Today I thought we might talk about the sacrifices you make for your kids.
As such, I’d like to introduce you to the first of what I’m sure will be many in my life:
Last week, after hearing for the umpteenth time about all the costs involved in babying, I came to the realization that I hadn’t quite made room in our monthly budget for diapers, dentists and daycare. (And, to be entirely honest, we were already running pretty close to break even.) So I began to look for places where we could scale back some luxury spending. And the first one came like a clarion call…
Ever since I was old enough to understand that I could have things of my own, I’ve wanted a boat. A small spot on the water that’s mine. Nothing ostentatious. Nothing gaudy. Certainly nothing you could ski behind. Just a simple boat with sails and a place for me to sleep.
I stood on the docks in Wickford, RI and came up with adventures involving the dinghies that were made fast to the pier. I worked on other people’s catamarans and schooners all over the east coast, dreaming of the day I’d be the captain of my own. I towed 12-footers behind my Mitsubishi Eclipse up to Bear Lake, Utah to teach university sailing classes in the summers. And I’ve sat at restaurant tables in Kemah with my wife, jealously watching Js and Beneteaus drift by, on their way out for an afternoon sail.
Last April, after 35 years, this dream finally came true. I sold off a number of Magic: the Gathering cards to Star City Games, bought a 1978 30′ Hunter, and sailed her to my very own slip in Seabrook. We took her out only a few times (summers in Texas aren’t conducive to these things), but the knowledge that I had a boat of my own, there for me anytime I wanted to take her out, made me happy.
But that was before there was a Daphne to think about. And last week I added the annual cost of slip fees + insurance + maintenance + registration + gas for the trips down and back. The total wasn’t a small one, and it became clear that I couldn’t afford to keep my boat.
I’d finally gotten the thing I’ve always wanted, and I was going to have to watch her sail away without me.
This was a very bad day.
But, as in all things, there’s silver lining to be found here.
I did fulfill a lifelong dream and get that one thing that I’ve always wanted. I hope that all of you can know what that feels like, even if it’s just for a little while. And there’s nothing stopping me from getting another boat someday. Someday…
And, of course, I’ve a daughter on the way. One who will be (hopefully) healthy and strong and brilliant and generally a wonderful little human being to be around. And maybe I won’t dwell on the things that I gave up for her, because they’ll pale in comparison to how amazing she is. I hope that’s what will happen.
But I know that, on some clear spring days, the eidolons of my past will whisper to me on the wind. And, for just a moment, it will break my heart.
First, I’d like to apologize for the random visuals happening around here at the moment. I’m still working out the design and it’s likely to look mildly offensive on some days, and be a complete aesthetic assault on others. Sorry about that. I’ll settle on a layout soon enough.
So, let’s talk a little bit about what I’m “planning” here. (I’ve put that in quotes because I’m horrible at the “P” word.)
I’m going to write. A lot. About being a man. About being a husband. About the days leading up to being a father. About the day I actually become a father. And about all the ridiculous things that will undoubtedly befall our little family once little Daphne arrives on her chosen “D-Day.”
Some of these will be generic parenting observations. Some will be quite personal insights into my life and that of my family. Some of them will be surly from sleep deprivation. Some will be so saccharine that you’ll need to read them with a WaterPik handy. Most will carry sardonic undercurrents because, well, I’m a sardonic riptide.
There will also be reviews of various baby products, foods, videos, contraptions, et. al that we’ve used. What you might not know about me is that I offer unsolicited and unbiased (sometimes scathing), opinions on just about anything, to anyone. I’ve no doubt discussing these will follow in that vein.
I can also guarantee that something I find to be a waste of perfectly good plastic is your child’s favorite thing on Earth and you’ll wonder how one man could possibly be so wrong. That’s awesome. I totally want to know what you think. It’s
possible quite likely that I’m simply not using the item properly, and I am open to your suggestions.
But that brings me to my next point.
I’m told that parenting is a very personal thing. My attitudes are likely to be very different from yours. And that’s okay. I’ve also been told, time and again, that “there is no one right way to do this.” So I’m sharing that advice with you now.
There is no one right way to do this.
So please adhere to Wheaton’s Law, and we’ll all play nicely together along the way. Savvy?
The first post. Always a trepidatious thing. There are many questions.
Do you launch directly into your subject matter, Binkies blazing? This would be the professional take, although not lacking in hubris. “This blog is going to take the world by storm” you think, “why bother with little things like introductions.”
Or, in lieu of such arrogance, do you harp on the magical beginning of a thing? Allude to all the chuckles-in-potentia of your newly birthed blog, and thank the folk who’ve stumbled upon your meandering prose. Be sure to ask them to come back soon!
Much like what’s happening in my life currently, I don’t have the answers. So I’m going with a bit of both.
If you hadn’t surmised from the clever URL, this is my “dad blog.” There are many like it, but this one is mine. My daughter is due in less than 10 weeks, and I don’t know how to properly understand and/or deal with a thing unless I write about it. (It’s a weakness. And it’s not my only one.)
So welcome friends. Welcome family. Welcome complete and utter stranger.
To Bumble Dad.