Last summer, several natural/connected parents I know - and by several, I mean over 100! - started an impromptu blog carnival. The theme? "I'm that Dad/Mom." I was thinking about this earlier today, and decided to give it a refresh to see if I'm still the Dad I think I am . . . and in the hopes that I am now even better.
I am that Dad. I am that Dad who goes swimming when he is tired, because he knows that he'll get more energy as soon as he hears his children's laughter. I am that Dad who makes a hot dog smothered with bacon and pepperoni at 2:00am, because it's what sounds good to his child right now. I am that Dad who will sit in a coffee shop and play Monopoly for three hours or until I lose, whichever comes first, because when I can be patient I can learn new ways to have fun. I am that Dad who goes to three stores to find their favorite ice cream when they lose one too many rounds of Mario Kart, because ice cream heals more tears than words do. I am that Dad that sometimes stays up all night to watch anime because one of my sons just needs to share something new with me. I am that Dad who can usually drop what he's doing and follow someone outside to catch a frog, play nerf wars, or try to get a football stuck in a tree, because "sure!" is always easier for young ears to hear than "in a few minutes." I am that Dad who says "yes" when my youngest wants to buy a zippo, because he really isn't very likely to burn down anything too important. I am that Dad who can wipe a butt with a smile, because wiping it with a frown sucks for both of us. I am that Dad who is never perfect, but who tries his best every day to stay connected with his life, because I am not perfect and have no desire to pretend to be so. I am that Dad who is honest and real, despite my warts, because my kids will all have warts and I want them to grow up without fearing them. I am that Dad who is unafraid to sing loudly with the windows open because life should be celebrated in freedom; who is willing to have his toenails painted, because all little girls need to be able to paint outside the lines; who will wrestle seven kids at once in a public park, because it's okay to get a public ass-whooping every now and again; and who speaks in his Monty Python voice while walking through a nice restaurant, because people are way too fucking stuffy and I don't want my kids to think that they have to be that way when they grow up. I am that Dad who will wrestle to help get out energy, cuddle to help get out tears, and play imagination games to help get out laughter. I am the Dad who loves my kids enough to question the status quo behind everything from our education system to traditional parenting styles to my own abilities and struggles, because my kids deserve that and so much more. I am the Dad who cries at certain commercials, because certain commercials are touching and we all need to recognize the value of a good cry. I am that Dad who will stand in line for 30 minutes to get the perfect donut, because everyone deserves a perfect donut. I am that Dad who strives for the perfect balance of calm and playful, stable and crazy, honest and compassionate, active and chill. And I am the Dad who knows that he doesn't know best about much, except for about the fact that his partner and kids are simply amazing.
I am THAT Dad. Still.