The Marginalization of Dad

We hear all the time “how far we’ve come as a society” on various topics. Whether it’s battling all forms of discrimination, marriage equality, recognition of individual civil rights, and even raising children, we hear how great we’re doing as a society and how proud we should be of all the progress we’ve achieved over the years. But I can’t help but feel that the more and more I hear how much progress we’ve made, I ask myself, “Have we really come so far? Have we really made progress, or are we just masking the poor behavior in new ways?”
Maybe one of the reasons I have a hard time really buying to the idea that we’ve come a long way is because there is still so much of the “old way of thinking” still running around. As I have navigated the scary waters of parenthood the last 2 years and some change, I find that I still hear/see a great deal of judgment and advice (which is frankly unsolicited the majority of the time) from those who came before me into parenthood. Where one would think that those who have traveled these waters before the rest of us would want to encourage new parents to find our own way, lifting us up with encouraging statements like, “don’t worry, you’re doing the right thing for your little one,” rooting us on and offering the small nuggets of wisdom to ease our worry in those moments of uncertainty, instead, I have seen more than a fair share of the opposite; people judging each other on the way they are raising their kids, and outright labeling each other bad parents. It makes me sad.
Today I read a story that showed that even those first beautiful moments after giving birth is not off-limits from judgment, and is instead seen as fair game for ridicule. I present you the story of Daniel Murphy. Daniel and his wife just gave birth to their child, a healthy baby boy named Noah, on Monday March 31, 2014. While this should be a time of joy and peace for the Murphy family, Daniel is catching public scrutiny for taking 3 days of paternity leave to be with his wife and newborn son. Why public scrutiny you might ask yourself? Well, Daniel Murphy is the starting 2nd basemen for the New York Mets, and his main detractors are no other than the well-adjusted, beautiful members of the New York media. Well, mainly one member of the media, radio personality Mike Francesa of the YES network.
Mr. Francesa took issue with Daniel leaving his team on opening day when he got word that his wife had gone into labor down in Florida. Francesa spent a full 20 minutes on his radio show on Tuesday criticizing Murphy for wanting to be with his wife when she gave birth to their child, calling paternity leave a “scam and a half.” Francesa didn’t stop there, he also went on to scold his fellow male coworkers at YES for using their company-granted 10-day paternity leave, accusing them of scamming the system and doing nothing but taking pictures for those 10 days. Francesca, in his infinite wisdom questioned,
“I don’t know why you need three days off, I’m going to be honest. You see the birth and you get back. What do you do in the first couple days? Maybe you take care of the other kids. Well, you gotta have someone to do that if you’re a Major League Baseball player. I’m sorry, but you do … Your wife doesn’t need your help the first couple days, you know that”
Francesa wasn’t happy with simply questioning why Mr. Murphy needed to be there during the initial hours post-birth, he had to really bring it home. So he went on to completely minimize the role Daniel should be filling in his new son’s life by saying, “You’re a major league baseball player. You can hire a nurse.”
I really wish I could say that Francesa was the only talking head that had a case of foot-in-mouth disease on this topic, but I would be lying to you. Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason (formerly of the Jets and Bengals) jumped on the Meathead-Men wagon with Francesa by saying on his radio show, “You get your ass back to your team and you play baseball … there’s nothing you can do, you’re not breastfeeding the kid.” And if that wasn’t enough to cement his place in the Hall of Fame of Husbands, Esiason added the gem of all statements saying that if it were him, he would have told his wife to have a Caesarean section before the season to avoid any conflict with opening day, and that baseball is what makes the Murphy family their money, and should always take priority, even over childbirth. Husband of the Year right there folks.
To quote a great sports figure Vince Lombardi, “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON OUT HERE???” Seriously men, is this really where we are in 2014? Is this really the image we are supposed to be presenting for ourselves? I mean in this day and age where massive conservatives (who both Francesa and Esiason have supported) throw around the term “family values” like they’re asking for a glass of water, where does the idea of a husband saying, “Sorry wife, I know you’re giving birth to our child, but I have to go play baseball, because that’s more important” fit into the conversation?
