A Father’s Burden

father-sonI know it doesn’t sound that great as far as me winning “Father of the Year,” but, when my wife was pregnant with our first child, one of my main concerns (besides, you know, caring for a tiny human being’s life) was how being a father would affect my writing. I was concerned that being inundated by Disney movies and smiling stuffed giraffes would make me lose my edge. To put it bluntly, I was afraid that being a father would turn me into a pussy.

It’s a legitimate concern. I know fathers whose voices were raised several octaves after the birth of a daughter or two. Fortunately for me, I still sound like I am in possession of both testicles. Actually, being a father has opened up an entire new world of writing possibilities for me. As pretentious and asshole-y as it sounds, no one can ever know what it’s like to be a parent until you are one. I truly believe that. You may think you know or guess what it may feel like, but until you hold that tiny person in your arms for the first time, you don’t know jack.

As I was contemplating what kind of father I want to be, I started to reminisce about my own childhood. I tried to think back to a time when I was with my father and thought, “He’s being a dad right now.” The best example of my father being a father that I possess in the ‘ole memory banks is of accompanying my father during one of our family’s many pet funerals. Growing up, we had a dog, hamsters, bunnies, a guinea pig, and an iguana, and, lo and behold, they all died at some point or another. We had an entire back corner of the yard sectioned off as our pet cemetery. I always thought that was a lousy part of being a dad, having to be the guy who buries the family pet. I remember accompanying my dad during the burial of my sister’s iguana. I was older when it happened and didn’t think he should have to complete such a morbid task alone. I didn’t really help, per se. I just kind of sat and kept him company and made mental notes since I figured one day I would be the dad and the burden of burying the family pet would be mine. And now I am. And one day, it will be.

That whole concept became the basis of my most recent short story. It’s about a man whose father would never allow him to take part in the burial of the family pet, and now, as a father himself, he invites his own son to help him bury the family dog. Then, of course, he realizes that his father was trying to protect him from burying a piece of his childhood and it becomes a whole thing. Whatever. You can read it when it gets accepted for publication.

Oh, and here’s to all the dads out there suffering from the burden of doing all those things that only dads can do. You may not smell as nice as mom, but you are necessary.


~ by themoderntranscendentalist on March 8, 2013.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: