I would quote a line from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves here, to indicate the fact that something inevitable has started (“Then it begins…”), except this particular something inevitable started well before today.
Almost as soon as I had my son, my life became subsumed by his existence. I put up a strong front on this blog – my kid won’t change me! I’m still a bad ass rock star (I’m from Connecticut) – but having a kid has changed me, has changed my life, has changed my priorities. Which is fine; to be a good dad, some of that has to happen.
I thought I’d at least been doing okay holding on to my personality. And then I started referring to myself as “Daddy.”
I mentioned in my last post that my single brother likes to say, ad nauseum, that it’s over for me. He started saying it when I got married but once I had a kid I started hearing it more and more. He’s mostly joking, in a half-joking/dead-serious kind of way, but if I thought he weren’t at least somewhat right I wouldn’t have started a blog named “Dad and Buried.” The whole tongue-in-cheek purpose of this blog is to beat back the army of change that comes with becoming a father, and to hang onto some semblance of my old life.
So far I think I’ve done a great job:I still swear, I still drink, I still go to bars. And even though every one of those activities has been altered a bit by my new role as a father, I’ve managed to hang onto them in some form. Which is no small victory.
I can’t swear as much because my son has started to repeat everything I say with a gift for mimicry that surpasses even the great Rich Little. I can’t drink as much because having to take your kid to swim class when you’re hungover is even worse than having to take your kid to swim class when you’re not. I still go to bars because I live in Park Slope where your child is your greatest accessory; it’s like having a Black AmEx around here (except when it’s not – there is an ongoing war in this nabe, between the breeders and the ballers (childless peeps), that is astonishing in both its local prominence and in how tiresome it is to discuss when I’m anywhere NOT local).
So yeah, my lifestyle has taken some hits, but not so many that I haven’t been able to mostly maintain my pre-father identity. Recently, though, it’s gotten harder.
Lately my son has really taken to calling me “Daddy.” He’s known the word for a while but has been using it a lot more over the past few weeks. I’m not gonna lie: as I said on twitter this morning (follow me here) it’s the most adorable thing I’ve ever heard. I might look into suspending my son in carbonite or something to keep him at this age so I can hear him say it whenever I want. What’s freaking me out is the fact that I’ve started referring to myself as “Daddy,” which is completely, mindbogglingly ridiculous and a real sign that my personality has become totally unmoored.
I am slowly being submerged under the rising tide of fatherhood. And while I can’t imagine my life without my son, I don’t want to lose sight of the person I was before he came along.
You know how it’s jarring when an old friend – one you’ve seen do any manner of irresponsible, idiotic, inebriated things – settles down and has a kid? It’s even more so when you are the one settling down and having a kid. Your new reality can take a while to take hold; a struggle arises between your old carefree lifestyle and your new, serious responsibilities – a struggle I’m documenting on this blog. It’s not that it takes a while to start acting like a dad; taking care of your kid and embracing your new responsibilities is pretty much impossible to avoid from day on – unless you’re a straight-up deadbeat, you pretty much have to fake it til you make it. But it definitely takes some time to accept the fact that when someone says the word “Dad” they might actually be referring to you.
So while I’m not going to stop expressing my old personality, I have to come to terms with the fact that it is, indeed, my old personality. Once you start calling yourself “Daddy,” things have changed. The struggle is over. You are ALL IN.
Especially when you used to refer to yourself as “King Shit of Fuck Mountain.”