I know I have lots of different types of readers, married, single, men, women, with kids, without kids, old kids, young kids. Sounds like a Dr. Seuss book. I appreciate all the interaction and differing perspectives. Anyway, this one is a “parenting is sometimes (or oftentimes) amazing” post.
[4:15 a.m. I am pouring coffee and about to get out the door for a long day of travel to a site in a different state. I hear a noise. Look into the hallway. There is Loudboy (7) in his pajamas, bleary eyed, just having gone to the bathroom] “Hi Daddy. I love you. I’ll see you tomorrow.” [walks back up the stairs and proceeds to go back into my bedroom to snuggle for a couple hours with mom]. :heartmelts:
We’re in the “wonder years” (what I call in my book the ages between 5 and 11) of child raising right now. And it. is. great! (mostly) We are so blessed to have two wonderful kids. Yeah, they fight and do the sibling thing, but mostly they are buddies and play legos, draw, make up games, and play together. They make their own lunches, do their homework when asked, read books at night before bed, do well in school, and try hard at sports and piano. We could not really ask for anything more. We truly are, “living the dream.” No wonder why Holly wanted to have a third child [that is truly another post. We’re cool, but for those that follow along, we aren’t having a third, except by immaculate conception and if so, with a paternity test]. Anyway…
For those like Mr. Money Mustache (and maybe you) who are at one kid by choice or not (and this was a much discussed post, as you can imagine), or if you can’t have kids or don’t want them, that’s cool. You’re likely to find money fulfillment earlier than those of us with more (and I have two friends that both have five kids – their life is very fascinating and their money management is as well, as we often talk about) and will still likely have a fulfilling life. But the dynamic with even two kids differs from the single, and seeing the love and dynamic with siblings is truly fascinating. We count our blessings so frequently, and the boy and girl we have are best friends in their own right (despite their differences). They have separate rooms but do frequent “sleepovers.” They have their own friends, but often prefer each other. If you have siblings, you know, you can be worst enemies (and driving your parents to Loony Town) one minute, and conspiring the next.
So we are in that spot in life. Baby time is long gone. Toddler times are distant memories, and good ones at that. Teenage-ville is still in the future. The kids need us and their freedom. They are figuring out their own identities, and still need attention from both parents. Snuggle time, movie night, and sincere “I LOVE you Dad!” with a GIANT bear hug are the norm. Wrestle time is frequent. “Dad can you play Legos/Video Games/Soccer/Dungeons and Dragons?” is common. Love is the theme, and we are the recipients.
Hopefully, if you’re in this window, things are somewhat similar. If you are struggling pre- or post-Wonder Years window, I sympathize. And I know that our own Teen Years are just a blink of an eye away. Which will be both wonderful and challenging in it’s own right. And remember, if you are married, how you behave toward each WILL impact (and set the table) for every relationship your kids may have. So LOVE that is overt, and friendship with your spouse, and a common direction as parents and a couple, lays strong groundwork for your kids and their future husband or wife. Don’t forget that. Hopefully, you can find that common ground to model behavior which will be emulated in a good manner for our next generation.
Coming back around to the post title. Being a dad is great. My brother, despite being divorced, finds his three kids his life purpose. It is immensely rewarding, despite its challenges. Like most, I work as a necessity, and may find some regret that I couldn’t have somehow found more time to be with my own kids during these years. But I do my best (and better than most. I’m not exactly a workaholic) and I’m working on it. And even if I continue on this route, and it will never be perfect, I know I still provide a strong role-model, as does my wife… for being a man, a woman, and a married couple. So much LOVE here. Hopefully you find the same. Peace.