Whoa! The summer is gone. Rats. It was a good one. The motto for the last 4 months has been that “Life is good in the summer;” no need for faraway vacations, big projects or grand ambitions…just lots of quality time with the family and friends we hold dearest. Which isn’t to say that writing hasn’t been on my mind. If I had a nickel for every time over the course of the summer that I sat down and started to actually plan out a new blog post…I could almost buy a Mr. Freeze. I hope you’ll forgive my absence. I’m gonna say I was just having too much fun.
This little site has now been up for over a year. It would feel like much more of an accomplishment if I had achieved any kind of stability and consistency with my writing, but hey, it’s something. This is as good a time as any to reflect on where this started, where I am now and what comes next.
This picture popped up on my phone today, a memory from exactly one year ago. That tiny face! That body that couldn’t yet hold itself upright! That little mohawk that persisted on its own for months! I remember that trip to Dufferin Grove Park like it was a week ago, shouldering my way into full-time child-rearing responsibility at the beginning of my extended parental leave. I remember the carefully organized and well-stocked snack pack. I remember the other kids screaming in the background while I balanced Egg on that tractor and hovered nearby in case he tumbled off. I remember the greyish sky as we wandered over to the Bloor Gladstone Library, confident that they would have a nice clean family bathroom with a change table (they did!).
Looking at that picture makes me swell up with the enthusiasm I felt when I first started writing this blog. Man, if only I could take another six weeks off of work just to hang out with this kid. During that time I rarely slept more than 4 hours consecutively but felt absolutely delighted all the time. Besides everything I learned about the kid, and about myself, and about parenting and all kinds of other stuff, taking that leave let me eke out the time to start organizing myself to start up this writing practice. Every day of those six weeks I felt uplifted by love and gratitude.
So a year later, how are we looking? I’m sleeping much, much better but feel like I have much less time. In some ways I’ll admit that a sheen has worn off: where I used to feel that by being a hands-on, involved dad I was really doing something, now being a hands-on, involved dad feels like I’m just being me. I don’t feel that same thrill I felt a year ago in taking the kid down the street to the park; actually sometimes it feels like a chore. Dirty diaper? To Hell with going on a mission for a nice, sanitary changing room – I’ll just throw him down on the grass somewhere and get the job done.
That boyish face! Those dexterous hands that can stick a straw up a nose as easily as they can hoist a cup of water! That long, wild hair that his mother refuses to cut! All too often, the never-ending work tasks, chores, bills and other shitty grown-up obligations obscure that sense of gratitude that I was so in touch with a year ago. Yeah, parenting isn’t new any more, but like with any relationship when the thrill of the new recedes, what’s left over is less dramatic but much deeper and more fulfilling. The trick is to remember that just because parenting can often be wearisome, that doesn’t make the job any less magical.
The goal for Year Two of Descent into Dadness is to keep that magic front and center. I want to keep writing about our adventures and accomplishments but also about the uglier side of things which is no less beautiful when that magic is kept in mind. I want to continue reflecting on the social values we are trying to set for our family to live by, and I want to keep some space here for our dearly departed son Aemon. This year I would also love to shine a spotlight on some amazing dads out there doing great things, and on our wonderful local community and some of the great activities it offers young families.
That motto that “life is good in the summer” was a great mantra for the past few months, but now I feel it’s time to get a bit deeper into things. My motto for the next season is going to be “See the magic,” and I hope that approach is reflected on Descent into Dadness with another magical year.