Being a dad was never one of the overriding goals of my life.
For most of my adult life, fatherhood wasn’t even on my radar. I hadn’t met the right partner. I had plenty of other interests and activities to occupy my time and attention. I was scared.
Then along came Princess of Pavement. And she thought it would be cool to have a kid.
So we did.
Admittedly I got into the game pretty late.
The patterns and rhythms of my life were well-entrenched.
There’s no doubt the arrival of Little Ring would turn them upside down.
So he did. In the best way possible.
When you’re not of the Dad World, you tend to roll your eyes at all those cliches of dad-dom: it’s the best thing ever; it enriches you in ways you never thought possible; there’s never a dull moment; you’ll never sleep again.
When you join the Dad World, those cliches start to define you.
Some dads go into the Dad World with very definite ideas of the kind of dad they want to be, the example they want to set for their child.
I had no idea.
It would be cool if he glommed onto some of my interests, so we could share them. I’d like him to be curious about the world around him, eager to learn. I’d want him to be tolerant, open-minded, accepting. Brave but not foolhardy would also be good traits to impart. Smart and funny would serve him well.
Somehow, just 34 months into his young life, Little Ring is all of those.
I have no idea how much credit Princess of Pavement and I can take for that, or how much is bred into him.
His curiosity was apparent from the get-go. Whenever we went for walks Little Ring alertly took in everything around him from his stroller, his eyes darted back and forth, his head turned this way and that. Everything he saw was a wonderment. It was as if he wanted to drink the world in in one big gulp.
Little Ring’s bravery is a force. He wants to try new things, he wants to climb, he wants to explore. But he seems to have an innate sense for his limitations, and he’s not afraid to ask for help when he needs it. That’s the biggest bravery of all.
He’s sharp. He asks questions and makes note of the answers. He can connect the dots.
He’s funny. And usually he knows it. preceding his own jokes with a sly, knowing giggle.
That he’d share my love for cycling and hockey was inevitable. One of the first things we did when we got home from the hospital was watch the Vuelta together. I told him what was happening, I regaled him with tales of Eddy Merckx. We hung a cycling alphabet poster in his room.
The hockey was more accidental. Apparently whenever I watched a game, he was taking note of what was going on. He knew the goalies, the players, the referee and the zamboni. He figured out penalties.
Being Little Ring’s dad is a marvel every day. His smile lightens my heart. His giggle uplifts me. The quirky things he says make me laugh out loud.
As his vocabulary widens, and his understanding of the world deepens, we can share stories, have conversations, and I’m able to see my own world from a new perspective. And it looks pretty darn good.
So on this, Father’s Day, I’d like to thank Little Ring for letting me be his dad. Forever.