I’m a father of three daughters. The oldest is only four and three-quarters and the twins are three years younger. I say this because I know there will be many more lessons as they get older and especially because we have a little brother on the way. But it’s been an interesting four plus years and I wanted to take stock of the changes so far, both mentally and logistically.
- The way they see you is who you are. I recently had a situation where work wasn’t going well. What kept me grounded was coming home and seeing how great I was in my children’s eyes. At the end of a long day, seeing your girls running to greet you is the best in the world and puts it all in true perspective.
- The never-ending search for efficiency. When you have a child, your life changes dramatically for sure. However, when you have three you learn to budget your time (and resources) with great efficiency. Anyone that has called us in the evening knows that from 5:30-8:00 pm (if we’re lucky), it’s dinner time, followed by 4-B’s; baths, brushing, books and bed. Followed by another half hour of cleaning up. Basically, you pull into the driveway, fart and it’s time for Leno. I’ve recently purchased books to learn how other families deal with crowded homes and little time to run them. We’re still learning, though I’m considering breaking out my old coaching whistle, a-la Sound of Music. Our quest for getting laundry done is still in progress. I’ll only say that my hoping the laundry gnomes get it done is not working.
- Buy in bulk! It’s self-explanatory. Buying one or two of something is a waste. This is true for anyone but REALLY important for families. Peapod is the greatest (or any delivery service). Aside from the run to Costco, going to the grocery store is rare. For an extra $5 we save $100 of kids not yelling “please buy me this…”. Not to mention, time is precious and wasting hours lugging kids to the grocery store just doesn’t cut it.
- Traveling equals mobilizing. When we go anywhere as a family, we don’t hop in the car and just go. We have to plan the logistics about an hour ahead of time. Through hard knocks I’ve become efficient at having the backpack packed at all times. Cars get warmed up, kids get dressed (fed if necessary), stroller packed, etc. We’re always aware of time but unfortunately getting to parties or church on time isn’t always doable. Our family, friends and the Lord will have to understand.
- Kids teach you more about yourself than you can teach them. Related to my first point, these kids show me who I am and who I want to be…Papi. The only exception is when they observe me watching my sports teams and they stare in bewilderment. They’re young New England fans, they’ll soon learn the triumphs and the stings. That aside, my four-year old can sound like she’s arguing or procrastinating but then makes such a logical point or repeats a lesson we taught her that it more than impresses us.Yes she can manipulate as a four-year old is apt to do but she genuinely is inquisitive and is growing in her understanding of her little world. Which makes me see mine in a new and different light.
Being Papi to them is the hardest but greatest job in the world and I’m lucky to have it. I can hardly wait for the lessons learned yet to come. That’s my take.