Daddin': The Verb of Being a Dad

Inspired by the book, by Dion McInnis

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To Breathe Is To See; To See Is To Listen

Inhale.  Exhale.  One breath at a time.  Each day, each moment.  If you have lost your breath, catch it. Then see anew.

With lungs full of air, I am enjoying the view of my sons at their respective ages of 33, 29 and 22.  (I also enjoy the view of the three granddaughters, 4, 1 and 1, but today’s message is about daddin’, not granddaddin’). I had been airless for quite a while; it is not a condition that I recommend staying in for very long.  They have a term for that!

Keeping abreast of my sons is a combination of watching Facebook, talking on the phone and conversations when paths cross; the oldest uses Facebook as if on a mission and his siblings reject the medium completely; the middle son places phone calls several times a week as part of his drive home from work and on weekends; and, the youngest lives with me so our paths cross when his crazy schedule (work, school and fishing) overlaps with my crazy schedule.  Of course, there is a mix of calls, emails and face-to-face for the scattered crew of three.  One of the verbs/chapters of the Daddin’ book is about listening, and the process is still as rewarding and valuable now with three men as it was then with three boys.  It is an honor and a gift to be able to “listen in” on their lives through whatever channels are afforded me.

Of course, all the verbs work together…listening leads to growing and playing, and all those things involve learning, and every breath involves loving.  (Those are some of the chapters of the book for those of you who have not read it).

No matter what verb we’re talking about, or what story I am hearing, or questions I am trying to answer, or….  it is living.  Living.  Each day, each moment, with lungs full of air.

The boys are men (though there is, and always will be, a bit of boy left in them), their lives are changing, their dreams are developing and in each opportunity to witness their lives I know in my heart that they are living and loving.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

 

And after about nine months

Where has the time gone for posting?  Life has happened, changes were needed in my job and now I am on a new adventure.  Amidst all the changes, one thing is for certain and it is the thing that has not ever changed.  There is no “job” like being a dad.  Just letting it soak in is cause for tears, and now that I have my feet back underneath me I intend to spend more time recording those feelings and stories, not unlike the years of doing so that led to the Daddin’ book.

Interestingly, the topic of daddin’ has come up quite a lot lately in various lunch meetings, random conversations and such.  My middle son texted me the other day to draw my attention to Pope Francis’ call for dads to be more involved in their kids’ lives.  I spent the entire day reaching out to various media outlets to share the daddin’ verb as it is exactly what the Pope called for.  The text message was all the more meaningful because he is a dad, too, with his daughter about to turn one.

I shared the concept with a woman at a recent Rotary lunch and tears welled in her eyes; I shared the concept of dads and their verb with a preacher’s mom and she was immediately drawn in to the message and the need to recognize dads and their important roles; and, I received a call a week or so ago with a request that I do a radio interview about being a dad…in 15 seconds.  Once the interview was over, I was told that the “interviewers” were part of the Howard Stern show.  My answers were genuine and not theatrical, so I imagine my episode won’t ever be saved on his record of shows.  Truth be told, I was proud of that interview…being pushed into a corner to provide counterpoints to absurd positions led me to a position of grace (I can’t think of any other term for me) to speak with nothing but love for the role of being a dad.  And now granddad.

I have been a granddad for four years now, and when May rolls around I will be the granddad to four little girls.

Part of the changes made over the last nine months (leaving my job of 13 years and a career path of 27 years) had to do with those little girls and their dads.  I was not happy with what that path was doing to the man that is their dad and granddad, and I could not abide them getting anything less than the real me.  I knew that changes were required before the damage became too great.  And all of that has been part of the drive to adjust, adjust, adjust my course until I got on the path of Empowered Creativity Institute, my new business.  All of it, ALL of the changes have been directed to getting back to the real me and helping others find their authentic selves.  What does that have with daddin’?  Everything. Every single verb of it.

As I regained my sense of Self, I would sometimes open the Daddin’ book to a random page to be reminded of the verbs (chapters) and the stories.  Life as dad is balance for me, and now I am again steadied to be fully granddad, too.

My journal has many entries of “Remember this story…” followed by a few cryptic notes.  And therein resides the message for this posting:  “Remember this story….” no matter how you can considering all else going on in life.  Remember them, record them, share them and make them part of your family story.

Watching my sons as they live their lives as men, spouses, sons…and fathers, (spouses and dads for two of them!) certainly fits all the chapters of daddin’, i.e., all the verbs of being a dad as outlined in the book:  havin’, learnin’, listenin’, lovin’, playin’, fishin’, growin’, leavin’, livin’.  Every moment is a blessing.

These two poems stand next to each other in the introduction of the book:

To call out to you, to many, to all
The joy of being
Father, dad, pop
To these three.

And

I have no more control over this
Than over my heart beating or
My lungs taking in breath.
My boy comes into my view
And I smile
And swell with pride and love.

Those thoughts and reactions are as real today as they ever were, and continues with each day as I hear their stories about their jobs, wives, significant others, friends, children, journeys, wonderments…all the things that comprise the lives of young men.  Two are married, and one is not; all are good men.  I don’t pretend to think they are perfect, but they follow well the message on my dad’s gravestone:  “He has left for us a most noble pattern.”  My sons are on noble paths.  The granddaughters are on wonderful paths, too, even at the sweet ages of 4, 1 and 1.

I am a nostalgic type.  I reminisce about being young and about having young ones around me.  There is much about raising the boys that I miss, sometimes desperately.  But, standing on more solid ground, I see that those times are the seeds of what is to come.

I will catch up on more of the stories in future posts and will spend more time in my journal, too.  I am back…as me, as dad and as granddad.  You need you, your children need you, and your grandchildren need you…to be….YOU.  Give yourself, your kids and your grandchildren the best possible you.

A Recent Interview/Review

I am pleased and proud to present you this most recent interview/review on the book, Daddin’:  The Verb of Being a Dad.

How did I get so far behind?

Five months since I posted?  How could that be?

Lot of reasons, but thankfully one of them is being busy as a dad and granddad.  There has been (not enough) fishing with Cameron, seeing little Lil, helping print photos for Dion’s first photo exibition, watching Justin and his wife compete in a mud run…oh, and trying to keep up the house.

Other life stuff has gotten in the way, but the simple truth is that I have not taken the time to enjoy, to notice, to reflect and to write.  I will get back to it now; I need it.  Sometimes the creative things that we avoid during life’s challenges are the exact same things we need to help us navigate the challenges.