Everyone writes these great stories about the things about fatherhood that surprised them. Wonderful, pie-in-the-sky stuff, like how first-time-father-dudes never truly knew how to love until they saw their child’s eyes. Or the surprise of having to learn how to do girl’s hair as the father of a daughter.
That’s all totally valid.
But there are a lot of things that are very not-shocking about fatherhood. Things that, when they happen, you saw them from so far away that you actually forgot about them until they were right there, running you over.
There are a lot of surprising things about fatherhood, but there are a lot of no-brainers, obvi…
1. I’m raising a small me.
Look, I understand that this doesn’t sink in for some people. But early on, I knew that whatever my kid saw me do, he’d do. Whatever he heard me say, he’d say. Obviously. That’s how babies learn the world. So when my son is sarcastic to me, I get it. He’s just putting out what he got in. And whenever I curse (which is, on a good day, once every four sentences), I know it’s coming right back at me. And it does. When my son was no more than three, he hit his leg on the coffee table and then sat down, and without knowing that I was listening, said “ow, my f**kin’ knee.” We had to explain that there are adult words that he just doesn’t get to say until he’s been chewed up and destroyed by a constantly-contracting and crushing life, breaking him from the inside out. Then, and only then, do bad words truly mean something for you, kid.
I’m raising a tiny me. I knew this from the start. So I’ve got to put love, happiness, nerdiness and some humor into him so the rest of the world doesn’t regret that I had a kid.
2. Kids break EVERYTHING.
You can train your child that you live in a museum (and what fun is that), or teach them specifically what to touch and what not to touch, but eventually, your child will break everything you care about. They will put a slice of cheese in the disc tray of your PlayStation 4. They will tear holes in your couch cushions. They will bite…everything. They will scuff up every good shoe you buy them. They will spill a glass of something into your keyboard. They will crack your TV screen. They will throw a lights-n-sounds Thor hammer into your open TV stand, knocking over and shattering the painted, ceramic kitty cat statues you bought in Mexico on your honeymoon. That was really, oddly specific. They will — can I get an ‘Amen’ from the older parents — dent your car. They will break everything you have until you have bought everything in your house three times. BTW, they’ll also break their own arms. They might even break your junk:
I gotta say, I’m not thrilled with how this is playing out. #worsttrackever #nutwheels #hotwheels #testiclephysics A photo posted by Zach Rosenberg (@zjrosenberg) on Aug 5, 2015 at 2:11pm PDT
They will also break your heart. You know it and you wait for it and it happens and then you go off and cry and you get back on your feet and wait for it again. It all pays off though. At least that’s what my dad said.