There is a battle that rages on inside of me. On the one side, there is the part of me that wants to see my son spread his wings and fly; to teach him everything I can and let him begin doing things on his own and become a strong and independent young man. But on the other side of me lies the part of me that doesn't want to let him go; that wants to spend as much time as possible with him; that wants to play some of the silly games that we play together and run and laugh and build lego towers and forts and play 'ghost' and 'ring around the rosie'; the part that wants to read him bedtime stories and watch him after he sleeps because it just brings me such peace; the part of me that wants to stay home with him instead of coming to work every day. I know what my job is as his Dad. I know which one of these sides I need to let win the battle. But that doesn't mean it still isn't a battle each and every day.
Make no mistake, I love my son. I love being his Daddy. I love it when people look at him and know who I am because I am 'Will's Daddy'. I have never minded being known not for my own name, but for who Will is. He is such an amazing boy and he teaches me so much about life every day. Before Will, I took so many things for granted. But now, I often look at life through his eyes, and boy was I missing a ton!! When I'm driving through town and see a fire engine, I get excited now! Even when he is not with me, because I know how much joy it would bring him. Or when we see the 'Super M' signs all over the place (we drive by the Super 8 sign frequently, and he starting calling McDonald's signs the Super M's). I honestly didn't even know what contrails were until he told me about them - but I will never look at a little cloud of vapor left behind by an airplane in the sky quite the same way again. He has woken up the child in me again, and it is such a blessing.
We took a trip to see my sister and nephew this weekend. It was our nephew's 4th birthday. He and Will are about two months apart, so the fun is never ending when they get together. On our way up to see them, Will kept commenting on all of the water towers, and then we saw a windmill farm and that really excited him, too. The wonder in his eyes and the way he looks at everything is a lesson for me. Where did the wide-eyed wonder I used to look at the world with go? I want it back. Well, he is helping me with that. Pretty amazing the things that a nearly four-year old can teach you, isn't it?
Of course I want my son to learn to do things on his own, and of course I want to teach him how to handle life's daily situations and right from wrong, etc. But, right or wrong, somewhere in the deepest part of me I long for him to want to be with me. To not grow up. To not lose his innocence and childlike view of the world. To need my protection. My head knows he won't always need it. My heart doesn't want to admit it.
In the end I will be the best Dad I know how to be to my little boy. I will guide him and protect him, laugh with him and love him. I will remind him to do what is right and avoid what is wrong. And I will be the first one there to support him every single time he spreads his wings and flies. But inside, I will shed a few tears along the way. Any good parent does, right? Hey. I did not say it had to make sense. Just that it is how I feel.