I am a fiftyish man who came to marriage and parenthood later than most. My wife and I have three boys: a 7th grader, a 3rd grader, and a 1st grader. I don’t know how I possibly could have handled marriage or parenthood in my younger days, before the wisdom of age taught me how to deal with such shady characters as wives and children.
My boys are good kids, but they are boys. This means I could get a kneecap whacked with a hammer at any time. Toy hammers may not be very good at driving actual nails, but they sure can make a man limp for no good reason. Between their boyhood shenanigans and my iffy fathering, I figure we’ll beat each other up pretty good, physically and emotionally. But what’s a little pain between father and sons? Those are the scars that bind.
My wife loves me very much. Sometimes I think she is about to love me to death, but mostly she just loves me to high anxiety. Her goal is to make certain I do not grow stale within the narrow confines of my comfort zone, so she regularly attacks my comfort zone with a sledge-hammer. This is the comfort zone I spent most of the first four decades of my life building. It is a significant and carefully laid out fortress, but she is relentless in her siege. Consequently, I find myself in uncomfortable circumstances much more than when I was single. These instances, she tells me, are the result of me breaking free of my lifelong fetters and finally feeling alive. Furthermore, she expects thanks for providing me with these many refreshing discomforts.
As for me, I’m just another father, struggling to make heads or tails of this life of raising children. Just when I learn the procedure, it all changes, and I have to start school all over again. Consequently, I make a lot of mistakes, or at least this is what I am told by the parent who is in charge of scoring my performance. At least I don’t ever have to wonder how I’m doing. I guess that’s the good thing about being a father. Fathers don’t have to wonder about how well they are parenting. There is always somebody watching over their shoulders, telling them just exactly what they are doing wrong.
That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.