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Mentoring Monday: Two-Week Itch

Mentoring Mondays:Teaching you to be a Lady while you teach me to be a Dad (post by Adam)
We’re about 2 and half weeks from meeting, Maddie.  I can’t speak for you but I’m nervous and at times, a touch scared.  Nervous because parenting will be the hardest job I’ve ever undertaken.  Scared because there’s little room for error.  I’ve never been afraid of failing and I’m not too much of a perfectionist but the flipside is I’ve never been more serious about anything in my life than as I am about you.  
But I suppose this is where the whole “you mentoring me” bit comes into play.  I imagine how you teach me to be a father will be subtle and on-going and I may not even realize that it’s happening nor will you realize that you’re teaching me anything at all.  And that’s the sweet, subtle beauty of the whole thing, Pitseleh*.  
I suppose the bottom line is I haven’t even seen you and I love you more than I’ve ever loved anything in my whole life.  Emotions that strong can be very scary because the price of letdown and failure are too high.  Well, I’m not going to worry so much that the fear becomes crippling and forces me into inaction (which is often far worse than making the wrong decision).  Just know that all the bands I’ve been in, all the songs I’ve written, all the shows I’ve played, the best thing I’ve ever created is you.  (Oh okay, your mom helped.)
This one’s a bit short but I’ve said all I need to say for right now.  I’ll let my actions do the talking for me.  I promise to be the best father I can.  Will you mentor me while I mentor you?  I promise we’ll have a good life.
I love you, Maddie.-Your Dad
* “Pitseleh” is Yiddish for “Little One.”
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Mentoring Mondays: Monsters

Post 6 from the amazing Adam Thurston... LOVING this new segment :) And I know the followers are too!! Thanks, Adam, for sharing with my readers and I... even though we're so far away... it will be like we've been there all along... :) p.s. you can find his blog here... follow him :) 
Mentoring MondaysTeaching you to be a Lady while you teach me to be a Dad
Hi Madeline.  Just 3 months and change until we can be together.  Getting close now!  When I look back at the past blogs I’ve written, I notice that they tend towards the safer sides of things.  They’re full of what I call “warm fuzzies” and are full of general “oh you can come to me for anything” and “you know I’ll always love you.”  While that’s true until the end of my days, there are more serious and darker things that everyone finds out about eventually.  Now you’re not even born yet and this is stuff you don’t and won’t need to know about for some time.  But I know other parents and soon-to-be parents read this blog and I thought I might throw my two cents out there and see what everyone else had to say.
All children have nightmares about monsters in their closets.  They always have and they always will.  Now I could be wrong on this but I don’t think there’s ever been a documented case of a monster in some poor kid’s closet.  Why and where kids obtain this fear, I’m not sure.  But I remember being afraid of them too.  I hid under my covers to the image of Michael Jackson from the video Thriller.  And this was a good decade before any of us knew that kids had every right to be afraid of Michael Jackson!  I always imagined his face menacing me through my bedroom window.  When I rationalized to my five-year-old self that I was on the second floor and it wasn’t possible for him to stand in midair, my mind immediately conjured up Michael Jackson standing on the Wicked Witch of the West’s broom with her sitting on our roof, legs dangled over the side and cackling at the moon.  I don’t feel like getting into the science or the semantics of why kids are afraid of imaginary monsters.  I’m more interested in preparing them in a healthy way for the real monsters they might encounter. 
Fake “monsters” are easy and I will always say that Seseme Street did it best:  most of their puppet characters were monsters.  Genius!  It just takes a lot of the anxiety right out of the situation.
“Daddy!  Daddy!  There’s a monster in my closet!”“Well was it Cookie Monster or Harry Monster?  It could’ve been Animal lost on his way to band practice!”
Seseme Street did a lot of the hard work for us.  They even tackled death head-on when Mr. Hooper died and the adult cast mates had to explain death to Big Bird.  So how do we, as parents, prep our kids for the real life monsters?  The child molesters, pederasts, abductors, etc.  The list is nearly endless.  I always say “knowledge is power” but I certainly don’t want to overwhelm or petrify my daughter by telling her about these things.  The flip side of the coin is her being in a situation and maybe not be prepared to handle it.  Obviously we, as parents, have a duty to teach our kids about strangers and what not but where do we draw the TMI-line?  For example:
Parent:  “If a grown-up that you don’t know asks you to get in their car, you should say no.”Child:  “Why?”Parent:  “Because they’ll invariably take you to a ramshackle cabin in some deserted woods and rape you.”Child:  “What does ‘invariably’ mean?
Well, you get the idea.  What is the best way to prepare our children for the horrors of the world.  I will try my best to protect my daughter, with my life if necessary, from the monsters she encounters in her life.  But I would be remiss if I didn’t teach her about them.
So speak up, fellow parents and parents-to-be.  How, what, and when is it appropriate to discuss some of the real horrors and monsters in life?  I’d like some insight/discussion on this.
And Maddie, sorry.  The grown-ups had to do some talking.  I love you and will see you in about three months and one week.
I love you very much
-Your Dad
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Mentoring Mondays: What You'll Teach Me.

