The Wifey had been up with The Boy since around 6:00, which, by the utter grace of God is actually early for him these days. By the time I got up, The Wifey probably had at least one cup of coffee. She also made homemade waffles and they had already eaten First Breakfast. They had already had First Breakfast. They may have also read about 10 books and played for nearly an hour.
I came out to the living room and shortly after The Wifey was falling asleep on the couch. I told her to go back to bed and I'll take care of the boy. She said she wouldn't be able to fall asleep even though as she was saying it she was falling asleep. The bedroom door closed and it was just my energetic Boy and me. What does a dad do now?
I grabbed my mug of coffee and decided to walk to the "Choo Choo Park" with The Boy, which is a park near our place where he can watch the El trains go by. He even knows the directions; if I don't make a right turn at the intersection that leads us there he starts crying. So when I did today he exclaimed "CHOO CHOO PARK!!!"
As we walked up around 8:30 I saw two other dads, each with their sons. And their coffee. This is the Dad Life. The boys were playing in the sand pit area and I tried to steer The Boy in that direction, though he has quite an independent streak. I wanted him to play with the other boys, of course, but I also selfishly wanted to interact with the dads. Such is the Dad Life.
Eventually The Boy made it over that way, so he got to play with their boys and I got to talk with their dads. I saw more and more dads trickle in to the park over the next 15 minutes or so. This was the most fascinating part to me.
Dad Life, at least where I live, is a universal experience. Saturday mornings are sacred times. They're sacred to moms because they know this will be the time dads take the kiddos out and they can get some extra sleep or sanity, probably a bit of both. They're sacred to dads because this is the best time they get with their kids, rather than the late-evening-after-work-meltdown time that's often the case. This is the time of cartoons and parks and cereal and pools.
Talking with these dads shows that my life, while different compared to single and early married life, is not so different from other gents in my same position. We talked about swim lessons and the TV shows we like to watch. It was great to know that other parents choose to just watch TV after kids are asleep, even city parents, where I take on the added guilt that I think I should be productive and winning at night like I think they all are. And when The Boy decided to break off from the group, I heard them talk about sleep habits if their boys. There we were, dads with their kids at a park, meeting each other for the first time yet sharing life's moments as if we've been boys for years.
This is Dad Life. And it's pretty swell.