I got a bit of a late start at being a dad. My amazing son was born at the end of June in 2007, and barely two months later I turned 40. We didn’t hold a big party for my 40th birthday party, since Mrs. LIAYF and I were still in sleep deprivation induced shock at the time. Plus, I’m not sure I would have known how to respond to not only the jokes about being over the hill, but also about how old I would be when Lukas entered High School, got married, or had kids of his own.
Sure, there’s a lot of good natured kidding around when it comes to subject of being an older parent, but you know what? It is, at least partially anyway, based in reality. By the time you are in your 40’s – unless you are some sort of health freak – you’re slowing down considerably from your earlier days of adulthood. Heck, my parents were in their early 20’s when they had my sister, brother, and I. And although 3 kids in three years sounds rough (Mom, you were amazing), I often wonder if the dealing with 1 kid when you are 40 is roughly the same equivalent.
I’m pretty sure I would not had the same patience, experience, and financial stability that I have now if I had become a father for the first time in my 20’s or even 30’s for that matter. But I am sure I would have had a heck of a lot more energy. Energy that, as I ponder it now, would most certainly come in handy when picking Lukas up from preschool after a long day at work, or on weekend mornings when he rises with the sun, wanders into our room and wants to play, or to snuggle, or to go downstairs and make pancakes that very minute.
Plus, it would sure be great to be as limber as I was when I was 20. To paraphrase my lovely wife, I wish I was in as good of shape now as I was back then when I thought I was in bad shape. Now though, when it’s time for toy clean up and I know there is little to no chance that our little guy will clean up all the toys himself, I just look down at them strewn everywhere and sigh, realizing that ‘they sure are a long way down’. Not to mention that my back will usually crackle, snap, and make sure I know that it’s definitely against the idea.
Don’t even get me started on being a ‘horsey’ who gives rides. Mrs. LIAYF volunteered me for that task the other day. And while she chuckled and Lukas laughed with joy, I was crawling around on my knees on wood floors with a 35 pound dead weight on my back. I was more nag than thoroughbred.
You know, If I weren’t so tired, I might actually make time to work out more. And, of course by more, I mean some. Plus, now, just when our nearly 4 year old seems to be getting independent enough to give me the time to actually do that, we are in the planning for another child. Of course, this time I will definitely be more prepared, but I will also be closer to 45 than 40.
Sure, I complain a bit. It helps. But I know that I am an incredibly lucky man. And even despite all the above listed things, there is not a scenario conceivable to me where I would trade the experiences I am having now as the father of such an amazing boy for the chance to go back and become one at an earlier age.
As tiring and painful as it can be, this is my life. This is my happiness, and my reason for smiling each and every day. I’ll be fine.
Just give me a tub of ibuprofen and my kids a set of spurs.