Post 5 from the amazing Adam Thurston... LOVING this new segment :) And I know the followers are too!! Thanks, Adam, for sharing with my readers and I... even though we're so far away... it will be like we've been there all along... :) p.s. you can find his blog here... follow him :) 
Mentoring Mondays
Teaching you to be a Lady while you teach me to be a Dad.

What youll teach me.

Hi Madeline.  I read a book to your mothers stomach last night and you rewarded me be kicking exactly where I was holding my hand.  I have to say it was actually one of the coolest moments Ive ever had in my life.  You havent even drawn breath yet and youre already making your old man into a softy.  Dont tell anyone, okay?  Ive got a rep to maintain. 
So this week I thought we might put a little twist on this series.  Thus far Ive just been passing on general knowledge to you.  But a big part of parenting (Ill wager) is also learning from your kids!  How Daddy?  Why, Im glad you asked little Maddie!  One thing no parent ever wants to see is their child in pain.
See, when I was a kid I rode bikes, skateboards, roller blades and what not.  I never wore any protective padding or helmets or any of that crap.  Hell, my mom, your grandmother, didnt make me wear a seatbelt until I was 8 because that was when the grand state of Missouri mandated that it was law.  As far as the afore mentioned mobile habits,  I got hurt.  A lot.  And what I did was pick myself up , dust myself off, and do it again and again until I didnt get hurt.  All that was expected from us kids was to be in when the street lights came on and to not hurt ourselves too badly.  Nowadays most parents are so scared of their kids possible getting a bloody elbow that they (the parents) wrap their kids in bubble wrap and put those stupid wrist leashes on them as if they were pets.  I think its over reactive and Ill go a step further; I think its irresponsible parenting.  Ive always liked the bit from Lewis C.K. where he says something like Ive gotta take care of you!  They took your footprint at the hospital and gave you a Social Security card!  Youre on the grid motherf*cker!  Theyll come for me if something happens to you!  For better or worse, I think thats what most parents think.  To me it says, Im afraid that if you get hurt, other people will think its my fault and/or Ill feel bad..  I say a kid that isnt covered in dirt and with a couple of Band-Aids hasnt been being a kid.  A kid going out and playing by themselves or with friends is an important and vital part of growing up and Im not going to deny that to you.  Ill trust you because Ill have already taught you some important basics.  Such as:
Learn to walk before you run!  This is an old adage I heard a long time ago and its stuck with me ever since.  I love it because it applies to so much in life.  Learn to walk before you run.  Learn to climb before you jump.  Learn to ride on four wheels before you attempt two.  I suppose the point is to just pace yourself.  That way youll seldom place yourself in over your head.
Dont talk to strangers.  (Soon well devote a whole blog to that and Ill tell you my near-abduction story from when I was a kid.)
Play in groups or be in as public of a place as possible.  Ill also explain the obvious yet necessary importance of this in the afore mentioned upcoming blog.
Back to the blog topic, I suppose the point is that youll be teaching me to relax a little and not be so tense about your safety.  Now dont get me wrong.  Parents are generally always committed to the safety of their kids and I am no different.  Im just going to not try and take it overboard.  Nor does this mean Im going to let you run around with scissors or manhandle firearms.  Just that Im going to be constantly teaching you about situations and/or actions and then letting you take your own first steps towards them.  And as stated on previous posts, Ill always be there to catch you when you fall.  Should you fall and Im not there to see it, come home and Ill kiss the booboo, apply a Band-Aid and, if you want, send you on your way for more adventures.
If we look at the subtitle to the blog, it is Teaching you to be a Lady while you teach me to be a Dad.  I suppose Ill have to learn to live with another Lady in the house.  The other lady of course being your mother.  But your mother is my peer.  Shes also used to my sarcasm and unique form of wit which mainly means I make her roll her eyes and smile several times a day.  But you arent going to grasp sarcasm and unique wit for quite some time.  This means I have to relearn how to speak.  I need to be a male role model for you after all.  Ill need to learn a new form of patience.  Whether you mean to or not, you will test me in ways Ive never experienced.  I imagine the main thing Ill learn from you is the afore mentioned patience.  I tend to be somewhat reactionary and just want to fix problems as they happen.  The thing is, youll have to learn to fix things too.  So as soon as Im done learning it, Ill teach you patience.  Ill even loan you my Cliff notes.  See, were in this whole thing together.  Father/daughter.  Were both in uncharted territory for each other.  But Ill steer us to safety.  I dont have a map but I can see the lighthouse.  A wise man once told me that being an adult doesnt  necessarily mean that you know the answer to everything.  It just means that you have to make the best decision that you can.  That thought used to scare me.  It doesnt scare me as much anymore.  As I raise you and you temper me, Ill know more and then be in a better position to make better decisions.  This in turn will help me to teach you to make better decisions.  Which means together you and I will hopefully be two pretty smart people.  So thats the plan, Maddie.  Well get there together.
I love you, Maddie.
-Your Dad
Uncle Adam - this one got to me... everyone knows i have no father/daughter relationship aside from the once a month, "how ya doing? love you." text... and every post I read makes me more and more excited for Ms. Maddie to get here. Shes got a great daddy already... keep up the great parenting. Your miles ahead of MANY other "dads" out there... i knew you'd be great... 
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Mentoring Mondays: School.

