She’s growing up too fast. So is he. There’ll all true, all those clichés, all the corny advice and stuff people say. Not enough time. Just have to do the best I can to enjoy and wrap myself around all moments with them, let them frustrate me and make me smile and laugh, cry, whatever. They’re my kids, my babies, I’m their dad, and I have to be better than just “the best dad for them”, as one person said to me years and years ago. Like I don’t know that? Maybe I don’t. Maybe I’m not being the best dad I can be— but I can’t second-guess myself. Just do everything for them, delight and indulge in all moments with them.. each one. ‘Cause like MY dad said to me right after Jack, my oldest, was born, “Stop and throw yourself into that moment ‘cause you’ll NEVER get it again.” He was right. So that’s my expanding philosophy with these wee Madigans.
Right now, Jack’s at school and Emma’s upstairs asleep. Just went up to check on her, as I do obsessively when she sleeps and she’s safe in her dreams, in this house with me. Earlier this afternoon, when I came back from a meeting, all she wanted to do was play. Touch the buttons on that guitar we bought Jackie years ago and bang on that drum. She smiled and crawled around (something she just in the past week has started to do), then crawling back to me to pull on my shirt or touch my cheek or lips. “How much longer will that be what she can do?” I asked myself. What will it be like when she walks? How will I feel on Jackie’s first day of kindergarten? What will it be like when they’re teenagers? How strong a dad will I be then? Again, this is all cyclical futility. Live and enjoy one day at a time, I’ve learned. Parenting isn’t a game, it isn’t even a life-lesson. It’s life. And it’s one of the more rewarding— no, THE most rewarding, layers of life.
Looking at this picture I took of her earlier, then one I took of Jack a few days ago right before bedtime, I need to work harder at enjoying these singular moments. Not think about them too hard, or analyze them or overthink them as I too reflexively will do (professor side of me), but just live and love and enjoy. That’s it. That’s my plan, my business plan to be a better dad, the best I’m suited to be. Who knows if I’ll reach anything one would call au fait. And I don’t care. I’m just going to love my babies and be there, not ‘for them’ but WITH them. Even when I’m not tangibly at there at their border. Wish I could though, be right next to them within inches, every bloody day. But, a dad’s wish, as that definitely won’t happen. I have them here now, though, or Emma upstairs anyway. There’s more truth in this realization of dadhood than any of those clichés and bromide utterances, just in knowing I’ll never get this again.