You know that scene about an hour into “The Fly” where Jeff Goldblum looks in the mirror and sees a half man/half fly staring back at him? Well, that’s how I feel of late, except instead of turning into a fly I find myself turning into a Dad.
Now when I say “Dad” I don’t just mean a dude who has had a child. I mean a high pants wearing, snoring on the couch during prime time kind of Dad. The kind of Dad you buy John Grisham books and golf accessories for at Christmas. The kind of Dad Molly Ringwald had in a John Hughes’ movie. That kind of Dad.
I don’t mind it necessarily, it’s just weird. I’ve gone from enjoying bars and clubs to finding them loud; from watching MTV to preferring “Dateline NBC”. And I may have even started to say the phrase “Those damn kids” without irony.
The weirdest thing though is how I’ve started to think of women. For example, when I was single and in my younger days, I used to find girls at parties who weren’t afraid to throw back a shot (or four) pretty exciting. Now I see these girls and worry about how they’re going to get home safely.
I talked to a guy a little older than me about this and he said he finds the whole transition a bit disturbing as well. Recently, he told me, he visited his daughter on her sorority’s swim day and found himself in a pool surrounded by dozens of bikini clad sorority girls. Whereas the younger version of himself probably would have passed out from excitement, he was now less titillated than concerned about how inappropriate the girls’ skimpy bikinis were. If he felt the desire to chat any of them up, he said, it was to impress upon them how important it was to have self-respect.
Oh well. The truth is that if going through this change makes me a better father to Annabel, then I am all for it. Now please excuse me … “Dateline NBC” is about to start and I can’t wait to doze on the couch while watching.
You know, I think it’s not just about becoming a dad, I think it specifically happens to fathers of girls, it gives you this sense of context you’ve never had before. You begin to see every female as someone’s daughter, which in return makes you think of Annie.
If it helps, my Husband was a real fan of pubs and clubs, but would rather be at home with his girls these days. It’s not just you, and I think really, it’s a measure of a decent father and husband, a man who realises there’s no better company than his wife and kids!
My Brian says the same thing. Sometime we STILL look at our kids (ages 13, 11 & 7) and think, “WHOA!! These little peoples are actually ours!! For better or worse, they’re ours!!! Too be honest, for a couple who have endured 5 heart shattering losses and then to be told we would never have our “own” baby, holding, hugging, loving our own 3 kids can be so surreal but also feeling an overally sense of profound love, pride and appreciation. We are not a religious couple but since we first held the newborn we were never suppose to “keep”, we thank God every single day! The same is true when we foster kids. It’s such an awesome responsibility to raise someone elses child! We often feel so honoured and if the child is with us for any length of time, we find it very easy to start to fall in love with them and watch our kids feel the same way.
You really are an awesome person Mike!! You have such a kind heart and are so perceptive! We can’t wait to come to LA to meet you all!!! It is an honour to be your internet friend, but I know it’s going to be a down right blessing to meet and befriend, yourself, Annie and Heather in person!!!
Oh, awesome. Especially, “And I may have even started to say the phrase “Those damn kids” without irony.”
The scary part for me is when I hear of some early 20s girls getting married and I think to myself “But they’re so young”. Then I realize that I had been married for a year or two at that age. Becoming a mom (or dad, in your case) is kinda scary. But kinda cool too.
ha ha ha I love this! I found myself being a “Mom” a couple of weeks ago when I was upset about the nude pic of Jake Gyllenhal (sp?) and Anne Hathaway on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. I actually used the phrase “this is a family magazine.” I almost choked on my words. Worse – I nearly wrote a letter! What has happened to me!?!?!?
My kids are 6 (6 and 3/4 according to him) and 2. Obvioulsy, I’ve been a mom for a while, but I’ve always thought of myself as young “fun” mommy. That was, until last week. The kids were fighting in the back seat and I yelled “just stop touching each other!” The moment it left my lips all I could think about was what a “mom” I sounded like. To top it off, my husband noticed too. He said, “wow, that was a real mom thing to say.” I guess it happens to all of us eventually!
Remember Miss SC in the Teen USA Pageant? (“..and, uh, the Iraq everywhere like, such as, and…”) THAT was a defining Mom Moment for me. Instead of laughing at her and loving every second of this perfect girl making a fool of herself as I would have in my 20’s, I was horrified. If I could have reached through the t.v. and gently put my hand over her mouth to shush her, I would have. Then I would have given her a big hug and taken her off the stage and saved her from herself. Because that’s what moms try to do.
Very funny, and so sweet.
My husband often says he feels the same way. Something about having daughters seems to change a man, makes him see the world and especially the women in it very differently than before.
I agree! Because they realize it’s just not a “girl” anymore…it’s their daughter and they know how it is out there in this world!
I have to agree with an above poster, I think it’s more of being a father to girls. I think it’s kinda sweet actually, your an amazing dad!
I love your writing. I am one of those moms who just had one of those young “twenty-somethings” get married, and it is truly an unbelievable feeling. Realizing and appreciating every milestone along the way makes this whole trip, well, “a trip.”
Love your writing too!
I’m kinda fond of the use of the word “titillated” because you’re talking about bikini clad girls ….who are probably showing lots of …the first three letters of that word.
Ahhh, this post has restored my faith in the male half of humanity.
This post is a perfect example of why you are an AWESOME dad.
I agree with Kristin!
Great post! So funny and true! My husband became the same way after we had a daughter.
Dawn @ What's Around the Next Bend? says:
Ahhh Mike… That shows you are TRULY filling your GREAT dad shoes!
Rita from the Chicago says:
Mike – I don’t comment a whole lot on here, but I read everyday…and I have to tell you that I’m really happy to see you writing again. Not only do I like hearing you perspective, but as just a reader, it shows me that you’re doing “better.” While I know (especially from reading yours and Heather’s words) that “better” is impossible and that you both are still hurting a whole lot…but there’s more light coming from your words…and even just in their existence, there’s light…and if that means that these days are a little easier than those that have come before, well then that makes me smile. Keep writing!!!
I simply loved this post. That is all.
Dudge OH says:
I find myself feeling exactly like your friend and its not just age, but being married has something to do with it.
Every Summer since I’ve been married, it hits me as the PYTs are roaming about in their outfits that the single, 20-something me would have found oglesome, now I tend to think “What are they wearing? Do their parents know they went out dressed like that?”!
Now… where’s my pipe and slippers…!
In my mind you’re sitting in a lazy-z boy as you type this, pipe in hand, suspenders on and pants up to your belly button
I love this post.