Dads Helping Dads Figure Out Being a Dad

Childbirth – A Grandparent’s View

Well, we are two weeks into this new experience of actually being a Grandparent.  What can I say?  So far it has been GREAT!  You have probably read some of Jeremy’s posts about the birth experience and the days that followed, but I would like to add some thoughts.

When we had our kids, 26 and 30 years ago, I felt a little “cheated” because I grew up in the black-and-white TV days when dads were pictured as waiting in the “Fathers’ Waiting Room” for a nurse (typically) to come in and say, “It’s a boy!” (or girl, as appropriate).  The babies were always healthy, and half the time, the father fainted.  The other half of the time, he passed out cigars to the other waiting fathers.

That “cheated” feeling came because I found myself staring into my wife’s eyes and blowing into her face to encourage her to BREATHE (he he ha, he he ha, and so forth).  I was soon rewarded by the sound of our baby crying and my wife smiling up at me and saying, “I could do that again.”  So much for the “Fathers’ Waiting Room”!

Flash forward, and it is MY son with HIS wife entering transition.  And the nurse came in and kicked us all out!  Thirty years ago, in the same hospital, we had my mother-in-law and one of my wife’s friends in the room taking pictures, but for whatever reason that was no longer a option.  And we were relegated to the hallway outside of the maternity ward.

So there were two doors between us and the exciting event.  But we still heard  the baby’s cries.  That was a moment I will NEVER forget.

So far, I’ve got to say, grandparent-hood has much to recommend it.  But I’ll save some of that for later posts.

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“Daddy Fitz It” (translated, “Daddy, can you fix this?”)

All of my various experiences combined to enrich my ability to parent and to contribute to family life – at least in the eyes of my son (which really means a LOT to me!). It seemed to him like whatever got broken could be repaired by the magic words, “Daddy fitz it.”

Somewhere around age 4, Jeremy had a little toy dog that would open its mouth and bark and walk … and what ever. In Jeremy’s creative mind, it even ate. Cheez-Its. Lots of ‘em. Eventually the little thing was so full of crackers that they jammed up the mechanism and the puppy “died”. Jeremy held the thing  up to me, looked at me with his puppy-dog brown eyes and said, “Daddy fitz it?”  What’s a parent to do?  In a child’s eyes, we are omnipotent.  Gotta try!

Well, I did not know what the problem was. Until I used a razor knife to remove the stitches from the puppy’s “skin” and peeled it away to reveal the “skeletal” mechanism inside. Then I laughed out loud! We cleaned out the Cheez-Its, gave it a transfusion of WD-40, and gave it to my wife to “close”. The puppy survived the surgery with a little reduced range of motion, but it survived. And I was a hero in the eyes of my first-born.  It was a real “chicken soup” moment for this parent!

A few words of encouragement. First, you cannot break it if it is broken. Your choice is, trash it or fix it.  Be a parent!  Give it a try! Second, a little time and common sense will often repair precious things. Third, you won’t know if you can “fitz” it until you investigate and see what is wrong. And, most importantly … Four, twenty-five years from now, your son or daughter will remember you for the things you do – and that is entirely under your control!

You are parent!  You can do it!  Enjoy the adventure!

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