Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

For fear of phantom fathers past

2:00 a.m. Saturday morning, November 28.

I woke up hot and sweaty and freaked out.

Freaked out because I night-daydream time traveled again, imagining when I'll be 61 and Beatrice will be a senior in high school, hoping I'll be physically healthy, that me and Mama will be financially sound, and that all my mental faculties will be intact.

Like Alice in Wonderland outgrowing a room, my mind pushed beyond its skull and filled our bedroom with palatable distress, thick as goo with a sickly fluorescent green glow.

Mama was in Bea's room tending to baby's teething pain. Amy's amazing. I think she wears a cape and can bend steel.

I laid in bed drenched in my own paralytic ectoplasmic fear.

Fear of whether or not I'll be here when Bea's older. Fear of whether or not I'll be a good father in the long run.

It's how I felt most of the first 12 years of my life - full of fear. Shitty fathers and abuse and neglect netted nothing in the realm of positive male role models.

I modeled some of the bad stuff for years – my 20’s were a wasteland, my early 30’s were the transformation – until I finally took ownership of myself and my actions and the results of those actions. That was phase 1. Meeting Amy was part of that.

Phase 2 was when we had Beatrice. It’s a whole different ballgame now and my personal mission is to help other men and fathers be personally responsible and elevate their behavior to self-respect, respect of others and non-violent reactions to life and loved ones.

Still doesn't stop me from freaking out. We may even have a second child. I embrace it. Still doesn't stop me from freaking out.

When I woke up like I did the other night, for fear of phantom fathers past, I was very scared.

Thank God there are millions of men breaking the cycles of violence and neglect in their families. My friend Laurie talked about this very subject this morning in her Punk Rock HR blog.

My Post-T-Day angst is normal I know. 'Tis the season for trials and tribulations that culminate in a slingshot New Year's flight into the future. Time travel is a bitch.

But I'm ready. I've never been more ready. I'm the dad I never had, and now Bea has me.

Mocha Dad shared his families' thankful box story last week and I'm making one for our family. That way we can add notes sharing why we're thankful and read them every Thanksgiving. How appropriate is it that I'm using the box that Bea's bee mobile came in. Love it!

My first entry: I'm thankful for being a good daddy.


  1. Thank you, Laurie. Big hugs.

  2. The Thankful Box is a wonderful tradition that your family will always cherish.

  3. I know. My wife loves the idea as well. Thank you!

  4. I never really knew what fear and anxiety really were...until I had kids. I haven't slept well in 11 years.