Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Birthday to My Buddy

Hank celebrated his 1st birthday recently...more pics soon!

I have been a dad for a year. The best analogy I can think of is that it's been like riding a roller coaster in the dark. Overall it's been a huge amount of fun, but exhausting, and at any given point, it's been impossible to tell what would happen next - good, bad, or barf. I look at Hank and I see the best parts of my dad, my father-in-law, and my grandfather. Hope they see the same. Being a dad is the most consistently joyful (while thankless) things I have ever done. And by far the most rewarding job I have ever had.
It's really not how I thought it would be, and I struggle to try to explain that. I guess the best way to put it is that being a dad quickly became more entwined with how I define myself than I thought it would. Some days, I look forward to what's next in his development. Other days (lately), I kind of wish he'd stay the same for awhile, because I love him so much just the way he is.
All this exhaustion and love and mushy stuff has definitely affected my outdoor work and play. Again, not quite in ways I expected. I seem to have developed an internal clock that sometimes tells me it's time to wrap up my time afield or on the water, and get back home to see what Hank is up to (primarily, stomping around the house after Roan, yelling "Daw Dee, Daw Dee!!!" (doggie)). But seriously, I seem to get just as recharged by taking Hank to the state fair or "Fall on the Farm" type activities as I do by sitting out in the bugs and weather by myself. I look forward to having Hank join me, although I know it's several years off at this point.
Along with the little guy has come the requisite "lack of money" and "lack of free time." Those two have affected my outdoor efforts in a few ways. First of all, I remain focused on the "ethic" I started to pursue last year: to spend my limited free time on only the highest quality outdoor adventures available to me, and to focus on work, home, and family when I'm not directly planning/mobilizing/de-mobilizing from an outdoor adventure. Second, it's imperative that I give up some otherwise "free time" to allow my saint of a wife to recover from all of her duties and obligations. Most days, we could both really use a nap like Hank takes - the two hour, snoring variety before lunch and before dinner.
I can't imagine a greater blessing, and I'm interested to see how homesick I get this waterfowl season!


Michael Agneta said...

Happy Birthday Hank (& Dad)! Great post. As the father of a 4 year old, I can attest that the first year is a blur and you did a great job explaining the various feelings - from elation to exhaustion - that new parents go through trying to balance everything.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to the little fella and nice post Dad. Being a parent is certainly a wave of emotions and you did a great job summing it up!

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