Hi, I'm Jeff.
You: (Hi, Jeff!)
I'm an old man, and I became a dad not too long ago. This blog is my way of sharing the ups and downs of this journey, exploring the Wonders and WTF's of first-time fatherhood in one's 50's.
Was 52 pretty old to become a dad? Well, yeah. My high school classmates, nobly and innobly re-connected to my life via Facebook, are largely grandparents now. My body barely survived that "newborn" tunnel, that tube of darkness that lasted until he started sleeping more than an hour between feedings. My mind, well, maybe it didn't survive completely intact.
Is 54 pretty old to be chasing a toddler, to be teaching him to think and speak and use manners? Maybe not so much. It feels old when I watch my son, Jay (short for Jeff jr.) take the cat's wand toy and run along the kitchen counter with it, raking every last bit of mail, checkbooks, cat treats, fruit, pens and pencils and other eyeball-jabby things, onto the floor, punctuating it with the cereal bowl I left earlier (bad dad). It doesn't feel so old when I feel like I know at least something about what to say to him when he sits on the cat.
It feels old when I do the math and remember I'll be about 70 years old when he graduates from high school. It doesn't feel so old when I can rake a pile of leaves and jump into them with him, and actually FEEL his joy. It feels old when I see his stubbornness. He's wicked smart, and doesn't want to be taught ANYTHING. He has to figure it out for himself, which is mostly great. Except when it isn't. He will soon be sporting a shirt that says "I do all my own stunts." If he lives that long.
It feels old when he has trouble sleeping, and I end up spending the last half of the night sacked out next to him on his bedroom floor. It doesn't feel so bad when I notice he has cuddled up tight, as if there was no better place on earth than on the floor next to dad (I should note here that the floor is covered with foam squares, prepped for that wonderful day when he throws open his wings and fledges from his crib and onto the floor).
It feels old when he feels the need to express his exasperation violently, hitting and kicking. Not so much when I have found a way to keep calm, talk him through it, and he realizes on his own that hugs and kisses feel so much better.
It feels great when he begs me to sing or dance with him, which is almost any time of the day. I happily join in, and the delight in his eyes melts away at least some of the fatigue from a day of toddler-chasing. Not so much when we're in the car, and I start bobbing my head and getting into Ozomatli's great children's CD, especially Moose on the Loose, only to hear a stern little voice from the back seat:
So, it'll be here, the ups and downs, the ins and outs, some MacGyver tips as they come along, and our story.