While I would love to sit here and stoke the flames of anger towards the ignorant male voices on this topic, they aren’t the only ones pushing forward the idea that dads are the lesser option, or at least the less important option, in the early childhood years. Society, as a whole, is still literally *buying* into the marginalization of fathers . Hear me out.
Just back in 2012, Huggies – the major diaper brand Huggies – put out an ad for their new leak-resistant diapers. They said their diapers and wipes were so good that they could put them to the ultimate test, being alone with dad. They deemed the commercial as The Dad Test. The commercial went on to show snapshot moments of several men and their kids while staying in one house, without moms around, for 5 days. Oh no, how will these children ever survive?!?
Ok, first off…..the imagery and (I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt here) the story they were trying to convey is great. Watching video of the time spent between little ones and their fathers is awesome. But to achieve that goal by clearly portraying dads, as a whole, as some kind of Cro-Magnon knuckle-dragging man who just looks at his kids and grunts, is wrong.
And it’s not just Huggies who depicts fathers this way. I see it in advertising all the time. One common theme is that if mom is not around and dad is in charge, life is nothing but chaos and disorder, and it offends me every time I see it. Companies like Huggies call this insulting scenario the Dad test and frame in a way of, “Let’s see how these bumbling idiots survive without mom around. However will he make it?” Yet, when companies say something is “Mom-Tested” it’s framed in a way that the product has lived up to enormous expectations, and if it passes, it’s great. Just look at the ad slogan for Kix cereal, “Kid tested, Mother approved.” Where is the product that is kid tested, and Dad approved? I’ve yet to see it.
What this all boils down is companies feed off stereotypes in order to sell products, and we as consumers endorse those stereotypes when we buy products from these companies. Some may think this is an overly-sensitive point of view to have, but I would ask how they would react if the situation was reversed for any other product. What if the stereotype was reversed and labeled moms in the same helpless light as Huggies did with dads?
For example, there is an unfounded and completely offensive stereotype that women are worse drivers than men. So, what if a car company created an ad campaign and used the same parameters as Huggies, and conducted something called the “Women Driver Test” where they let female drivers keep a car for 5 days, and we see how well the car stood up while in their possession. Are you kidding me; there would be an instant public outcry for a boycott, and those ad executives would be brought to task for gender discrimination. So where is the outcry for dads? Why is it ok for corporate America to continue to play on the old-world thinking that dads are less capable than moms, and therefore less required to be around?
We say we’ve come a long way. We say families are changing and evolving. I say it’s time we stop just talking the talk, and actually start walking the walk. Personally, not just as a dad, but as a man, I feel it’s important to be a constant part of my son’s life, now and forever. I have been involved in every aspect of my son’s life (feedings, changing diapers, playing, rocking to sleep, teaching, discipline etc.), and those are not just moments that happened, they are also memories I get to have for the rest of my life, knowing I didn’t miss a single moment.
Much of the ignorance that was spewed by Mike Francesa, Boomer Easiason and others, as well as the creation of ad campaigns like the Huggies Dad Test, get brushed off by a copout excuse of old world thinking. People like Francesa justify their comments by saying things like, “this is how it was back in my day.” Well, I have news for you sir, this is clearly not *your day* anymore. While I realize, or at least would like to hope, the mindset of people like Francesa and Easiason are the minority, it’s the fact that this close-minded old world thinking is still preached that bothers me. While it’s fading away with the rest of the other the discriminatory thinking that has plagued social issues, all it takes is for one young person to hear those kinds of comments and when they latch onto them, it allows the heartbeat of misguided thought to keep pumping.
In order for us as a society to truly show we have made progress, we have to leave this old world thinking behind. The idea of this macho culture where a man goes out works all day while the woman stays home and tends to the kids, and the man is not to be involved or bothered is ancient and archaic. Instead of criticizing Daniel Murphy or any other man who takes time to be with his newborn child, maybe instead we should congratulate him and aspire to be more like them. I mean, aren’t there worse things in this world than supportive and involved fathers? I think so.