Post 4 from the amazing Adam Thurston... LOVING this new segment :) And I know the followers are too!! Thanks, Adam, for sharing with my readers and I... even though we're so far away... it will be like we've been there all along... :) p.s. you can find his blog here... follow him :)
Mentoring Mondays
Teaching you to be a Lady while you teach me to be a Daddy.
Our Western society deems that you will be in school from the time you’re about six until you’re eighteen.  After that, education becomes optional but not really unless you want to earn at the poverty line like your old man.  School, be it grade school or grad school can be pretty tough so I thought we’d discuss some basic survival techniques to ensure maximum safety and minimal humiliation.
First:  The classes WILL NOT be the hardest part of any level of school you attend.  The students will be the hardest part.  Many different scientists across many different fields over the course of many years have all come up with the same conclusion: kids are mean.  While the reasons for this aren’t always clear, just know that it’s a commonly held fact.  And just knowing that fact will see you through many a struggle.  Some of it is shitty parenting.  I mean let’s face it, not every kid is going to have great and cool parents like yours.  They have boring parents that don’t remember what it’s like to be a kid.  Therefore they make their kids behave like adults.  Kids, not being able to cope with that pressure, react and act like little miniature assholes of their parents.  Sadly, you will have to deal with these kids.  They will be snotty and unreasonable and they will have no explanation for it.  While this may be confusing to you, this is just a coping mechanism for them to deal with their own lives and trying to behave towards what they think is “cool.“  It’s also likely that they are overcome by your beauty and kind, gentle nature.  Because you will likely look like this

As you can see, your mother is very beautiful.  Sometimes pretty girls have it hard too.  Other girls are jealous of their looks and boys will pick on them just because they’re overwhelmed by their beauty.  But it gets worse.  You could end up looking like this.

Since you’re a girl, I (and everyone who just saw that last picture) are really pulling for you looking like your mother.  Back to the point, kids can be mean.  Sadly, it gets worse in junior high.  The clique and caste system are in full effect at this point and sometimes it will truly feel like hell.  But at least it’s decent boot camp for high school.  This is where friends and your parents come in to play.  You’ll have made some friends and they will see you through your hard times and you’ll see them through theirs.  And as mentioned in my previous blogs, you can come to your mother and I for anything at all.  We’ll always have time for you.
Second:  Pay attention!  You’re there to get an education.  Your education will be incredibly defining towards what sort of future you’ll have.  What sort of job you’ll get, etc.  It won’t always be easy but we’ll have raised you with a strong work ethic, and because I’ll have been reading to you since you were an infant your reading comprehension is going to be literally off the charts.  And although this is slightly contrary to what I said earlier in this post, school can be fun!  Learning can actually be fun!  You’ll find passions for subjects and those passions may influence you on what sort of job or career you might want to have when you’re older. 
Third:  Teachers.  It’s been awhile since my pupils belonged to a pupil (I punned!) but just like the afore mentioned kids, teachers come in all types.  Most of them are good people that started teaching because they enjoy helping people learn.  Some are old and strict.  Some are young and casual.  You will have your favorites that you’ll remember long after done being a student and some will get under your skin so badly you’ll dread having to walk into their classroom.  And if you’re really unlucky, when you’re in college you’ll have that mid-forties prof that follows you around campus and calls you at odd hours of the night.  But I suppose that’s why you have a dad.  But the point is to learn from them what you can.  Even that strict, crusty old guy might actually know what he’s talking about and it might be something important for you to know. 
Well that about wraps it up for the old man this week, Maddie.  August can’t come soon enough.
I love you.
Your Dad
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Mentoring Mondays: Boys...

