Ask Your Dad - Time Machine Edition | Ask Your Dad Blog

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ask Your Dad - Time Machine Edition

Long before I met Stevie, and even longer before I met Captain and Duchess, I was living in a house with my dad, my sister, and my newborn nephew. My sister got pregnant young. She was 19. Our family rallied together, and for the first year of my nephew's life we all helped raise him. She took over from there and has been doing a fantastic job since. 

I was writing back then too, just not as publicly. 

This past weekend I was going through some of my writing from that period of my life and came across this. I think it is worth sharing here. It was a moment in my life that helped to shape the dad I try to be now. Hope you enjoy it. 

Love, Dad


June 9, 2006

Last night my sister brought Cam into my room and told me that I needed to put him to bed because she had to drive her friend Molly home.

Cameron was fussy, and while I always love being handed a happy baby, I was somewhat annoyed to handed the crying baby. I didn't have time to argue with her. Cam arched his back and started screaming, and before I knew it she had left. I brought him downstairs and laid him in his large play pen (which he has been sleeping in since he tried to go base jumping out of his crib.)

I then went into the living room and sat in the blue glow of the television screen waiting for him to stop screaming. It didn't stop, and in about three minutes what started out as just loud shrieking began to transform into words in my head. "Why are you annoyed with me?" "Why am I alone in here?" "What did I do?" "Please... Please..." These were separated by short stuttered breaths.

I gave in, entered the room, and found him standing at the side of the playpen, glazed puffy eyes trembling accusingly. He reached for me with one arm. I picked him up and brought him into the living room. He is getting so big. He is still so tiny. We sat in my sisters rocking chair and I let him cry.

I tried to remember the last time I cried with such unhinged veracity. I tried to think about what I needed in those moments...what could have made me stop. I realized that I was doing everything I could. I was doing everything that had been done for me. I was letting him cry. I was holding him.

His stuttering sobs continued into squirming back arches of frustration, and anger. He would break to breath, and lay his head against my shirt. His tears soaked through and i could feel the wetness against my chest.

I caressed the back of his head and sang Floyd's "Wish you were here." He would be quiet with eyes wide for a minute and then whimper... cry... whimper. Slowly it all subsided. His eyes fell and his silence thanked me for not letting him cry himself to sleep alone. His tiny hands bunched up my t-shirt and pulled me in close. This tiny person, whom I had looked at with annoyance only an hour before was now holding me. And I realized that, how earlier, when his world was dark and lonely, when the only way he knew how to cope was to scream, all he needed was to be held. I was able to be the one thing he needed in the world for a half and hour.

I didn't carry him to bed right away. I stayed in the rocking chair, in the dark basement, television turned off and let him hold me. Things were simple again. For the next half hour, he was the only thing in this world I needed.

This world can be so horrendously complicated. I cherish times like these - these moments of actual love and clarity. They are the staples that hold hearts together and leave the metallic taste of understanding on our lonelier days.

-John


Cam and me circa 2006

16 comments:

  1. See? You've always been a great writer, even when you were just a dad-in-training.
    Nicely done, amigo.

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    1. Ahh, Thank you Ask. BTW, I need to get you the Jazz tickets you won!

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  2. Thanks for sharing the past with us. I always wonder what I'm going to do when our little one is screaming and I can't calm him down, but, I've been told that when that time comes, I'll just know. I certainly hope it's as easy as that. :)

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    1. I was told that too Marc. It isn't true. It's not that you just magically "know what to do". It's just that you do whatever you have to. There have been plenty of times where I've gone "I have no idea what to do!!!" over and over again until the moment passed on its own. :)

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  3. Wow, John...thanks for the tears. No really, thank you! It is really encouraging to me as a single-mom of 3 kids (2 separate "dads" and I use the term loosely) that there are men out there who are able to love and adore children, whether they belong to them or not! My hope is restored in one day finding a man who will want to be a part of my children's lives as much as mine. Kudos to you and God Bless you for being you! You and Stevie were very lucky to find each other.

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    1. You are so very welcome Tanabanana! Thank you for reading!

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  4. Urghh!! Why are you making me cry? So Sweet.

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    1. If I can make MommaBrain cry, then my work is done here.

      **flies away**

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  5. I wish I had a brother that would treat my child as if it were his own. But I seen how he treats kids and I wouldn't leave my dog with him. Your sister is really fortunate to have a brother like you. Taylor Johannesen

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    1. Thanks Taylor. Sorry to hear your brother is a jerk :( Maybe he'll come around some day.

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  6. Thank you for this post. My kids are 2 and 5 and in need of our bed at night. I've been struggling but this put it in perspective for me. If all they need is to sleep next to me and their dad, well that makes us pretty dang lucky, doesn't it?

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  7. Hi John! Your past is every interesting. I have learned something from your post. As a viewer, we want something learn able from the authors(John). I think that your past are teaching us how to love our child. Thank You. :)

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  8. What a great post. No comment. Just wanted to tell you this made me a better person.

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    1. Wow, What an incredibly kind thing to say. I'm so glad you liked it. Thanks Chris!!

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