I have been richly blessed.
My daughter, Alexzandria, just celebrated her 3rd birthday on the 5th of June, and for the life of me, I can’t gather why people call it the “terrible twos.” In my opinion, her 2’s were great, terrific two’s actually! Did she have a couple moments that weren’t so terrific? Of course, but overall, she is respectful, sweet, mild tempered, appreciative, and gracious.
Alexzandria (Zan) is full of personality, and energy, as always! She is very well spoken, and a very swift learner. She seldom hesitates to express her opinion, and often leaves my wife and myself wondering when our 3 year old got traded for a 16 year old. Her hands LIVE on her hips these days, and her speech is full of surprises. She is full of southern hospitality and charm, even going as far as calling nearly everyone ‘honey,’ ‘sweetheart,’ or ‘princess.’
Parenting her has been a joy and a privilege, one I don’t take for granted. Zan helps challenge me to better myself in terms of education, patience, humor, and wit!
In the recent months, I’ve made a major change with her… I turned off the television for our one on one time.I realize that for some this may seem excessive. I, however, found that it strengthens our bond, and enables me to teach her how to care for herself, help with laundry, cleaning, watering the garden, and caring for the family pet… amongst other things.
Through this process, I decided to reflect on something. The culture of my people (Americans) is slipping, and I suspect it’s not just an American issue. When I was a kid, (at the risk of sounding aged) television had 3 channels, maybe 5. Cartoons only played at certain times, and at a certain time of night, NOTHING was on television, literally (except multicolored lines and a high pitched squeal). There were no cell phones, only house phones, and car phones eventually, if you were rich (Donald Trump rich). A computer was not in every household, and homes were frequented by encyclopedia salesmen. We didn’t have an abundance of technology, but what we lacked in tech, we gained in social skills, and we had STRONG family units. There were far less distractions, and we were trained, hands on, on how to become self sufficient and responsible.
In my opinion, technology these days is great, it can connect me with people on the other side of the world, quite literally in the case of Daddy Diaries. However, I’ve noticed that what our family units seem to lack today is intimacy, as well as unity. What if the luxuries we love so much, the things we desire to own, are beginning to own us? When I turned the television off and started reading to Zan more, talking more, i noticed something; our relationship became richer. Our bond is strengthening, and I am able to enjoy the fullness of parenting in a deeper way.
I am increasingly passionate about our daughter’s education , and instilling a passion for learning and reading. I want my children to experience the type of unity in the family that I look back on fondly. I realize to some, this may seem far fetched, and I understand. Zan watches television with my wife, but my wife has begun to read to her more also, it’s time that each of us greatly values.
I’m truly enjoying watching Alexzandria’s personality unfold, especially in conversation, and taking pictures. Zan has become known for striking poses better than most adults! She talks nearly non-stop, and when she isn’t talking, she’s meowing! She even ends her prayers with, “in Jesus name, amen, MEOW!” She has been meowing for over 6 months, it’s beginning to feel like we actually have a cat, minus the litter box and mood swings.
Zan is one of the most caring people I know. She can see someone fall, and her first concern is if they are hurt and need help. She must’ve gotten that trait from her mother, because I always see humor first, then I can be helpful. I’m glad she picked that trait up.
She is all about color coordinating, and often pics out her own shoes and accessories, paying special attention to detail. She is rather detail oriented in all things! It’s not enough to tell her to get her toe out of her eye, it’s almost necessity to tell her that her toenail will scratch her cornea and that I’ll force her to wear an eye patch that doesn’t match her outfit….if only I were exaggerating. She responds much better when things are well explained to her, so I do have a tendency to give her hilarious ‘worst case scenarios,’ with the most serious of facial expressions and tone of voice.
I believe thoroughly in leading by example, and I feel as though one of the worst things I can tell my daughter is, “because I said so.” Rather, I feel that I should be able to say, “I expect YOU to because I DO so!” Children are often the largest imitators of their parents, and I want my life to be worth imitating. I intend to leave her an inheritance and legacy of greatness, and I expect that success and greatness will follow her, hopefully because of the things she learns in her exposure to me, in this short, precious time I have.
Yes, I’ve been richly blessed, and I’m thankful for the opportunity I’ve been afforded to be a daddy. If fatherhood hasn’t done anything else, it’s made me better. It’s strengthened my values. It’s made me more carefully consider my decisions, and more quick to apologize and correct my mistakes. I am incredibly imperfect, but that doesn’t matter to my daughter. What matters most to her is my presence, my undivided attention, and to be engaged. Maybe one day she’ll push me away, and consider me embarrassing, but for now, I’m her favorite comedian, her hero, and mentor…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Fatherhood is one of the greatest gifts of my life, and anyone who disagrees may need to check their vision, or their priorities. My most valuable time, is the time I spend leading and loving my family. Fatherhood has increased my worth more than any pay scale possibly could. My child is worth my sacrifice, and through my sacrifices, I pray she is made stronger, smarter, more productive, and more empowered by the wisdom imparted to her.
I have been richly blessed through Alexzandria, and ultimately, I hope she is being richly blessed through me. I am forever grateful for the blessing of being a dad, it’s a great honor I truly cherish!