Monday, October 03, 2005

Sometimes other men who are considering fatherhood will ask me what it's like. I generally have little to offer them. I have no confidence that my experiences or my reactions to those experiences will shed much light on what it would be like for them.

It's hard. And great. And horrible. And achingly bittersweet.

Does that help?

There are a lot of things that I've done poorly in my life, but being a parent is the first one that magnifies my mistakes for me on a daily basis. I can forgive myself for the work projects that were poorly designed, or the marathons where I just gave up. It's substantially more difficult to shrug off the parenting errors.

I see my daughter's fears and I wince, wondering how many obvious mistakes I've made. What is she so scared of? Should I have read more parenting books? Asked for more help?

When she says she has no one to play with, and cries for someone to keep her company at nighttime, I feel ashamed that I haven't given her a sibling.

But then I see her skip down the sidewalk, or gleefully greet a playmate with a tight hug, or purr contentedly when she snuggles up with her mother, and I am temporarily consoled. If you met Daisy, you'd probably notice that she's a great kid, and you'd tell me that I couldn't have screwed up that much. I'd acknowledge the surefooted parenting of my wife.

Every single day I regret the mistakes I've made and cherish the fact that my daughter is healthy and happy regardless.

I guess I'll say that next time someone asks.

This is not what I intended to write about today. Sometimes the fingers have a mind of their own.

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