5 Exciting Things About Having A Son

Having a daughter is amazing. Terrifying, but amazing. She is stunningly beautiful, makes my hair go grey, keeps me on my toes and every day is an adventure. There is something about having a daughter that simply makes your heart swell as a father, even when you are forced to endure the mind numbing pain associated with watching yet another princess movie.

Having a girl has been the best thing that has ever happened to me, but there is something that feels remarkably different knowing that I am having a son. With that said, here are 5 things about having a son that I am extremely excited about.

1. Easier diaper changes. If you don’t have a girl, you have no idea what I’m talking about. There are every specific concerns and techniques associated with changing a girl. With a boy, from what I’m told, you can just do whatever the hell you feel like. Wipe it any direction you please, use a hose, whatever. All you have to worry about is getting clean. No real threat of UTIs here.

2. Colors other than pink. And it isn’t just because all they make is pink for little girls. My daughter truly LOVES pink. It’s pink everything. Pink walls. Pink clothes. Pink toys. Pink blankets. It’s all pink. And listen, if my little dude loves pink, I’ll let him, but I’m really hoping he’s more of the blue/green/grey type of guy. I can really use a break from the pink, little man. Help a brother out.

3. Hopefully some less shrill noises. There are certainly some boys whose screams could rival my daughter’s, but I’m really hoping for some sounds to be an octave or two lower. Not every sound emitted from my house needs to be capable of calling every dog within a five mile radius to our location. There are other ways to communicate.

4. A knight to protect my princess. My daughter is exactly what I would expect from my wife’s daughter – strong willed, opinionated, has strong lines, and will not tolerate anything less. I love it about her. It will serve her greatly in her life. Even with that being the case, I have every intention of teaching my son from the day he is born that women are to be respected, and that his family means everything. He will be taught to always look out for his sister, no matter the age gap or the situation. I won’t always be around to protect my daughter, but I hope there will be situations where my boy will be able to stand up for his sister.

5. Watching my daughter become a sister. I cannot wait to watch my little girl take on the responsibility of being a big sister. Watching her step into that roll, be a good example and nurture and care for her brother will be so awesome. Now I know there will be times where I will walk in to her duct taping her brother to a chair or drawing on his face with makeup, but I believe she will largely be a great care taker.

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I’m Having a Son

About three and a half years ago, I became a first time father. June 4th, 2014 was the single most exhilarating, terrifying, emotionally unstable day of my life, all of which was experienced by the time my daughter way born only 31 minutes into that day. I was a father, yet hardly a decent man. I had a daughter, a tiny princess whose smile and laugh would leave me reduced to no more than a puddle, and whose every adventure would highlight the different chapters of my life. I was a Dad of a Daughter, a Dad of playing tea, watching Frozen (no matter how deeply I despise the movie), surrounded by pink and princesses and tutus, and loving every second.

Just one thing – a small little curveball is being thrown into the mix, a wrench into the gears. We are approximately 23 weeks into our second pregnancy, and everything is changing. Now, pregnant with number two, my wife and I are having a boy. A BOY. I am having a son. Goodbye princesses, hello woodland creatures, tonka trucks, super heroes, loud noises and sports. There will be balance, parody, juxtaposed situations and varying nuances in the raising of my two children, and I cannot be more excited.

With becoming the father of a boy, there are inherent and innate fears and responses that enter into the picture. How am I supposedto teach this boy how to become a man when Ihardly feel qualified to teachhim? How do I help him avoid my own pitfalls? What if someday he looks atme with nothing short of total disappointment?

This is real. These are the fears that have kept me up at night and have given me sudden bursts of emotion throughout the days since we have found out. I’m not a man that will be able to teach my son to fix things. I’m not a man with a track record of integrity, humility and respect. These are all things that I wish I was. These are things that I am working for, not just for my own sake, but for that of my two children. They deserve a father that is steady, rock solid, dependable, trustworthy, and that they know will protect them.

To my daughter Olivia and my future son Emerson, you are my everything. The two of you are the two greatest things that I have ever done in this life and for this world. My promise to you is this – I will never give up, I will never stop trying, and I will always be there for you. I am still and will always be finding fatherhood.

Why I Left, And Why I’m Back

It’s been a long time since anything has been posted here. Looking back at some of my old posts, it’s easily apparent how much I, my wife and my daughter have all changed. No longer is my little girl a baby – instead, she is a fully opinionated, long haired, vastly undersized almost three year old. Time moves more rapidly than ever before.

