Friday, October 23, 2009

I’ve Got a Plan


I love my dad, I really do. When I was growing up, he was a workaholic. Hell...he’s STILL a workaholic and he’s in his early 60’s so I guess some things don’t change. He’s never been the most open with his feelings, which is probably why I’m a bit closer to my mom.

My dad enjoyed an emotional distance. I don’t blame him...I think that’s just how a lot of us were raised back in the 70’s (or maybe I’m just providing an excuse for him). My dad never really threw the ball around much with me. Hell...he doesn’t like sports so I didn’t grow up watching anything with him (unless I wanted to waste time watching curling). My dad can build pretty much anything he wants, yet he never taught me how to hammer a nail. My dad loves to go camping, yet other than my grandfather taking me as a young boy, I never learned how to put a worm on a hook or make s’mores by a campfire.

My son recently turned three. This boy is the light of my life. At this point, where I’ve been separated for 2 ½ years and my girlfriend lives 3 hours away, I’ve already made conscious efforts to not only spend time with him as he grows up but to spend quality time with him.

Now maybe my version of quality doesn’t necessarily jive with everybody else’s...but I don’t care. I want to spend Sundays with him watching football from 12pm to 12am (okay...maybe he’ll be in bed before that but I’ll totally let him stay up late as he gets older). I want to throw a baseball with him (or football) and help him learn how to catch. I want to do a “fist pump” with him so we have our own secret handshake.

Bottom line? I want to be the dad that my son WANTS to come and visit. I want him to grow up saying, “Man...I remember how much fun it was to watch football with pops; eating pizza and chicken wings and getting excited about every little play.” I want him to reminisce about spending a Saturday night with me watching Hockey Night in Canada (and I’m not even a big fan of hockey).

This isn’t about one-off’s, either. My dad took me to see the local hockey team maybe once or twice in my entire lifetime. He took me to see wrestling once when I turned 16. We did sporadic things together, and that’s fine (again...I love the guy and really don’t want to hold any resentment or sound like I do, either). But in my eyes, it’s extremely important to set-up trends and regular occurrences.

My boss at work has season tickets to the local hockey team. He’s got three kids. He can’t afford five season tickets (including his wife) so he rotates everybody on who gets to go, with the occasional family night with all five going together. His children know that no matter what else happens in their childhood, their father’s great joy was to watch hockey with them on a regular basis (or coach them in basketball, or watch them play soccer...).

It’s not even about sports, either. I can’t wait to help educate my son on music. ALL music. See, I’m a former DJ...both on college radio and in the clubs while in my 20’s. My parents raised me on country music before I gravitated to rock as a young child (thank goodness). I can still, to this day, fully appreciate all forms of music. A good song is a good song, whether it’s country or rock or dance or cheesy pop. I think too many kids close their ears to the world of music that’s out there around them. I’m really hoping that my son can at least appreciate other forms of music, regardless of what his favourite may or may not be.

This is my plan, anyway. It’s not perfect...it’s not really specific. It could totally backfire if my son would rather watch Broadway musicals than Monday Night Football. That’s alright, though...I’ll love him completely anyway and have to start seeing if Wal-Mart has a “Broadway musical dvd” section. As long as I make it a regular event that he’ll always remember, that’s all that really matters to me.

I think my dad might have taken our relationship for granted. I have no plans on doing the same thing with my son. I’ve got a plan.

****

Canadian Bald Guy is just a thirty-something single dad who is trying to find his place in the world…no more, no less. You can check out his regular ramblings at I Used To Have Hair.

18 comments:

That One Mom said...

Wanting to be involved is the first step in the right direction for any parent. Building memories and sharing interests in huge. I know my dad loved to share the things he wanted for me. It's good that you're open to the possibility that he may want to share different things than you currently envision.

Sean said...

Good stuff, man. I know exactly where you're coming from. It's all about creating memories and enjoying the time you have together. You're a great dad.

thecheekofgod said...

I grew up on Hee Haw, so naturally I hate country music.

Way to go, dad!

Ashley said...

Love it! I think it's so very important to ENJOY our kids and to be there and do things with our kids! I don't want Ty looking back thinking about the rare occasions that we went and did, I want him to look back on a TON of fun memories we shared. I'm never guaranteed another day with my son, so I want to pack as many wonderful memories into each day or week or month that we're given so that, no matter what, he'll always have these fun times and these important moments together to share.

Great post!!

Nonflammable said...

You're spot on with your reflections in this post. My husband and I recently discussed this regarding our older son. He is 10, very intelligent (gifted actually) but aloof towards my husband. He shared with me that he wants to have a better relationship with his dad but doesn't know how. Hearing this really upset my husband. The plan: They now take turns deciding what they will do together.

You are a great dad, even if you are follicly challenged. wink wink!

TentCamper said...

Bra-fucking-vo!!!!

Love it.

You hit it on so many levels with me in this post!

My dad(s) were not the kind of dads that I want to be. They (adoptive and step) never threw a ball with me nor took me fishing nor went to my sporting events more than a few times... yet they are my dads and I love them. I want my sons (and daughters) to always be able to look back and say...damn...dad was always involved with my life and taught me some of the best things ever!!!

LOVED THE POST!

T said...

Love it CBG! We always learn from our parents, don't we?

I love how you're not picky about the type of quality time with him. Just time together.

And yes, you ARE a wonderful dad. :)

Susan said...

You dad was quite involved in your life compared to mine... workaholic is light when it comes to him. Your son is lucky... good for you.

Mariah said...

Workaholic is better than a alcoholic but I agree!! I think having traditional things with your kids is fantastic and builds memories rather than 'I remember that ONE time'....

Hi I'm Mariah, @tentcamper' s "other" Nice to 'meet' you!! Off to check out your blog now

Southern Sage said...

Sounds like a good plan to me!

dadshouse said...

Your heart's in the right place! I always wanted my son to watch sports with me. He'd rather watch that show "House". (WTF?!)

Keep putting your son first! That's great

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I think you follow a good plan. A lot of the time the desire and enthusiasm out weighs the times you don't get to be with him. He will be a better person because of your involvement with his life.

It's great that you took what you didn't like about your situation growing up and made it a goal to be different.

Good Post!

Missty said...

Great post. I heard one time. You have two chances with a child/parent relationship, once as a child the other as the parent. Mine as a child, wasn't good. So I will be Dam sure it will be as a parent with my children.


And the other thought I have, What is that saying... The way to hell is paved with Good intentions.
Many parents have good intentions, but like your dad, and my crazy parents... good intentions isn't enough.

So this is a great reminder, for when we do slip and aren't giving our kids enough of our time. Thank you.

Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) said...

It sounds like you are a good dad. That's fantastic. I had a horrible father so I'm always a little surprised to hear men talk about how much they love their kids. I know it's possible of course (and I know my husband loves our kids) but it's rare to actually see/hear a man write/say it out loud. Lucky kids.

Trooper Thorn said...

Focus on the grandkids. My dad didn't like watching sports but I love it. However, my kids can't stand attending games or watching with me. I think it skips generations.

Keith Wilcox said...

Very true. Having something you can share together that is a regularly occurring even makes that time even more special. My boys and I go every weekend to the coffee shop together to just sit and talk. It seems little but it really isn't. It's a routine that they'll remember as they get older. Good post, man.

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Momma Sunshine said...

Yes, yes, I'm biased...blah blah blah....but you know that I think you're a great dad. :)

But the most important thing of all is that Ankle Biter knows it, too. :)

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