Fatherhood makes my dad smarter

Published 8:00 pm Saturday, June 16, 2012

I’m a man who got a later than usual start at being father. Just past my mid-30s, I often think now of how old I will be when my son hits certain milestones in his life.

But regardless of my age, I am that father. I am that father who is — at a moment’s notice — willing to stop anything I am doing to share photos of my little man. Although I do not have a photo of him in my wallet, of the 448 photos on my iPhone, there are only three that are not of my son or my beautiful stepdaughter or wife. I am that father.

Over the few months, my life has without a doubt changed and changed for the better. I happily have a new look on life and can appreciate things a little differently.

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Recently, I’ve looked at cars, not because of their appearance or even gas mileage, but do they have room for a car seat, a factory-installed DVD system and a high safety rating.

I spend most of my grocery store trips in the baby aisle, looking at such things as formula, baby food and formula water.

And, dangit, over the past few months, I have started sounding a lot more like my father.

As a teenager and twenty-something, there were times I didn’t see eye-to-eye with Mr. James Reeves. I tended to argue with him on certain topics, not because I felt I was right, but because he was wrong. At least I thought he was wrong.

At times I felt my dad was far too strict and some of the things he asked of me were beyond ridiculous.

My dad refused to buy a lawnmower to cut the grass on our three acres of property because he would say, “why, I have a teenage son.”

There were curfews that were unfair and chores that were — I thought — made up to keep me busy. Let’s be honest, I am still not sure why it was my job to clean out the trashcans every New Year’s Day and Fourth of July?

But through all of the chores, the curfews and even the punishments for missing those curfews, he was my father. He was the one I could ask anything of and expect a simple and quick answer; even if that answer was “because I said so.”

Last May, I learned I was going to be a father and the thought both gave me great joy and tremendous fear. Not because I didn’t think I could be a father, but because I didn’t think I could be as good a father as mine was.

In January, when my little man was born, my dad was waiting in the lobby and gave me a quick handshake and then a hug. It was a special moment, not only because I had just seen my son born, but because I had just made my dad a grandfather.

For those who know me and know my father, it is no surprise my son bears the first name of my dad — James.

I think it’s a pretty good name. Little man is going to have a lot to live up to. That name carries a little weight with it.

On this my first Fathers Day it’s amazing the only person I can think of is the one who meant so much to me; my dad.