Sometimes when I can’t be with my boys it hurts. It feels like there’s a huge hole in my heart.
Other times I’m fine.
I don’t know what makes the difference.
When I was younger I would dream about marriage. I wanted to get married as far back as I can remember.
Fatherhood was something I rarely gave any thought.
I figured I would have kids at some point. I didn’t think about it beyond that.
Sometimes it’s all I can think about now.
I want to spend as much time with my boys as I can.
I want them to have the best future they can.
I want to do whatever I can to make that happen.
I want to have the best relationships with them I can.
I want them to be the best men they can be.
I want them to learn from my bad choices.
To not go through what I’ve been through.
I was pretty sheltered as a kid.
My dad died when I was three.
My mom kept me home most of the time. I was happy there, so I didn’t mind.
In the LDS church young men are expected to serve a full-time mission for two years. At that time they would go at age nineteen.
I was afraid of being on my own for that long.
I’d been on my own at scout camps and events, but that was it.
I was afraid of being far from home.
I had always wanted to get married. That seemed a lot safer, and I’d always been romantically inclined.
I had a plan.
Right after high school I would go to college for a year. While I was there I would find someone to marry.
Never mind that I had never gone out on a date before.
Never mind that I was afraid to even talk to girls.
My plan was foolproof.
What could possibly go wrong?
A lot of people know that Ernest Hemingway killed himself.
Not as many people know that his father also killed himself.
So did his son.
Many times the children of people who commit suicide go on to commit suicide themselves. That’s not what I want for my boys.
I love this comic by LunarBaboon.
I know my kids need me.
I grew up without a dad. I don’t want my kids to have to go through that.
I want to see them grow up and have kids of their own.
I want to give them the best life I can.
I can’t do that if I’m dead.
My wife doesn’t. At least that’s what she says.
Since she’s divorcing me it doesn’t matter.
I don’t want to get married again right away. I want to become the man I know I have the potential to be. The wife I find now may not be compatible with the man I want to become.
I love babies. Whenever I see babies or toddlers it makes me want another.
It’s not because I don’t love my boys.
They’ve been asking my wife for years when she’s going to give them a little sister.
A few weeks ago they told me Mommy didn’t want to have another baby. I reminded them about the divorce. They seemed sad.
I told them I was probably going to get remarried, and when that happened I might have another baby. They were happy about that.
When my oldest was born I wasn’t excited. I’m ashamed of that.
He showed me how wonderful being a dad is. He made me want to have another. Now I have two wonderful little boys.
They make me want to have even more kids.
I was three.
I only have a handful of memories about him.
After he died my male role models were my grandpas and Mister Rogers.
When I got older my Scout leaders became role models, too.
I wonder how I’d be different if my dad had lived. Would I be more masculine? Would I be a better father?
I used to worry that my sons wouldn’t be masculine enough because of me. I don’t worry about that anymore.
I wasn’t ready to be a dad.
When she showed me the pregnancy test I knew it didn’t matter. I was going to be a dad, ready or not.
I’d wanted to be married my whole life. I’d rush into relationships because I wanted to be married so bad. I’d fantasize about what marriage would be like.
I didn’t fantasize about being a father, though. I imagined it would happen at some point. I didn’t really think about it beyond that.
My dad died when I was three. I only have a handful of memories about him, all distorted by time.
I didn’t know how to be a dad. And at first I definitely didn’t enjoy it.
I’m still not sure I know how to be a dad. I’m easily irritated. I get impatient. Sometimes I make my kids cry.
I’m learning, though. I spend time with my kids without being asked. I spend time with them when they ask, even if I had other plans. I even enjoy it most of the time.
There are still things I don’t like. Telling them no. Disciplining them. Making them do things they don’t want to. But I want to do what’s best for them, even if it’s not enjoyable.
Am I the best dad in the world. Of course not.
But I’m getting there.