I don’t know what I’m doing. There I said it. Talk amongst yourselves. But, I really don’t care. I don’t profess to be a great daddy or even a good daddy. I win some. I lose some. The boys get the best of me sometimes. I try and manage.
Ok, so there are a lot of ‘I’ sentences in the first paragraph. It’s hard to talk about yourself and not use ‘I’. Try it.
So, Archibald and Mortimer (not their real names) were born just over seven years ago. Of course, I was younger then. I was with Mommy (or SMM – Sergeant Major Mommy as I affectionately refer to her) during the birth. It was amazing to see the instant the boys came into the world. Archie came kicking and screaming. Morty didn’t want to come out. But, per my suggestion, the doctors and nurses coaxed the little bugger with chocolate candy and his first Ipad.
Archie and Morty stayed in the hospital for the first week with SMM because she had high blood pressure and the doctor wanted to keep her under observation. Which is good because it gave me time to prepare the house for their arrival. The date of their birth was dictated by the doctor and it caught us completely by surprise. We thought we had a couple of more weeks.
I spent the week cleaning and rearranging and putting together their furniture, painting their room, preparing all of their clothes, memorizing all the children’s songs I could find and drinking heavily. I knew when they got home, I wouldn’t be able to drink for awhile because of their neediness. But, that was ok. I didn’t miss it… much.
The bad news is that I was laid off from my job two weeks before they were born. The good news is that I spent the first three months caring for them full time with SMM. She wasn’t SMM back then, but she has gradually and easily transitioned into the role as the boys grew and went to school.
Kids go through stages. When they got off baby formula, we (SMM and I) felt like we got a raise. Formula is so expensive. Then when they got out of diapers, another raise. But, then came Day Care and it was back to belt-tightening.
Kindergarten came and the little buggers survived and thrived. First grade came and Morty was able to keep up with the ridiculous academic pace for six-year-olds. But, Archie had some trouble. He has been officially diagnosed with a learning disability. The school was great in testing and evaluating him and then preparing a plan of action for Archie in 2nd grade. He is progressing as we speak. What more could you or I ask for?
Of course, along the way have been mountains of adversity such as what kind of food to prepare that the little buggers would actually eat and the sparkling diamonds of moments that still bring tears to my eyes. For instance, Archie still likes to sit on my lap or hold my hand on occasion. Morty told me once that I was awesome when I told him I thought he was a good baseball player.
Archie wants to be a construction worker. Morty, whose reading skill keeps growing exponentially, will be sitting for the NYS Bar exam next month. I guess to each his own. Contrary to popular belief, these twins are complete opposites of each other.
So, how am I doing? I have my good days and not so good days. The little buggers have tested me at every opportunity and not only have I survived, I’ve become a better daddy (I think) and a better man (I hope). Of course, my work is not up. I am still growing and the boys, who keep moving constantly, are growing too.
Ok, so we don’t have a lot of money, my job is just ok, SMM has a long commute each day, our cars have seen better days, the house creaks and leaks, but we have each other and everybody’s in good health. For right now, that seems pretty good.
Jeff Jackson is a writer, aspiring speaker and advocate for daddies and men. We live in Nanuet, NY about 30 miles north of NYC. Check out his blog: www.DaddyisBest.com and like his FB page: DaddyisBest.