Post 3 from the amazing Adam Thurston... LOVING this new segment :) And I know the followers are too!! Thanks, Adam, for sharing with my readers and I... even though we're so far away... it will be like we've been there all along... :) p.s. you can find his blog here... follow him :)
Mentoring Mondays: Teaching you to be a Lady while you teach me to be a Dad.
Hey Madeline.  Last time I “saw” you, you were giving your mother heartburn.  Just a heads up; that’s not the best way to score points with your mom before you’re even born but I guess that’s not really your fault. 
I was originally going to only post Boys: See your mother!  But after thinking on it, I want to weigh in on a few points.  When you get older (tween, teen, etc) boys will become a pretty big focus on your life.  While this is fun and all, you’re mainly fulfilling human instinct to find a life-mate.  And if your experiences are anything like mine, you will kiss some frogs (or in my case, frog-ettes) in this search.  I’m here to lay some groundwork to hopefully make this smoother for you.  And really, as your dad, that’s my job; to help you learn from your mistakes.  I’ll let you fall…but I’ll always catch you.
The first guy you’re going to know will be me and you‘ll likely measure all guys you meet to me.  That’s a lot to live up to and I naturally want to be the best.  How I live and behave in my daily life will be a reflection to you of most, if not all men.  Now I’m a pretty easy going guy but I would be remiss in my duties as a father if I didn’t tell you what you have EVERY RIGHT TO EXPECT out of a guy as well as CRAZY CRAP ALL GUYS PULL.  This is a partial list of potential encounters.
1.  Abuse:  Abuse of any type should never be allowed.  This includes, but is not limited to, shoving, hitting, slapping, weapon-use, etc.  It’s also important to mention emotional and psychological abuse.  A potential mate should make you feel good about yourself!  There’s enough stress in daily life to deal with.  You don’t need some asshat with mommy issues to make it harder.  I won’t stand for it and neither should you.  Hopefully, by the time you get to the dating stage of your life, your mother and I will have instilled enough self esteem and confidence in you so that you know that kind of crap isn’t tolerated.  A daddy can always hope…
2.  Weirdness:  Guys are just weird.  We don’t go to bathrooms in pairs.  We don’t spend hours getting ready.  We don’t walk around asking “Do these jeans make me look fat?”  But we’re weird all the same.  I wish I had some great sage advice on the secret to men but I and three billion other guys are still working on figuring out the secret to women.  All I can tell you is that you should be you.  Never compromise.  Don’t take any bullshit.  If you’re lucky you’ll find some weird guy and you’ll be able to tolerate his quirks long after the quirks quit being cute and he’ll be able to do the same for you.  This is rare, tough, and completely worth it.  This is your mother and I, BTW.  Our kung fu is strong and I hope you’ll find someone special with which to make your own.
3.  The Rockthrower:  You will meet this boy in the schoolyard during recess.  He will throw a rock at you.  It will hit you.  It will hurt.  You’ll ask him why he’s being an asshole (although I’d prefer if you don’t speak like your dad).  He’ll say something uber-intelligent like “You smell!”  And then he’ll run away.  This means he has a crush on you.  Although it seems like an odd way to show it, as stated above, boys are weird.  Don’t throw rocks back at him.  Corner him later and say something coy and witty like “You know, there are better ways to ask me out for ice cream.  I think this bruise on my arm is worth a double scoop, don’t you?”  And if his parents are at all worth their salt, he’ll say sorry and buy you ice cream.  Invite him over and I’ll grill us all some burgers.  And then I’ll show him my shotgun.  Naw, just kidding!  Real men don’t need guns to show that they’re men. Speaking of…
4  Real Men:  There are so many images that come to mind when one thinks of a “real man.”  Most of them are just macho posturing.  The Marlboro Man.  Frat boys.  Jocks.  Pauly Shore.  Well, maybe not that last one but the rest apply.  Guys come in all types, shapes, and sizes.  Some may look or seem appealing but I hope you’ll look for the qualities found in real men:  simple, honest, and brave.  A real man will always protect the ones he loves by any means necessary.  A real man makes that known to his loved ones without having to say it.  A real man will put your needs in front of his.  A real man knows his limitations.  A real man says he’s sorry.  And he means it. 
I hope to be that archetype for you, Maddie.  Four months until we meet.  I’m counting the days until I can hold my daughter.  Man, a daughter!  I never tire of saying it.  I can only hope you never tire of saying “daddy!”
I love you, Madeline Belle Thurston.
-Your Dad.
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