Hey Jrue Bear and Mook,
As we are coming up on your first year of life, Jai, and your fourth year, Jrue, I wanted to check in with you both to see if I’m on track. Well. Am I?
I know neither of you can read well or even talk completely clearly at this point, so I guess this is more about me.
At different points before you both got here, you guys had me on both ends of the “dad-ing” spectrum.
First was the far left-
-the thought process after Jrue’s birth: “Oh, I helped raise 10 of 15 or so nieces and nephews (depending on who you ask, though, because I can’t keep track anymore); this will be a breeze.” In retrospect, I realize that I was “uncle-ing,” not fathering. I was only privy to the “open house hours” and had no idea what type of maintenance was required when the show closed, packed up, and went home.
Then came the fire and brimstone far right-
-I’m not sure if it was because I was on “Twitafacedagram” or watched an episode of “Real Hipwives of Empire and Love” or whatever you want to call them. But I came to the conclusion that, particularly just before Jai was born, I needed to buy at least 4 shotguns (why is it always a shotgun??), 6 grenades, and consider the legalities of locking baby girl in the basement to prevent any male contact.
This phase didn’t last too long. When I found myself researching how puppies are microchipped, I knew that I was legitimately tripping.
I needed to find a healthy medium that I could maintain that did not involve me becoming like Robocop.
I had to acknowledge and understand why I was thinking at such extremes with my children.
With the “It will be a breeze” phase, I was thinking as a younger JP and failing to respect the work and effort my siblings and parents put forth after hours. I thought that watching “Barney” and playing was all that it took to raise a son. Those were just spokes in the wheel.
I found out when Jrue Bear got here. Oh, I really found out. I experienced, breathed, lived the after hours–the poop, the sudden sicknesses, more poop. The real work was taking place.
Then came “It’s a girl…”
On the night of our gender reveal, I remember thinking, Ma’am, can you check that one mo ‘gin? My son might be tucking??
She’s not?? Oh. Okay.
With Jrue Bear, I had an easy game plan: Anticipate 93.5% of what daddy did as a youngster. Then, when he was of age, advise him on that other 6.5%.
Little Mook arrived 18 weeks after her gender reveal on a Tuesday night.
With all of the “Get your shotgun ready” congrats and the understanding of the cognition (or lack thereof) of my species, I felt I had to prepare her, straight out womb, for her specifically dreaded, evil 6.5%.
I made it all about me out of fear.
I had to combat the litany of what we see as twerking, “Fix-a-Flat,” crazy mindsets with…crazier! I didn’t know what I was doing. Protecting Bear and fiercely protecting his little sister, much like I protect mommy, became a mental obsession.
Honestly, I temporarily lost track of what your mom and I have worked hard to build for the both of you.
I forgot about continuing what our villages established for us and constructing a foundation of love.
You both needed and deserved reasoning, not emotional reverence.
I believe these requirements are what keeps me centered now as your father.
So, again, I ask, am on track?