Today is May 2 and as I go through the day I’m compelled to think back on the best fatherhood advice I’ve ever received.
You see, I’m 51, just 11 days from turning 52. Most of my friends who are near my age are in a different stage of their lives than I am. Their children have moved on and moved out. They’re out of high school and an awful lot have graduated college, married, and are living their own lives.
In April 2013, three little girls were removed from their home by child services. Four years later, on May 2, a judge would approve my petition to adopt these three girls. So at 51, I am the father of 12-year-old twins and a 10-year-old. So yea, I’ve got a little ways to go yet.
The best fatherhood advice
When the girls moved in, they were young – 2.5 and barely four. A friend gave me the best fatherhood advice I could receive, even though I was merely a foster at the moment, with no clue that nine years later, the girls would still be with me.
“Relax and enjoy it,” he said. “And if they break something, it’s not going to matter tomorrow, so be cool.” It reminded me a little of an All Pro Dad article, 5 Things I Wish I Knew in my 30s and 40s. Just incredibly simple and important advice.
There’s been anger. Gnashing of teeth. Tears. Raised voices.
But there has been tons of laughter. The joy of seeing their faces as they experience something for the first time. Seeing them at Disney, or the drive-in, or trying some exotic dessert for the first time ever.
This afternoon, I was laying on my bed reading and the youngest came in. Just a 10 or 15 minute cuddle session. Relax and enjoy it. It is the best fatherhood advice.
For 4 years
They’ve legally been my daughters for four years, but I’ve filled that role much longer. It is through these little girls that I truly learned about unconditional love and since my life has adjusted to make their lives better. Career changes, where I bought my house, and many other major decisions were made with them first.
May has always been a fairly important month in my life. It is my birthday and I left for Coast Guard boot camp in May. I closed on my current house. But most importantly, the law recognized me as a father.
No big deal really. It was a role I was filling long before, when I was started following the best fatherhood advice. Just relax and enjoy it.
I love every second of it.