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17 Month Check-In

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What’s New:

In the brief time I have been writing these updates, as well as any other blog I have written, I don’t think I have found a photo more fitting to describe the tone of the article as I have with the above photo.  Boy, this has been a rough month for all 3 of us; and you sir are the main reason why.  So much so, look how late I am posting this update!  I mean, I know I can slack off and be lazy quite a bit, but bro, I nearly didn’t post at all.  Then, I toyed with the idea of saying, “The update for this month is that we let him live; that is all.”

I guess if the above photo tells us anything that is new about you; it’s that you hate the grass.  Why, we have no idea, but we found out real fast one day.

Learning, Learning, Learning:

So, on a positive note, you have shown some pretty cool skill-development this past month.  And who knows; maybe this is why you’re so cranky, because you’ve got so much going on in your head, and you can’t express yourself.

2You’re starting to figure things out.  It’s pretty cool to watch you develop problem solving skills.  Like when you stacked 3-5 blocks for the first time recently; or when you where stacking cups inside one another and you figured out some cups were smaller/bigger, and the order they needed to be in.

3Ok, so you don’t get it 100% of the time, but at least you’re trying.

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One thing you do really enjoy is taking off your shoes.  It doesn’t matter where, either – at home, in the car, out in public, if the shoes are on, there is a good chance they are coming off soon.  I have to admit, it’s pretty cute.  And it’s cool now that if I say, “Hey Buddy, can you take off your shoes in the house,” you sit down and promptly pull them off.

Moments to Remember:

So even though we stayed pretty quiet this past month, we were able to still do some fun stuff.  Like….well, you and Dad got some good ole quality time together for about 4 days while Mom went up to New Hampshire to visit your new Cutie Patootie cousin.  You’ll get to meet her very soon when we visit.

One pretty awesome day was the day we took you to the Zoo for the first time.  It’s kind of a shame, but Mom and Dad have lived here in D.C. for 5 years now and it was our first time going too.  But, on the other hand getting to experience that for the first time, all together was kind of cool.  The Zoo was cool.  I mean, it’s no San Diego Zoo, but it will do.

5You were showing Mom and Dad what exhibits you wanted to see.

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You really loved the Sea Lion exhibit.  That’s one of Dad’s favorites too!

7You were all tuckered out at the end of the day.  It’s hard work having fun.

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We shared another Father’s day together, and we all had a good time. Mommy made me the coolest gift.  She went onto Facebook and downloaded every status and picture I posted about you in the first year, and made it into a book.  Daddy was very touched by this gift.  It was awesome to be able to flip through the pages and watch you grow and change.

10You came to the MMA gym Dad attends, and celebrated its 1st anniversary at a big party.  Everyone just loves you.

On The Menu:

Not much has changed this month.  You’re still really into chicken noodle soup, but that’s about it.  You seem to have this habit of not wanting anything, and then throwing it on the floor.

Likes:

11You love playing outside; except on the grass….as we mentioned before.

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Being silly with Mom is always fun

And of course you love laying down some sweet beats and having a dance party.

Dislikes:

Pretty much everything.  At any given time this could be your face:

13And this happens about 100 times a day, at least.

Adventures:

Not a lot of adventures this month, Buddy.  We visited some friends, some friends visited us.  You got to hang with your favorite Aunt Julie, and you always love that.  I have to say bro, your Mom and Dad are the ones that really had the adventure this past month.  Dealing with a disgruntled toddler is no picnic.  But, like always, your Mom and Dad suck it up, take a deep breath and say we will just try again tomorrow.  It doesn’t hurt that we have “grown up” things to help us get by…..like these:

14 15Alright Buddy, see you on the next go around.

