Sunday, June 18, 2006

Bits And Pieces

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I spent the first half of my life avoiding responsibility and I have to admit, I was pretty successful at it. Putting off any thought of marriage seemed like the prime directive at the time.

After high school, one by one, my pals and gals tied the knot. Some of those knots unraveled and had to be retied, some just got tighter. I watched all of this with interest and some dread...my married friends seemed so ...grown up.

I worked hard at staying single,moving from park to park, avoiding the "M" word even after realizing that this new girl was the one. Along the way, my old gang of friends kept changing. When I came home for a visit, my married friends were still friends, but it was "different" when we got together. Once they became parents, it was really different.

Eventually, at 27, I tied the knot with the lovely Mrs. FC. The two of us went to my 10 year high school reunion less than a year later. Part of the reunion was a family beach picnic especially for showing off your kids. Kids? We skipped that part and just went to the dinner dance.

Then, a few years later, I got that, "You're going to be a daddy" phone call at work...from my wife by the way.

Baby Katie arrived in December '87 and six months later Father's Day changed from a day to honor my wonderful Dad to a day where I was sharing that honor. I found it very uncomfortable to be honored for a task I had only just begun, as if awards should be given for things you might do instead of things accomplished.

Katie and Mrs. FC trained me patiently, and by the time baby Emma arrived in March of '89, changing a diaper, fixing a bottle, rocking a crying baby were so second nature that I was starting to feel pretty darn Dadlike.

Newborn Emma sensed that I was getting a little cocky and proceeded to increase the intensity level of my Dad basic training by being the most colicy baby in the Milky Way. At the same moment in time, Mrs. FC went back to work in the nursing field. I spent that summer in a small singlewide trailer with happy, busy 15 month old Katie and banshee baby Emma. God bless her, she could scream at the top of her lungs for hours. When she did finally quiet down and fall asleep, poor neglected Katie was ready to wrestle, play, and make noise. It was a delicate balance, a tightrope if you will. Even little Katie realized we DO NOT want to wake Emma. When either of us made a loud noise while Emma was napping, we would freeze and look at each other...each dreading the telltale sound of the "WAIL".

I remember my principal and assistant principal showing up one day at the trailer door during this summer. There was some important paper they needed me to sign and since I could not go out easily with two little ones ,they drove out to the trailer. Two macho guys they were, but neither one would step into the trailer when I met them at the door with crying Katie hugging my leg, screaming Emma on my shoulder, and a barking Labrador Retriever behind me. They thrust the papers at me, I signed it, they left. I never saw two guys so glad to get going.

Eventually, (just about the time summer was over) Emma got over her colic and became the sweetest of angels. The next few summers were wonderful as I got to play Mr. Mom with our girls.

Then, one more pregnancy. This one was a boy...Mrs. FC knew the gender, but respected my wishes to not know ahead of time. What she did share was the fact that this baby was growing fast and the doctor recommended a C-section, since Emma at 9lbs 6oz had been a long difficult labor.

Unlike all the other surprise arrivals, this baby would be delivered at 8:30 am on a Friday. All that week I kept thinking how weird that seemed...to know that there will be a new baby in the family by appointment. Right on time, Junior arrived, all 10 lbs 13 oz of him. He seemed to know that I had passed the basic baby care portion of my Dad training and took it easy on us with no colic and quickly learning to sleep through the night. Good boy.

Of course, after Basic Baby/Toddler Care training was completed, there were other courses of study such as Three Kids Under School Age Training, Elementary School Kid Training, Being Involved In Every Activity and Sport Training, the dreaded Middle School Kid course, and the present course, Two In High School With One In College.

These days, when Father's Day rolls around, I feel more worthy of the title than I did on that first one. After a while and with lots of good training, the bits and pieces come together and you really do feel like a Dad on Fathers Day.

As with learning any new skill, it helps to have good trainers.

Lucky me, I've had the best.

14 comments:

pablo said...

There was a point in my life where I had four children under four years old, and three of them were in diapers.

Floridacracker said...

Pablo,
Hope your father's day was a good one. Sounds like you passed your course too.

Mrs. S said...

Aww, this is the sweetest post I've read all day - and the only "from Dad" post, I'd like to add! You're such a great writer, reading your stuff is always a pleasure (I often save your blog 'til last *blush*) but I especially love the little glimpses you give us into your own little world from time to time.

Happy Father's Day, FC - and thanks for sharing it with us.

doubleknot said...

Such a nice post. A journey into fatherhood. You sound like a great Dad and I am sure your family thinks so also.

threecollie said...

Sounds like you done good in the daddy training courses. I am impressed that you coped with colic and can still talk about it without shivering.
We are just one year ahead of you in the chillun raisin' game, having begun in '86; real similar otherwise right down to the 2 girls first and then the boy order of things. This brings us to 2 in college this fall.....speaking of training. Great post!

Thunder Dave said...

I know I'm late, but I hope you had a happy Father's day! Mine was relaxing and fun.

Tjilpi said...

Off Topic: FC - the last time I aimed a .22 at a living thing was when I was 12. I winged a parrot and realized it limped off to a miserable death. I have only ever shot at paper targets or dead beer bottles since then.

PS I'm assuming your comment on Pablo's post was addressed to me, Dr G. But, hey, it's a big world - unless the world is at "war"!

FYI, we celebrate Father's Day on the first Sunday in September. It varies around the world depending on the "economic" time of it's inroductioning into the local ecomony and pre-existing Public Holidays/Celebrations.

Must be a bit like all horses birthdays are in August!!

Doesn't matter when the child was sired!!

roger said...

aaah, trailer life. two of my daughters were born in the same 24 foot travel trailer in which my wife and i lived. actually born at home in it. the last in the 115 degree heat of summer. the marriage later became untied, but the kid raising was shared, and robinandrea is a much loved stepmom.

our dads are both gone, but hardly forgotten.

happy dad's day to you fc.

Floridacracker said...

Mrs. S,
Thanks for the kindness. You and your husband actually crossed my mind as I wrote that. I know you two are about to start that journey.

Doubleknot,
Every parent has similar tales. I just wanted to share a few.


ThreeCollie,
I had a feeling we were on a similar schedule.


Thunder,
Thanks and back at ya.


Tjilpi,
No, I wasn't aiming at you. "Dr. G" is a popular forensic science show on the Discovery Channel. Maybe it's only popular in the "Up Above".


dpr,
We poured the new house footer the day Emma came home from the hospital! The trailer was gone 3 months later.

robin andrea said...

Wonderful post, FC. I like the evolution of your fatherhood. I was one of four kids under the age of five in my family. My parents were definitely worn out by us, but I always knew that our dad absolutely relished and loving being our dad. It is something you give to your kids, that delight in being their father, and not all kids have it. Hope you had a fantastic father's day.

Floridacracker said...

Robin,
Thanks, I had a nice day. It's good to be Dad.

Ava said...

What a great story to share. I enjoyed it very much. Hope you had a happy father's day.

Ava

Floridacracker said...

Thanks Ava,
It was nice and I got to see my Dad too.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Great post and from a different perspective. Like, "What Father's Day means to me," sort of way...or "How I earned Fatherhood."

It was nice to hear from a father's point of view.