Taking a break from writing was never an intentional decision – rather, it was a biproduct of a life continuously changing, of my energy and efforts being steered in a multitude of other directions. Through it all, through the constantly changing landscape that I have been navigating as a husband and father, I have come to realize that not writing, that not prioritize putting my thoughts on paper, has caused a part of me to get lost. There is dearly important part of my mind that only seems to come alive when I use my creative side. Writing is one of those mediums that brings out that passionately creative side, and I have been missing it.

That aside, I have also come to realize that these posts, that this snapshot of my current life and the challenges and victories and joys and sorrows that we face as a family, is deeply important. This blog is more than a hobby – it’s a diary, a chronicle of the growth of myself, my wife, my daughter, and our family as a whole.

So that being said, I am back. I hope that in some way my writing can provide some level of entertainment, joy, and those moments that make you as a parent feel like you aren’t alone. Our lives are not always the highlight reels that we convey to the world. Life is sticky, messy, smelly, frustrating, exhausting, and occasionally highlighted by a moment of unparalleled love, joy, peace, perfection.

But most of the time, life is just life. And I love my life.

Suspended for Solidarity, Now Allowed Back

A little girl who showed an unbelievable act of compassion and solidarity for one of her friends was suspended. Please, someone explain to me what type of dense, unsympathetic person would see what she did as an action worth punishing.

Kamryn Renfro, who’s friend has been battling cancer now for 4 years, decided to shave her head in support so her friend “didn’t have to feel left out.” What a remarkable act of compassion. This is the type of action that every parent would be proud of, that shows a truly genuine heart. These are the values that every parent strives to instill in their children.

So tell me, please, what message this charter school is sending to Kamryn when it values “promoting uniformity” over compassion; when it values a dress code more than a kind hearted and well guided moral compass; when it punishes her for going out of her way to support a friend, rather than praise her tremendous action.

The real sad part of this situation is the fact that it’s a reality that our children (and adults as well) are just going to face. There are going to be people that don’t see things the same way. There will be obstacles, there will be challenges, and there will be people that quite frankly just upset us. The teachable moment here is how we encourage others to handle these situations and how we encourage them to never give up on what they believe. Instilling that persistence and confidence to not only know what is right, but to act on it, is crucial. It’s something I will always strive to model and teach my daughter.

The good news is that this story has a somewhat happy ending. The school board convened and determined that they were wrong, voting to reinstate Kamryn and lift her suspension. I’m glad to see that they reversed their mistake, but am still incredibly disheartened that the choice was made in the first place.

I pray my daughter will have the courage to always do what is right, even when facing opposition. I pray she has the compassion of this little girl, and will always keep a tender heart to the pain of others.

Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/colorado-girl-shaves-head-for-pal-with-cancer-temporarily-suspended/

 

“As Long as it’s Healthy.” Why I Hate This Saying.

We’ve all heard it. A common response to an even more common question (“So what are you hoping for there, champ?”), the soon-to-be mother or soon-to-be father responds with a smile, saying “Oh, it really doesn’t matter to us. As long as it’s healthy.” The soon-to-be mother then places her hands on her belly, looks down, and smiles. It truly does seem harmless, and even well intentioned, but I absolutely despise this saying, and I’ll tell you why.

“As long as it’s healthy” implies the connotation that if this beautiful and perfect and precious baby is born with any issues whatsoever, that it will in some way be a failure; that it will not be the cherished bouncing baby that the parents had always dreamed of. Every single child comes into this world with an individual life, a different personality, and a different future. Sure, many fathers imagine the years spend teaching their son the joys of athletics, and women swoon at the thought of their little princess on prom day.

But what happens if it doesn’t go as planned?

What if your child is born with a birth defect, or a genetic disease of some kind? What if your child’s life is slightly less “normal” than the life of their classmates and friends?

Of course I pray that my child will be born healthy and strong – as every parents would hope – but if God has other plans, there really isn’t a whole lot I can do about that, is there? It will mean only one thing to me, and that is that the life of my child will simply have a different  definition of normal.

It would not make my child less perfect. It would not make my wife and I love our child any less.

Parents, love your children UNCONDITIONALLY, not conditionally based on the circumstances of which they are born. So please, no more of this saying. Value the perfect miracle that your child is for exactly who they are.