A little voice drifts down the hall: "Mommy, Daddy, I want to get up." Maria props herself on one elbow. "Not yet, Roxanne, we need to sleep some more." Five minutes later: "Mommy, Daddy, I want to get up." "Roxanne," I say, "you can play quietly in your room." Of course, that isn't what she wants, and every five minutes we hear: "I want to get up." Finally, we relent and say, "Okay, come on in." A breathless bundle is instantly in our bed, snuggling, poking, patting and giggling. Another day as a parent begins.
I came to fatherhood late in life. I joke that I've been running my life in reverse: retiring from police work, going back to school for another degree, becoming a dad and getting married. Being a father is the most satisfying, exhausting and nerve-racking thing I've other done -- well, there was that guy with a gun, but that's another story altogether. I love being a Dad. I love teaching about butterflies, watching cartoons on Saturday morning (except for the Doodlebops which drive me nuts) and walking over to the park so Roxanne can play on the swings.
I worry about the job I'm doing. Will she learn the values that she'll need to carry her through life, to be satisfied with what she does and to avoid some of the pitfalls I've stumbled into. I hope so, only time will tell.