May 1, 2014 at 6:14 am , by Nick Shell
3 years, 5 months.
When I was growing up, I never minded the small town I grew up in. It was all I knew.
Life was good, easy, and comfortable. My parents did everything right.
But around the time I starting driving, I became more curious about life outside of the shared corner of Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia.
The summer before my senior year, I travelled to Ecuador. Then after I graduated high school, I went to college in Florida and Virginia; both of which took way more than 8 hours to travel to and from the house I grew up in.
I spent two of the summers in college overseas in Bangkok, Thailand; teaching English. I briefly did the same in South Korea, as well.
For a guy who sure was comfortable being raised in a small town, it was my instinct to want to go explore the world outside of safety and comfort.
I think you will be the same way. I think you will end up being an explorer of the world; at least the world outside the town you are growing up in.
Aside from that, though- after Mommy and I have “raised you,” you will leave us and start your own life. You will have the desire to become who you were to intended to be, apart from us.
I am preparing myself now for the day you will move away and figure things out on your own, like I had to do.
The way I see it, when a father does a good job of raising his son, he is rewarded by seeing his son move on to start his own life, and eventually start his own family. It seems that’s one of the ultimate rewards of being a father… as much of a paradox as that may sound.
Mommy is the nurturer, I am the mentor, and you’re the kid. Together, I know that the three of us will always have a close love for each other; but I get it that you will, in essence, need to “start over” and do this thing yourself.
Right now, these are the years when the rewards of fatherhood include cuddling with you, wrestling you, having you ask me to sing you bedtime songs, taking you to the zoo and the monster truck show… so many things each day that mean the world to me.
The undeniable irony here is that for the next 15 years or so, I will ultimately be revolving my life around you so that you can become independent enough to live your life without me being right there. I guess that’s sort of an obvious element of being a dad, but I’m thinking about it more here lately.
I don’t take for granted you are growing up so fast. After all, one day, that might actually be a real mustache on your face!
P.S. The top picture is an entry we submitted for a “selfie photo contest” for Joe Hendricks Photography!