September 30, 2009
On Becoming a Father
Until 5 years ago all but a few fathers I knew were 30 or more years older than me. That’s because the simple fact that most of my friends had no kids so the only fathers I knew were their parents. Since those fathers were 60 plus and I was 30ish I didn’t put myself in the same category as them.
When we’re young we have a crazy concept of age. For instance when I went to day camp I thought all my counselors were about 30. I realized I was wrong when I was a counselor there at 15.
But that warped sense of age stuck with me when it came to fathers. In my head since I am so much younger than the fathers I know, I can’t be one myself. Maybe it was a really simple way to look at things but it was keeping me from putting myself in the category of father. I knew I wanted a kid one day but it just seemed so far away.
To add to my mental block of fatherhood, I thought of myself as just a normal guy. My conversations with other guys were about things like snowboarding, design, photography and such. Maybe most guys would switch football out for photo and design, but I make my living as a creative director. I didn’t of course talk about baby stuff.
But things changed. More of my friends have kids so I’m seeing fathers that I can relate to. And as Staci and I prepare for the baby we’re talking about baby stuff, maybe to the despair of some of our friends.
Last week at work I found myself in a 20 minute conversation about strollers. Granted we were talking about their design, form over function and which is more important for a stroller, but I was having a conversation about baby stuff and it felt right.
Five years ago I never pictured myself having that kind of conversation and enjoying it. Actually a year ago I never thought I’d be having that conversation. To be totally honest a few months ago, even after we found out we were pregnant, I didn’t think I’d enjoy a conversation about strollers.
That’s when I realized that there was a sea change going on in my mind. I made the switch from normal guy to father. I also found out I didn’t actually change much. I could still Kenny and just add the title of father instead of having the title define me.
I’m still having the same conversations I had before but with minor tweaks. I used to geek out on Eames chairs, now I get to geek out on the chairs but also the Eames Elephant for kids. I get to add to my list of things I’m digging. Pretty cool.
Maybe for some it’s a no brainer but it took me some time to realize that I can be a normal guy and a father.
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