It is almost too shocking to write down. In this day and age, some would say, it is stunning to hear what one man did when he found out he was now responsible for bringing a totally dependant and helpless life into the world. Of all the ways he could have reacted, actions he could have taken, his response would be deemed excessive by many, to say the least. Are you ready for it? Brace yourself. When this man heard the life altering news of his sentencing into fatherhood he….
Stuck around and became a Dad.
When you’re done reeling and can lift yourself up off the floor and feel your lips and toes again, I’ll continue…
Uh, after all the click bait titles I’ve been suckered into I had to try one for myself. LOL! Did it work? Are you adequately peeved about the let down? Did you click to read something really gruesome and gossipy? I bet you were expecting to hear that he beat the mother over the head with his Xbox remote, or drug her down to planned parenthood between his workout at the gym and detailing his new car. Or better still, sued her for defamation, but refused a paternity test instead claiming to be sterile due to a tragic accident with fireworks at age 10.
And any of those stories would be shared by thousands and would spread like wildfire across social media. Under the guise of outrage and disgust, of course. But also because we are all like flies to the carcass of a sordid tale.
Around 17.4 million children in America are raised without a father. Sadly, just sticking around and being a father of any caliber is becoming commendable and newsworthy here in America. Do we need a reward system for the tuck tail and run sperm donors to be enticed into being real fathers? Medals and new cell phones could be handed out after each lap around the track, or year of being a present and accounted for father. If that’s not doable we could start with a gold star if your child knows your name, eye color, home address, and enjoys spending the $10 you send in the general vicinity (say within 2 months) of their actual birthday. And we can work our way up from there. Child support paid? Free game of bowling weekly including rent-a-shoes. Take your child for a fun weekend every month? Discounts at Academy and Home Depot and free Wi-Fi when child is in your presence.
But If their mother knows how you take your coffee while playing a midnight game of “pass-the-croupy-baby” sitting on the toilet in a steamy bathroom, well then, Come on down! On top of all that, you’ve won a lifetime supply of Starbucks coffee, Netflix originals, and a new SUV with third row seating! You’re going to need it. Cause you sir, are a Dad!
Back to that guy that just stuck around, no incentives necessary. I suppose he had incentives that are not all that noticeable to the untrained eye (i.e. those who never had a father around and saw the potential for shear chaotic, flat broke, but nevertheless prideful bliss.) Excitement filled is eyes, mind, ego, and heart. Followed by anxiety, fear, and instant purpose, plans, and above all, love. And that was before he knew it was twins!
Fathers are an endangered species. And incentives are not the answer. I’d say loving the child’s mother before the child exists might be a start. Marrying her beforehand is also part of a recipe for successful fatherhood. But I realize life happens. Notice I didn’t say accidents. An accident is when you trip over a curb you didn’t see or a bird poops on your head inside a wholesale store. Who could see that one coming? Science has proven that cigarettes cause cancer, gravity causes apples to fall, and well, sex causes new people. Hmm, imagine that.
Real men own it. Love it. Roll around in it. Get covered in spit up, play-doh, mud pies, baseball dirt, boogers, oreo crumbs, puke, spf 100 sunblock, fundraiser pamphlets, legos, paralyzing fear, Lincoln logs, pride, guitar picks, snot, fishing worms, bills, amoxicillin, sticky kisses, broken doors, bedtime thirst, backseat giggles, lost remotes, skinned knees, taco Tuesdays, shameful moments, recitals, tears, ear piercing music practice, fights, hugs, screams, laundry, lost socks, minecraft comas, ear aches, big wins, hard losses, driving lessons, poop, favorite books, bloody noses, “the talk,” shear joy, sleepless nights, annoying cartoons, tuitions and fees, jars of bugs, thunderstorm bed raids, fearful goodbyes, ecstatic hellos, slow torment, moments gone too soon….it is the best of times and the worst of times….
…and they call themselves, Dad.