A lot of people in this world don't have great Dads. Some are abusive. Some leave. Some are around but really not around. I don’t know what those things are like. Some people do have great Dads. And I am lucky to be one of them. Your Papa/My Dad, is a good man. A great Dad.
Noah, I want to be your great Dad.
From the moment you burst forth from your Mama, and I got to say the words, "This is Noah Benjamin", I wanted more than anything else to be the best Dad in the world. Maybe one day you'll give me a mug that says that. I don't really care if you give me a mug or not; I just care that in your world I'm the kind of Dad you deserve.
I learnt from Your Papa/My Dad to be honest about my shortcomings. So let me balance my desire to live up to the best-dad-in-the-world-mug with an acknowledgment of the truth that I'm a frail man with hurts and scars and selfishness and temptations and laziness and all kinds of things that I'm still working on. What Your Papa/My Dad taught me is to be big enough to be small. To apologise when I mess up. To tell you when I got it wrong. So, I’m telling you now - and it’s here in writing, so you can hold me to it; I want to a Dad who says sorry, who says I could have done better, who says I'll try harder next time.
I'm an affectionate Dad. I call you darling and I kiss you all the time and I'm always going to give you butt loads of cuddles. I'm a 'grown man' now, but when Your Papa/My Dad visits we still always hug before going to bed. I know some men aren't so comfortable with that kind of thing and that's ok, it doesn't make them bad or anything, but I want you to know that I love to show my love for you with physical affection and I'm probably going to embarrass you here and there in the future with it. It’s something you’re just going to have to deal with.
I want to be a Dad who is generous with my words. I want to tell you I love you as much as I tell your Mama. I want to tell all my kids I love them as much as I can, I want you to know that it never changes, that when I'm mad or frustrated or joyful or sad or up or down, I love you. I agape you. I don't want to hold back a word of love or pride or encouragement; I want to tell you something to lift your spirit every single day.
When I was growing up we called Your Papa/My Dad 'Dr Dad'. We did this because he was good at fixing things. Bikes, cars, doors, lawn mowers, whatever was in need of repairs he could usually do it. It wasn't what he did for a living or anything, it was just a part of his Dad tool kit, a part of what made him magic. He tried to teach me how to be a home mechanic, a Dr Dad in my own right, but to be honest, it didn't really work. Not for his lack of trying, just because we don’t end up exactly like our Dads. He became his own man, different to his Dad, and you're going to become your own man, different to me. I’m going to try and teach you how to write poetry and ask philosophical questions and make a good coffee - and maybe you’ll love these things. But maybe you’ll just want to be a mechanic and fix stuff.
You're going to get the best and the worst of me. People with multiple kids have pointed out to me that the time I get with you is special because you get a whole lot of my attention, and apparently I’ll take more pictures of you and I’ll spend all kinds of time reflecting and writing blog posts about you and letters to you…and then more kids will come along and I’ll struggle to do all those things and I'll just do my best in the chaos. And I think that’s all probably true. But at the same time, you’re getting me as a first timer. You’re getting me with no real runs on the board as a Dad, just a rookie trying to learn on the job. I’ll probably do stuff with you that a couple kids down the track I’ll think was crazy. You're the guinea pig here. I guess it will work out for everyone in the end.
I'm going to take you special places. We're going to watch sunrises and sunsets together and ride skateboards and bikes and kick soccer balls and throw frisbees and talk about clouds and oceans and God and girls and one day hopefully drink craft beers together and you can teach me how to surf because you had the advantage of growing up near the ocean and I had the disadvantage of being pretty unmotivated about surfing but generally liking the idea of one day going surfing with my son. I get so excited dreaming about all these moments. But for this year, my first Father's Day, my early days of being in the 'hood, all I can think about is how important it is that I learn to be present. A little while back your neck couldn't even hold the head on your shoulders and now your pulling yourself up on furniture and moving round the bathtub like a fish. And I don't want to miss it. Every day with you is a gift. Today was a gift.
I love you Noah.