Jeremiah and I always call Poppy our best work.
And it’s the truth. Being a dad is the most rewarding, empowering, and fun experience of my life. Also? It’s the most vulnerable I’ve ever been.
So with Father’s Day approaching, I’ve been thinking about all the things I’ve learned since becoming a dad a little over a year ago. I’m sharing a dozen of them here – as well as some (if I say so myself) ridiculously cute photos of Poppy…
There’s no “right” time to become a parent: My mom had me at 22, and was a great parent. And I feel lucky to be a dad now, at 43 years old. I feel like I’ve gone through such a journey, and now, my daughter will benefit from the life I’ve lived, and that Jeremiah’s lived.
“Special moments” get redefined: I love every aspect of being Poppy’s dad. I love watching her wake up. I love when she learns a new word. She’s trying to walk right now and that will be coming any second – you can see it! I love the time we spend with her doing the most mundane things.
Every parent is an ally. I’ve always loved and spent plenty of time around kids, but now that I’m a parent, I feel especially connected to other dads and moms on a different level. Knowing that we all have the same hopes and dreams and fears, that we basically all understand 80% of what’s running through each other’s head on a daily basis: that’s comforting. Are we doing the right thing? Is this the right school? Am I limiting sugar enough? The specifics are interchangeable, but we all want the best for our kids.
LA can be a very friendly place if you just say “hi!” We go for long walks here and she says hi to everybody – I mean, really, who can resist a baby wave?
There’s only so much I can do. It’s not our job to mold babies into who we want them to be. Aside from helping her be happy, healthy and self-reliant, all I can do is let her become who she is. I can’t bear to watch football, but if she becomes a huge football fan or player, I’ll be at every game. It’s our job to nurture our children to be who they were born to be.
And yet, it’s fun to wonder. So far this 1-year-old has lived in 4 different homes, watching as different environments are created around her. Will design and aesthetics be interesting to her, like they were for me growing up in a constantly-evolving house? Or will she be so bored that a conversation about wallpaper is going to send her running and screaming?
Manners can be an epic source of pride. Even though Poppy is so young, we model and encourage the things that are important to us – like saying please and thank you, and learning to share. The other day, a little kid was about to grab her snack but before he could, she offered it to him. Moments like that show me these lessons are sinking in – and make me so incredibly proud.
You’re never too old to develop a fear or flying. I’ve noticed my own low-grade anxiety can get overwhelming at times. Being on an aircraft is now a whole different game…
My dad is with me in a whole new way. I can’t speak about fatherhood without thinking about my own father, whom I lost last year. For me, it’s been an interesting and difficult balance in this new role in my life. But I’ve started seeing a lot of my dad in how I parent, which is yet another testament to what a great father he was. He didn’t sweat the small stuff. And he knew that letting me actually learn from life experiences was going to be a lot more useful than sitting me down for a conversation about it.
It’s true what they say. The days are long and the years are short. Also, the nights are short when “morning” is 6am.
Photo by Genevieve de Manio
I’m no expert. I’m a design expert, sure, but not a parenting expert. We’re just doing the best we can and trying to figure it out like everybody else. I ask other parents questions constantly!
One last thing: stash baskets. I’ve never been more grateful for baskets, boxes, and bins in any other period of my life, than I am now. Without them, my house would be covered in primary colors.
Happy Father’s Day to my amazing husband, and all the great dads out there, whether their kids are 1 or 10 or 43. We’re all in this together, and we couldn’t be luckier.