“You Just Broke Your Child” Is Emotional, Necessary
Do I give you the info first or the disclaimer first?
Disclaimer: Single Dad Laughing, a blog by some dude named Dan Pearce, is emotional, to say the least. It may be better that you don’t read his other posts, most notably the ones that he (or whoever wrote his “About” section) says went viral. Or at least, please read “You Just Broke Your Child” first. Let it sink in, sleep on it, then if you’re still interested, go back.
It’s okay, I’ll wait.
I’m only saying this because Dan, who really does seem like a great father, dips between right-on-the-money sentiment about fathering his son (as in the Guide to Adoption Etiquette in “How Much Did Your Kid Cost?”) , and, well, crazy-wafer self-aware stuff like “If you haven’t read [his other post], do it first. It will change you.” I don’t want to be a dick, but the article he was referring to did not change me. He throws a couple of other zingers out on his site where he really pats himself on the back, and it’s kind of a put-off. Other than that, dude is to be commended.
Anyway, that’s the disclaimer.
All this space wasted on breaking Dan down, let’s build him up now. “You Just Broke Your Child” is great. It may not change you, but it’s a great read. And really, when I say that Dan is “emotional,” I’m saying it in the best way possible. It’s so common these days that fathers get emotional in the other direction – the one he describes in his article – lashing out at their kid when all they’re doing is being a kid. Or, what’s more common, fathers become unemotional; where they somehow aren’t moved by simply having a child anymore.
Not to be Dan-like, but I kind of well up with tears when I think about how awesome my son is.
And I think that’s why YJBYC (dude, I can’t type it anymore, sorry) is an important read. I’ll tell you I read the article in two parts: I read up to the line “Do you honestly expect anybody to believe that you can’t find 20 minutes to step away from your computer or turn off the television to play with your child?” Then, I dropped to the ground and played with my son until he went to bed. Then, I finished the article. Sometimes, I, myself forget the importance of laying on the ground and just letting my son brutalize me, step on my head, and use my nuts as a punching bag. I work a full-time job, drive home for 40 minutes, and then worry about this website. Or I worry about my freelance work. Or I worry about what my wife and I are having for dinner. But 99% of the time, the second I walk through the door, my son runs up to me and says “da DA” (like he’s Russian or something), and hugs me. It’s incredible to me that a kid that young somehow learned to love…me. So, hopefully it’s an accurate representation to say that “most of the time when I get home from work, I almost immediately get on the floor and play with my son.” And as an added bonus, if I’ve had a rough day, rough-housing with my boy is somehow the most healing thing I can do. He reminds me that there’s simpler things out there than Facebooking and video games.
My wife and I constantly have the “OMG, we made him” conversation about our son. It’s important to remember that it’s not past tense. We’re still making him with our actions, and it behooves us to listen to him. When my wife and I are wrapped up in our own thing, and our kid comes up to us and tugs on us, leading us into his room – sometimes we think it’s a bother. But then we remember that it’s a blessing that our child wants to show us anything, even if it is just the same old stuffed animals in his room. It’s hard to step back and get over yourself as a busy adult that has other things to do.
I think I’ve said enough. I could kind of go on all night. As any good father should be able to.
If you’re a father, you should read YJBYC in as many parts as you need. Dan reminds us that we make our children and our children make us. And if it’s not happening like that, you’re doing it wrong.