January 28, 2014 at 9:08 pm , by Nick Shell
3 years, 2 months.
During the holidays last month, there was a day where I had to work, but you and Mommy were home.
I didn’t realize it until here recently, but I found these pictures that Mommy took of you wearing my hat and slippers. You had proclaimed to Mommy:
“I’m being Daddy!”
Deep thought: In your eyes, what does it mean to “be Daddy”?
It happened again yesterday afternoon, as we had just finished watching Brother Bear 2 on Netflix. In the movie, the main character, a girl named Nita, chooses to turn into a bear.
As you played trains on the carpet with Mommy, I asked you if you wanted me to turn into a bear. Out of curiosity, you said yes.
In the likeness of Brother Bear 2, I stood up, sort of twirling in slow motion through the air, and when I crouched back down, I pretended to be a roaring bear.
Almost immediately, you stopped me:
“Go back to being a daddy!”
So with another slow motion twirl in the air, I turned back into “a daddy.”
But what does in mean, in your eyes, to be a Daddy? And more importantly, to be your Daddy?
For me, it was one of those moments in time where I got accidental confirmation that I must be doing something right, as your parent.
Whatever it means to you that I’m your Daddy, it’s a thing you want and need.
This reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite movies, Garden State:
“It’s like you feel homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist. Maybe it’s like this rite of passage, you know. You won’t ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it’s like a cycle or something. I don’t know, but I miss the idea of it, you know. Maybe that’s all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place.”
Last night as I wrapped you up in your snowman blanket, singing you “Yellow Submarine,” I heard the mix of nostalgic sadness and happiness in the song.
I imagined what that must be like on your end. I remember. I do…
There’s this deep sentimental connection between a parent and a child about your age; a certain connection I still remember having with my parents in the early 1980s.
You’re in it, right now. You’re in it.
I’m not saying that feeling goes away, but I recognize it as particularly special during those preschool years, when lullabies and stuffed animals are part of everyday life.
It feels like… home. It’s both happy and sad.
The reason it’s sad is because it’s so happy and, deep down, you know it won’t last forever.
You know that the two of you will both grow up and eventually become both be adults.
But as for right now, you get to be the cute little boy, ironically wearing Daddy’s hat and slippers.