Transitions & Evolutions Of A Dad

It is a strange feeling to be listening to Where The Streets Have No Name and yet hear Gordon Lightfoot singing about a ghost you can see.

The first is a high school anthem, from an album that came out my senior year and pumped me up because every time I listened I heard possibility.

Thirty years later I still do.

Yet my old pal Mr. Lightfoot’s lyric comes from a song much older, but still part of my childhood, don’t know if that makes me old or older.

What I do know is I had a conversation with a teenager who calls me dad and his younger sister who is almost a teen.

A conversation that made me ache because I felt time slipping away and yet I smiled because for the most part, things are going as they should.

She Giggled

She giggled about a boy and I didn’t have to see her face to know what expression was on it.

“Daddy, he is too old for me but my friends keep trying to get us to go out.”

I know that giggle and once or twice I have been the reason girls and or women have giggled like that.

It is the giggle that tells me the day is coming when a boy will supplant me as the male she runs to first. Got a long while before it happens with the kind of finality that a husband will bring, but I heard the echoes of the future.

I heard her down the road tell me to be nice and felt her glare because she knows her dad can be a rascal and might mess with the boy that comes to see his little girl.

Got a while before that happens too and I am not going to rush things along, but it felt strange to realize how close that time might be.

Ten years ago she was so very little and ten years from now she’ll be on her own.

It goes that fast.

Where Are You?

The emails and notes come in occasionally asking where I am and what I am doing.

“Jack, you used to update this place two or three times a day and when you didn’t do that, well you still posted daily.”

“Jack, I miss your writing. Post some silly story.”

I smile at the notes and think about how I was always the active outsider of the parent blogging community.

Hit the ground in 2004 and never stopped, always said I would go to a blog conference or two but never did.

Have worked as a brand ambassador and written sponsored posts and played many of the reindeer games but never worked my way into the inside like others.

Sometimes I was accused of being jealous because I would criticize some of the Babble or Good Men Project writers of this and that.

Would point fingers at the popularity contests and talk about how the same people won because their friends were judges and not because they had talent.

Some did and some do, but not all.

*****

The blogosphere is still a noisy place and there are still some awful writers punching out crap that is dressed up in gold and sprayed in perfume.

It still stinks.

I am obviously still around and still publishing, probably more than some people realize.

The words are slapped on a page daily and some of them are still pretty good while others aren’t quite where I want them to be.

But you don’t get better by thinking about it, you improve by focusing on your craft and practicing.

Apparently I took this seriously because I have been sleeping with fear for a long while.

Some days are harder than others but most of the time I do what I have to do not because I fear the consequences of inaction but because I fear letting fear win.

Most days I get up and work and wonder where the day will take me, adventure is always at hand.

It is a strange place to be, to realize my kids really need me and yet not like they used to.

They dress and feed themselves, go about their business with minor interference from their folks and live their lives.

Not quite in a place where they can claim the sort of independence they say they want. Not quite ready to run things without some help, but it gets closer each minute.

I hear the tick-tock of the clock and pray I have made smart choices and that the sacrifices have been the right ones.

Can’t say yes or no without walking the path and crossing the doorways, but sometimes I wish we could.

It is an exciting time, but I feel like a stranger in a strange land and I know I haven’t really hit the time or place when that is as true as it will be.

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2 Comments

  1. Eli@CoachDaddy April 11, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    I can’t really figure out at what point we know what kind of parenting job we’ve done, Jack. I mean, there are points when we can tell if we aren’t – if our kid busts someone’s nose or steals a stack of comic books – but even then, was it because of a parenting deficiency? I end the day wondering if I’ve done my best – and fall asleep knowing I better have.

    • Jack Steiner April 16, 2017 at 10:52 am

      Hi Eli,

      I suspect we’re forever going through a roller coaster of feelings that we have done a great/horrible job with a bunch of in between feelings that keep us on our toes.
      If we can go to sleep feeling like we did our best, well I think that is about all we can do.

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