16 Month Check-In

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What’s New With You:
It’s been kind of a slow month by your standards buddy. But there has still been plenty to celebrate. While you’ve never been the prototypical baby when it comes to teething (i.e. crying out of control), you still don’t do discomfort real well. Over this last weekend you were SUPER-cranky for Mom and Dad. We were pretty dumb-founded by this because you’ve been in a pretty awesome mood lately. Mommy later spied another molar pushing its way through your little gums. I’d be pissed too.

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Mom and Dad have been pushing hard to get out of all the boxes still sitting around the house, and you love to dig through them and toss their contents all over the place….so, thanks for that

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You love to explore your new house.

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You’ve become quite the big helper when Dad is building something or fixing something around the house.
Learning, learning, learning:

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You’re really getting this whole walking thing buddy. Once you started moving; you haven’t stopped. You still love to climb the stairs, and in fact you still keep Mom and Dad on their toes when you sprint for the stairs and get half way up before we can reach you. You’re starting to show signs of wanting to pull yourself up on furniture, but thank goodness our couches are still a bit too high for you because I don’t think I’m quite ready for all that yet. Your speech patterns are starting to develop too. You’ve learned a couple of words to date. You’ve saying “Uh Oh” for a few months now, but your new favorite word is “NO,” and boy do you love to say it to Mom and Dad a lot….wonder where you learned that from. You’ve also started experimenting with a few other words like “Door, Sock….and Mine.” The last one we’re not super hip on because you are well aware of what “Mine” means.
These are the moments to remember:

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The last two Mother’s Days you’ve shown a habit of debuting some new/sweet skill that just makes Mommy’s day. Trust me kiddo, keep that going in the coming years; it will only help you in the long run. Last year it was the genuine laugh that pushed Mommy to tears of joy; this year’s trick; giving Mommy a kiss upon request. Mommy was simply over the moon when she asked you for a kiss and you ran up and gave her a big kiss on the cheek.

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Oh, and you know exactly the kind of gifts Mommy loves. Way to One-Up your Dad bro, lol

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Unfortunately buddy this month had some bummer moments too. You got really sick with a double ear infection and strep throat. Daddy especially loved it when the doctor told him kids can’t get strep throat, right as your results came back as not only positive for strep, but over the top positive. You slept a lot; so much that Mommy and Daddy were really scared. But, once you got your meds, you felt so much better.
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What’s on the menu:

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We’ve found out that you love chicken noodle soup…and that’s pretty much all you want to eat. This has proven to be both awesome and trying for Mom and Dad.
Likes:

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You’re likes are pretty much the same. Walking is your #1 favorite thing to do. But most of all you want to go outside all the time. Mom loves this about you. She loves to be outside.

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You love to connect with your peeps via social networking. Or maybe you’re the E-Trade baby and we didn’t know it. Can you give Mom and Dad some stock tips?
Dislikes:
You clearly do not like to be told what to do. Certainly you don’t like being to you can’t do something, and you are pretty good at expressing your displeasure about it.
Adventures:
While it might have been a “slow” month, we got in some awesome quality time together. Your buddy FG came to see your new digs and Mom and Dad got to have some “adult conversation” with her Mommies; we needed that. On Mother’s Day you, me and Mommy went over to the garden park by our house for a little afternoon fun. You had a great time playing with all the rocks and branches laying around. You also got your second haircut (ALREADY!!). You have the same hair as Daddy; it grows quickly. You look like such a big boy now. Last weekend we all went to a fun BBQ. It was a friend’s house from church. Mommy and Daddy got to relax and talk with friends, and you had a great time playing with your buddies that were born around the same time you were. All in all, great month Big Guy!

