimed. “More tackle Dada?” He asked. “Let’s have dinner first buddy.” So we cheers’d milk to wine and ate together.
Kate got all misty-eyed and I asked her what was up. “This is the time you have been waiting for.” I didn’t get it. She continued, “You have a son that wants to play with you.” Then it hit me…this was how I pictured Max when he was just a tadpole swimming around inside Kate’s belly. My imagination of what fatherhood would be like (when Kate was pregnant) had come true. It was pretty cool. We shoot basketballs together (he’s a lefty) and I’m teaching him to swing a golf club (he’s a righty). He loves football and wants to tackle me all the time. When no one is looking he shouts “Go Shocks” in honor of his Wichita State Shocker Basketball team. My son is a bad ass.
So now I have one son that tackles me and thinks I’m the coolest thing since sliced bread – and one in utero who stops kicking when I sing to Kate’s belly. A boy to play with and a boy to baby…the best of both worlds. Although if history repeats itself I’m going to get double tackled in 2 years…officially outnumbered…and I can’t wait.