Someday they’ll stop calling me Daddy. My name will change to Dad. I won’t mourn that day. There will be, I hope, benefits to them becoming self-sufficient. Maybe I’ll even catch up on my reading.
In the next few weeks, Buster and Big Man will turn four and two, respectively. There are no more babies in the house. I’m happy I haven’t had to heat a bottle in a year, and I look forward to the day the last one says goodbye to diapers. Maybe we’ll take a vacation with the diaper money.
I appreciate all the things Big Brother can do for himself, from making a snack to going to the bathroom without me having to know about it, although sometimes he still likes to announce his intentions. I’m sure I’ll enjoy feeling less like a servant in my own home when the little boys can do things for themselves. I may even gain weight from all the sitting down for more than two minutes in a row I plan on doing.
I imagine being able to go places without someone falling asleep in the car, or what really blows my mind: going places by myself. The really fine thing will be spending time with each individually, free of the competition that comes so naturally between them and turns them into a raucous mob. I’m looking forward to talking instead of shouting over the din.
I look forward to many good things that will come with my boys getting older, yet I am old enough to know I can wait for those things. They will come whether I appreciate the days preceding them or not. It’s best to appreciate all the days; they never come around again.
There are days when keeping on top of all these boys’ needs runs both parents ragged. In spite of this, my wife would go on having babies forever if that were possible. I’m too feeble for that, but I will concede that nobody hugs quite as good as toddler. I will further admit that nobody’s mind matches the waterfall of discovery of a preschooler’s. And while I’m at it, nobody’s imagination is more entertaining than a grade schooler’s.
As much as I look forward to more peace, I’m in no hurry to say goodbye to toddler giggles or preschool jokes or grade school stories. I can’t hold onto them forever, and I have no desire to. I only want to enjoy them to their fullest while they are all around me. I want to experience the things yet to come, but I can be patient for those seasons to have their place.
Time doesn’t need my help. It moves too quickly already. Sometimes it’s easy to anticipate the future at the expense of the present. I hope to catch myself when I fall toward this trap; though I will not mourn the day I become just Dad, I will, a little bit, mourn the loss of the day when I was Daddy.