“To thine own self be true.” Well, that’s all well and good, Shakespeare. But, who am I?
First of all, a huge thank you to Dr. Mark “Doctor J” Johnson for contributing the writing for this episode of SAHDness. He was able to objectively articulate an idea that I struggle with at times. Mark is one of Jack’s grandfathers, and I consider myself endlessly fortunate that Jack has two grandfathers in his life that love him without question.
Do you know those moments in parenting of ultimate frustration? Where it seems that you have been given, not so much a child, but a tiny demon that feeds off the energy of doing the exact opposite of what you want? I love those moments. I really do. Basically, when I am uncomfortable I am given two options: retreat into my old behavior, which essentially means try to control everything towards whatever half-assed outcome I think I see up ahead. OR I can grow a bit. When Jack says he wants to go to the park and not the zoo, I can just go to the park and not feel like a deficient father who is stealing a zoo trip from his son. I can do that now and not feel like I’m being lazy. Sometimes I get so lost in my idea of what is best for Jack that I forget that I’m not Jack, nor do I have any REAL understanding of what he thinks the ideal situation might be.
What sucks is that I can usually look back later on and see what the appropriate path might have been, and what sucks more is that it usually was missed because I got in the way of it with either a grandiose fatherly idea or a tendency to over-complicate the immediate situation. So, I learn from those. I learn to be a little bit more gentle with myself and to accept a whole lot more with Jack. This is not to say that I’m not gonna toss pants on my boy because he doesn’t like them, or that it’s all ice cream and cookies because “my son doesn’t WANT to eat vegetables”. I’m still his father, and ultimately I am in a position of authority in my son’s life. I may be able to accept that, in the chaos of now, I can get lost among the endless choices but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a vast amount of experience. Experience I can utilize to find that delicate balance between what is and what is not acceptable behavior. However, I want a three year old and not a robot. I want Jack and not a tiny version of my own will. God, that would be exhausting. All we’d do is talk about Star Trek.
So, like my son, I am perfectly comfortable in my own skin and my own mind these days. I am confident in my abilities as a parent, a husband and a friend. There are certain truths about myself that I’ve been shown, and these tend to the paint the picture of a man that others would like to know. A man who, as Doctor J says, couldn’t care less if you do or do not like him. This varies depending on the fitness of my spiritual and, usually, physical condition, but for the most part I find myself in that healthy middle. Being the man that I am and loving the life that I have today.
Jack, whether through the ignorance that comes with being three or a more fit spirit that belongs to the young, seems to be consistently doing a better job than I. That’s okay, as he’s got a ways to go before the world has its way with him. However, when it does, I’m confident that he will be able to weather the storm as his father does. Resolute under the determination that everything is going according to plan. Standing tall with the knowledge that he is a child of this universe and, as such, has the right to be here. I look forward, not often but I do, to the man that Jack will become. I see so much of myself in him, but even more of this new human that is ever growing. His curiousity, his intellect and his wonder are insatiable. I know that when I look at him he is already thinking great thoughts. Thoughts that will change the world or not. Perhaps, at the very least, simply bring happiness to another quiet, beautiful life. Either way, that is something worth looking forward to.
So, who am I? I’m George. I’m a seeker. I’m an artist. I’m Jack’s dad. That’s all, and that is SO enough.