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12 Months: What a Year it’s been

Even as I type this, I have to admit that I am really struggling on the direction of this post.  All signs point to how much I want to pile on myself for slacking on my writing….no, slacking is too kind of a term at this point; downright laziness is more like it.  But honestly, what is that going to accomplish?  This forum is supposed to be about Ferris, not me.  I have a whole other blog site where I can freely beat up on my short-comings.  So, enough about me, and more about the boy.
I simply cannot believe our baby boy is a year old.  My wife’s favorite way to get out of talking about a topic is to say, “I can’t. I can’t process this right now.”  I always get on her for it and say that it’s total cop-out, but now I can finally say I feel that same way.  I simply can’t process that Ferris is 1 year old.
When I last checked in he was barely 6 months old, and while that was not that long ago, it feels as if it were ages ago.  I often describe this last year to people that I can’t believe he’s turning 1, but it feels like he’s been around for years.  It’s the weirdest feeling.  How can you feel like time is flying by, yet feel like it’s dragging on at the same time?  Become a parent, that’s how, lol.
Lately many people have asked me what this year has been like.  It’s been a pretty even mix of people with kids vs. people without kids who inquire, but I think most of them have very similar reaction to my honesty about how I feel about these last 12 months; because it’s not always that nice.
Prior to Ferris being born I had these grand ideas of parenthood, and what kind of parents I thought the Wife and I would be. We are both smart and funny (well, the Wife is smart, and I’m funny), kind, loving and caring people, so naturally I knew we would be the greatest parents to ever walk this Earth.  While I would have never claimed that raising a kid was going to be a walk in the park, I knew for sure that we would rock it out with no problem, because we’re good like that, and our baby would be just like us.  And for the most part we were right; our baby is like us.  It just so happens he has some of our other traits we didn’t really recognize we had.
Ferris was a super fussy baby.  The first 3-4 months were some of the hardest days of my life, and for the Wife it was even worse as she was home with him all day long, with no relief until I came home from work.  Unfortunately Ferris was born with reflux issues, and to top it off he hated napping.  All of this led to a cranky and tired baby almost every day.  Tack all that on top of two exhausted parents, who live in a shoe-box apartment, and are frustrated, and until recently were really comfortable in their own selfishness…give it a quick shake, and what do you get?  Instant negative environment, that what!
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But, through all the struggles; through all the fussiness; through all the trips and falls (us, not him), there were plenty of awesome moments to pull us all back together.
One particular moment stands out whenever I think about all our good moments.  It was right before Ferris turned 4 months old. The Wife and I took Ferris on a day trip to visit one of the Wife’s coworkers who had not met him yet due to being home-bound after surgery.  On the car ride home Ferris was doing pretty good, which was a feat in itself as he hates the car seat, and the Wife was riding in the back seat with him.  She was kind of being down on herself, saying how she feels like she was not doing a very good job as a partner, or as a Mom.  I tried my hardest to dissuade that line of thinking, but I knew there was only so much I could say since the Wife was struggling with some post-partum issues, like many women do.  At one point she was talking to Ferris and saying how she was going to try harder, and that point she started crying.  When I asked what was wrong, she said, “Nothing, he just laughed for the first time”….a real laugh! This was one of those moments that you say, “This makes it all worth it.”
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As I have said in earlier blogs….way earlier blogs, lol….it wasn’t always fussiness and stress.  At about the 5 month mark we started to see signs of Ferris becoming a little person.  He started expressing joy for things he liked, and was very adamant about the things he didn’t enjoy; like tummy-time.  Man, did he hate tummy-time.
We also learned around this time that Ferris is very adaptable.  This is probably the main thing that helped the Wife and I ease some of our anxiety about taking Ferris places in public (because of the prior period of super-fussiness).  And what a place to show us how cool he could be, but the airport during a busy travel day.
We took Ferris to San Diego to see family and for a little vacation.  To say the Wife and I were super nervous about taking our baby into a crowded airport, then on a 6 hour flight with nowhere to go if he had a meltdown is an understatement.  But just when you think you get this kid pegged, he completely surprises you.  This kid was a total rock star; cooler than the other side of the pillow even.  And it’s been the same every time we’ve traveled this year; which has been a lot….much to the chagrin of our bank account.  Looks like the boy is going to be just like his Mom and love to travel.
Much of our travel was due to holidays.  This was especially fun for me because for the last 5 years the Wife and I have not been able to join our family for the holidays due to me working retail, and having to work the day after Xmas and Thanksgiving.  But more importantly because we got to celebrate the holidays with Ferris as part of our family now.
This past year has dragged on, yet gone by in a blink of an eye.  While I have been writing this post I keep finding myself breaking from the writing and start flipping through the photos of Ferris from this past year.  I see this little, fragile person who arrived on this Earth late one night last January, then I see him get a little bigger; a little less fragile, but even now as I stare at a picture I took of him on my iPhone of him being silly yesterday, I still that little baby who fit in the nook of arm because he was so small.  I see that little boy who I welcomed to the world and promised I would take care of him forever, and never let anything hurt him.  And somehow I think I will always see him this way.
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I totally get it now, what people told me about the way you love will change when you have a child.  I used to be pretty defiant (shocker, lol) about the whole statement, “You never know how to love until you have a child,” and I still am because that is unfair to people without children, and frankly I have always known how to love.  Also, to those who said that I would “really” learn how to love someone other than myself when I had a kid, I still disagree with you too, because I loved my wife long before Ferris showed up, and every day I love her more than I did the day before.  My wife is my world.  However; what I will say is true, is that since Ferris arrived I now know what it looks like to see my heart outside of my body.  I love this boy so very much, and cannot even imagine life without him.  Like I said, it feels like he’s always been here.
Well kiddo, it’s been a pretty crazy year since you showed up.  We’ve had some awesome highs, and some trying lows.  I watch you grow and learn every day and am amazed at how you’ve changed in such a short time.  I am so proud of you, and I am so proud to be your Dad.
I’m sorry I didn’t live up to all the high standards I set for myself.  I know I stumbled as a partner, and as a Dad…a lot.  I didn’t live up to all the promises I made, and that makes me sad.  I wish I had done a better job at so many things, but when I see you smile at me, or when you laugh while you crawl over to me and climb all over me, or any of the other silly stuff you do when we play, it makes me feel all better because I know you don’t care about any of that.  You love me anyway, and in that I see your Mom in you, because she looks at me like that too.  For all my short-comings and failures, you still think I’m pretty cool.
There is one promise I have kept, and I’m pretty happy about it. And that is that I love you more and more every day.  And that I will always love you and your Mom.
I love you buddy, and I always will,
Dad
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Late is the New On-Time


