Tag Archives: fatherhood

Our boy wonder

My sweet chunky monkey at 8-months-old

If you look up the word “boy” in the dictionary, you just might find a picture of my son, his body jumping in midair, eyes ablaze, with one hand gripping his beloved angry bird toy, and the other fist raised high in the air in triumph. My son is ALL BOY, as they say: spirited, energetic, sensitive, moody, sweet, charismatic, rambunctious, hard-headed, nutty, lazy, and a lot of other adjectives in between!

From the day he was born, he has been “my sweet baby boy.” I still call him that, even though my “baby” turns six-years-old tomorrow. When he falls asleep on the couch, I still pick up his 60+ pound body and carry him up the stairs to his room, his legs dangling and grazing my ankles. My husband keeps telling me that I’m gonna throw out my back, but  I keep doing it anyway, holding on to the fading memories of when I used to carry him to bed as a baby.

So far his first year in kindergarten has been somewhat of a challenge. At the first parent-teacher meeting, his teacher said our son was doing well, but had a hard time focusing and that he could easily be side-tracked from doing various tasks. Well, DUH! That wasn’t a surprise. After all, he was our son, and we knew we had to tell him to do things at least 2 or 3 times (“Pick up your shoes/toys/coat/books/food, etc. off the floor…NOW!”) Plus we knew that kindergarten was a new experience for him and that he just needed time to adjust.

Well, six months later we met with the teacher again and apparently he’s still having issues with focusing in class. He’ll talk when he’s not supposed to, and will “zone out” at other times, and not complete his class work. She said that it wasn’t a behavioral issue, because she has kids in the class that she’s dealing with who are very disobedient. But our son’s lack of focus is starting to affect his development. He’s still learning, however, and will pass kindergarten, but he is at the bottom half of his class. His teacher (and his father and I) know that he is a bright child and is capable of much more.

She commented that she didn’t know what to do, and that perhaps we should speak with our pediatrician to determine if our son has ADHD or ADD. I wanted to cry right then and there and thought, “Our poor baby needs help. What can we do?” She immediately saw the concern in my eyes and said, “I’m not a professional in this area and can’t tell you if that’s what it is or not, or if he’ll need medication or what. I’m at a loss and I want to help him, too. I just wanted to bring this to your attention.”

To make matters worse, I had to leave the meeting to return to work and meet my deadlines. But that night my husband and I talked and we obviously agreed that we would do whatever was necessary to help our son.

However, in the days following our meeting, my husband has been especially attentive to my son’s needs. He has been calling our son’s teacher daily to touch bases on his progress. He has also been visiting our son throughout the day, just to check on him and keep him on task. (Thankfully his work schedule allows some flexibility.) So far the teacher said my son is doing better and she has already seen some improvement.

I don’t know if my husband’s hands-on approach will continue to be effective, or if something more medically comprehensive will be required. But I’m just so thankful that my son has a strong father figure in his life. There’s nothing like a mother’s love, but there’s absolutely NOTHING like a father to love, support and provide the encouragement and discipline a child needs. And to see the extra love and care exhibited by my husband these past few weeks has been astounding.

Going forward, we still plan to meet with the pediatrician for my son’s annual physical and to discuss his developmental issues. But as Oprah would say, one thing I know for sure is that my boy is so fortunate to be surrounded by parents, grandparents, extended family, and educators who care and want the best for him, and that fills my heart with such appreciation, peace and reassurance. And I know, no matter what, that my sweet baby boy will be just fine.

Sharing a sweet moment with my favorite little boy
(photo courtesy of JulieFitzPhotos)

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‘Daddy’s Day’ is about being thankful

I have absolutely no memory of my father. He and my mother had married as teenagers when they became pregnant with me, but very soon the marriage ended.

As a toddler, I visited my father every other weekend. From what I was told, I simply adored him and greatly looked forward to our regular visits. But, over time, the visits became few and far between. I wouldn’t see my father again until more than 35 years later, ironically, at his funeral. Looking upon his lifeless body for any sense of resemblance or recollection and finding none, I couldn’t help but to feel sorrow. Although we had not had a relationship, I knew at that moment that I would never be presented with the opportunity to reconnect and call him “daddy.”

But I am so very thankful that I’ve had other father figures in my life, most notably my grandfather who made me feel loved and adored every single day he was alive. He was tall, strong and beautiful, and would sweep me up in his arms and ask, “How’s my grandbaby?!” I would hug him hard and bury my nose in his neck to smell his Old Spice cologne. After he passed away in 1983, my uncles served as surrogate male figures with sporadic visits over the holidays, reunions and other family gatherings.

Now when I look upon my kids, I can’t help but to think how extremely fortunate they are, for many reasons, but especially because they have two loving parents to support and raise them.

When my husband and I started dating, I would tell him on numerous occasions, “Do you realize how lucky you are to have had two parents at home?” He would shrug his shoulders nonchalantly because that was all he had ever known. Even now, his parents will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this year and seem just as in love today as they must have been when they first met over 50 years ago!

Not that the parents’ length of marriage is any reflection on the children but, I have to admit, my husband is an amazing father and provider. He is self-employed in the restaurant industry so his days can be extremely long, stressful and demanding, but he rarely complains. Due to his work schedule, he’s often unable to attend a particular event, game or function. At times I joke that I feel like a single parent because I have no one to accompany me to various events with the children. But he makes every effort to be there when we really need him.

My family often jokes that my husband is quiet and stoic but they have no idea how extremely funny and goofy he can be. I love to find him acting silly with the kids, playing hide-and-seek, camping out on the basement floor, or bringing milkshakes home to the kids when I’ve sent him to the store to buy trash bags. He is a loving, devoted, patient and kind father.

This year my husband and I will celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary and, when I look at him, I feel so extremely blessed that he is in my life and that my children have such a beautiful representation of what a husband, man and father should be. And whenever my children utter the word “daddy,” I can vicariously experience that joy in knowing that their childhood and their lives will be filled with wonderful memories of being loved, adored and wanted.

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