Friday, June 18, 2010

A "Joshland Question" Just In Time For Father's Day: What About Being A Dad?


Joshland Note: A few months ago, I set up an anonymous "Ask Josh From Joshland A Question" site where people could ask me whatever they wanted and I would answer certain ones with a blog post. Here is an answer to a very frequently asked question:

Q: Your love of kids is evident, do you think you might want to have them some day? You will make a most excellent father, you know.

Ahhhh....to be a parent. I do love kids, but choosing to be a parent is a big responsibility and one that my wife and I don't take lightly. Of course, we've talked about a family... the different options, the ups and downs, the stress and the joy.

This question made me wonder what I might miss out on if I never become a father, which subsequently made this story pop into my head:

I was six, maybe seven at the time and we were visiting my grandparents in Florida. They had a house down there that was the "snowbird" destination for most of my extended family in the Twin Cities area. We would go down to hangout in the warm, citrus-filled air that let my sister breathe a little better. We could have filled a small cargo plane with all the medicine and devices we had to haul along for the ride, but my parents always made it work.

One way or another, we always managed to make it to Walt Disney World during our vacation. It was an amazing experience for a little boy to take in and I soaked in every minute of it: The characters, the parades, the magic, and the rides were larger than life. There was one ride in particular that always got me riled up: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, or as I like to call it, "The Runaway Choo-Choo Train." From the ornery prospector that would squeal on the loudspeaker "Hang on to yer hats and glasses, cause this here's the wildest ride in the wilderness!", to the click clack of the rickety train coaster, it was nirvana for little Joshy. We would wait in line for hours, even decades to get on it. Okay, it was probably only twelve minutes, but I was little and not getting on a ride immediately was akin to the apocalypse. I needed my "Choo Choo" NOW!

There were other things hindering us from getting on the coaster besides my impatience. I was a little on the short side when it came to height requirements. Thankfully, my family of geniuses came up with a plan that involved the purchase of the highly touted Mickey Mouse hooded sweatshirt. This was a 50% cotton/50% poly "golden ticket." I'd stand up straight and tall so that the heels of my Kangaroo Velcro shoes barely scraped the ground. My hood covered my head and was pulled to a strategic point just above the red line. The ride supervisor looked at the red line, then looked at me knowing full well that I was too short. Then I'd let loose the "puppy dog eyes". The supervisor would melt and always let me on. It never failed. Such an adorable schmoozer, was I.

Joshland Note: I've attempted to pull the "puppy dog eyes" move on my wife with limited results. I think my powers have weakened as I've grown older. Maybe the Mickey Mouse sweatshirt was the key?

Once we were situated in the coaster, the lap bar would come down and my father/uncle would put their leg on top of my legs so I could put my hands up in the air and not fly out of my seat. We learned this trick after the first time I rode, when I nearly launched onto the tracks after the first big drop. My Pop had to grab me by the seat of my pants and Mickey Mouse Underoos to save me! It scared the beegezus out of me, but I loved it! Once the ride ended, they'd scoop me in their arms or throw me on their shoulders so we could run and get back in line. We'd do this until the park was nearly empty and the staff would politely kick us out. I'll never forget that feeling. The love, giggles, and the urgency of fun I had will always remind me of how important it is to be a kid...even as an adult. Those are the kind of moments I would miss sharing with my child. Thanks to my uncles and my parents for giving me those moments to cherish.

Here is a video I found on YouTube of the "Choo-Choo." FYI - I think the woman screaming might be enjoying herself a little too much:



So to answer your question: Yes, there is a big part of me that would love to be a dad. My wife might go crazy having to deal with a grown up kid AND a little kid, but there would be lots of fun and love in our house. Part of me worries that my health would suffer because I know I would sacrifice a lot for my kid. What if I set such lofty standards for myself as a parent that I might never be able to reach them? What if I passed away and wasn't there when they got older and needed me the most? Not to mention that - even though I know my wife would be completely capable of handling it - there would be a lot more responsibility on her plate. Then again, what good parent doesn't worry about these things?

I don't believe in absolutes. Too many things have happened in my life for me to make that mistake, so I guess we'll have to wait and see. Right now my wife and I are perfectly content being godparents or buddies to all of the kids in our inner circle. We're pretty lucky that they share them with us. Plus, our two mutts keep us plenty busy. It's just a different kind of parenthood, but the love is still there. Unconditional and sometimes stinky. Don't forget that I've been making lots of kids happy with Moganko and that fills my heart with more joy than you will ever know.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there: The soon-to-be's and the currently employed. I'm also sending lots of love to the dads who have lost a child, the guys that aren't able to have them, and the hopeful ones that are still on the waiting list to be a father. My heart is with you all.

If you would like to ask me an anonymous question, there is an orange box on the left side of my blog where you can do just that. To those who have already asked me a question, I'll get to them. I promise.

Peaceful Things,

Josh

7 comments:

  1. Beautiful Post! So well written!

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  2. Thank you for answering this!! I didn't ask but I have wondered. I am the mommy of a 9 year old boy with CF and I wonder what his point of view will be if he gets to that part of his life. You are wise Josh, keep sharing your wisdom

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  3. Thanks for sharing, Josh. I think everyone has the same worries to some extent. There are times I would love to have a child and at others I'm not so sure it's the best decision for me/us. Seeing first-hand how it is to raise a teenager (step-daughter) makes me wonder if I really want to go through all this more than once! ~Marie S

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  4. Thanks for being so honest. I have often thought about this also. I volunteer with children a lot, a people say I work well with them, but since my illness I have often though if I would have my own. But I am only 22 years old, so I have quite some time to think-hahah

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  5. Well done J-Dizzle. This world would be a better place if there were more people like you in the world.

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  6. Well done Josh, I always enjoy your thoughts. I totally believe that you would make a great dad. It's too bad that some men don't take being a father very seriously. I enjoyed my dad for 49 years, and still miss him very much! Happy Father's day

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