Earlier this year I had a grand idea of starting a Dad Blog.  This idea is nothing new to the blog universe, but it was for me.  You see, my Wife was pregnant with our son, Ferris; the first child for both of us.  Now, I must admit our son’s name is not actually Ferris, but for the purposes of this blog it will be, plus it gives me a chance to pay homage to one of my all time favorite comedies, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, because honestly I think that is exactly how the Nug is going to be when he becomes a teenager, but more on that in later posts.
I mentioned I had this idea of the blog earlier this year to emphasize how long it has taken me to get around to starting it.  Ferris was born in mid-January, and we are now in late March, and I am just now typing my first words on this topic.  To be completely honest, I can be a bit lazy, but not this bad.  It has really has taken me 10 weeks to finally muster up the energy, motivation, and just sheer focus needed to start something that doesn’t completely revolve around the 12 pound monster that lives in our apartment now, and has utterly absorbed our lives.
Trust me, that is not in the least bit an over exaggeration.  The Wife puts it perfectly when she says to Ferris, “Where has the day gone?  Oh yeah, that’s right, you have sucked it away.”  Well, she’s also referring to something else, but you get my point.  I’ve come to realize that during the pregnancy I never gave the amount of time and attention this kid would require on a daily its full respect, but I believe no new parent ever really does.   One positive note out of all the time sucked away during the past 10 weeks is that it has also given me time to experience things; get really immersed in being a dad.  Plus, it’s given me a lot of material to write about.
So, here we are 10 weeks late, but here is my letter to our newborn son:

WELCOME TO THE WORLD BUDDY!!!  Your mother and I are so happy to finally meet you.  There are so many things we can’t wait to teach you. 

Your mom is a very smart lady, and your dad….well, he’s pretty swell.  To be completely honest upfront, you will most likely get 95% of your intellectual knowledge from your mom.  But that last 5%, well that’s where I come in.  The knowledge I bring, while small in comparison to your mom, is in my opinion some of the most valuable knowledge a boy needs to become a well-rounded man.

While I may not be as book-smart as your mom, your dad excels in some very, let’s say, very specialized areas.  Here’s a list:

#1 Sports – As your dad I am charged with teaching you any and everything about sports. I’m going to teach you how the Slider revolutionized the game of baseball; how to throw a tight spiral, and how to properly wrap-up and tackle; how to drain a 3-ball on that sucker playing loose and not respecting your perimeter game, or how to drive it to the hole and dunk on that same joker in the paint; you’re gonna learn the beauty of the triple deke and slapping a one-timer into a goalie’s 5-hole; I will even teach you how to lace in that nice corner kick on a lazy goalie in the net.

#2 Movies – Your dad is a movie fanatic.  You dad will introduce you to the best that cinema has to offer.  You will learn what it means to make someone an offer they can’t refuse.  You will also learn such other valuable things like how one ring can rule them all, as well as how you’re so money and you don’t even know it.  But most importantly, and I stress MOST, you will know of the way of the Force….and the Shwartz, lol.

With that comes the art of quoting movies.  Learning to quote movies at the right time and the right place is an art form my friend.  Trust me when I tell you this, there is ALWAYS a movie to quote in any situation, and don’t let anyone (your mother included) tell you different.

#3 Manners – Boy, if I can stress anything to you it’s this, your dad is a stickler for manners.  Nothing irks me more than a kid that acts unruly in public, and even worse the parents that just act like they don’t see it.  You will not be allowed to act up in public, throw fits in the store, scream “NO” when your mother or I request (that’s putting it nicely) you do something.  Just so we’re clear, if you ever hear us “ask” you to do something, know that there really is no choice; do it, or pay later. The same applies when we are at the dinner table; manners are non-negotiable.

 Now, your mother might try and chime in on this and say that your father’s table manners are less than stellar, but trust me, everything I do is well within the bounds of acceptable behavior…..when you’re older that is.

#4 The Art of Telling a Joke – Your dad does not “toot his own horn” very much, but one thing that I know for sure, I’m pretty damn funny.  Your pop can spin a good tale or two.  It’s all about timing my boy.  Whether it telling a simple joke, jones-ing on your friends, or telling a story, it’s all about timing kiddo.  Eventually, when you have mastered the art of timing, I will teach you the single greatest line you can use in any occasion…“That’s what she said!”  Ahh hell, who am I kidding?  I’m going to teach you that from Day 1, lol.

#5 The Bro Code – This is for you and me alone to speak of.  If nothing else, you will learn of the Bro Code. You will learn the hallowed code of all men that is passed down from father to son, from generation to generation.  This is not optional son.  I urge you, never break the code.  The consequences could indeed be dire.

Well buddy, that’s about it.  Oh wait one more thing.  In all seriousness, your mom and I will give you the greatest gift of all, and that is the knowledge that family, and the love of family is always first.  Will we always agree? No.  Will we always get along and like one another? Certainly not. But we will always love each other, and be there for each other in times of good and bad.  And kiddo, you have no idea how much family you have waiting for you to love you to pieces. 

So yeah, that’s the letter to my boy.  Is it as cool as the dad on the Google commercial that sends his daughter emails from the time she was born; no.  But you know what; this is me, and I’m cool with that.
Our Ferris is a pretty lucky kid.  He doesn’t appreciate it yet; hell, he doesn’t appreciate much right now.  All he knows is breastfeeding, poopy diapers, and crying like nobody’s business.  Like I tell him, he’s so damn lucky he pretty cute.
Until next time.