Frankie 4 is my son, my main man, my go-to guy, my best buddy, and I spend as much time with him as possible. In fact, someone asked me just the other night what I would do if I could do anything I wanted for the rest of my life. I responded, “Spend time with my son,” because I am a loving father and I knew that “become the ruthless overlord of all mankind” was the “wrong” answer.
I also know that hanging full time with F4 is not a viable option because, unfortunately, I have to earn a living. Plus, I require a minimal amount of “me time” for myself and “us time” with my wife. I’m always explaining to people that I get up early in the morning for that very reason. While my wife and son are still asleep I have coffee, read a book, check the news, and work out. Me time. Once they wake up, it’s daddy time. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
People always told me that I’d never have a kid if I waited until I felt ready to have a kid. Ever since I first heard that I added it to my “Stupid Shit People Say” list. I purposely waited until later in life to have a kid just so that I’d be ready to have one. When the time actually arrived I was far beyond ready. There wasn’t anything I wanted more than to be a dad. Now, 2 years into it, the only thing I wasn’t ready for is that it’s even better than I thought it would be.
I was in the bank recently adding my wife to one of my accounts because ̶c̶l̶e̶a̶r̶l̶y̶ ̶I̶’̶v̶e̶ ̶l̶o̶s̶t̶ ̶m̶y̶ ̶m̶i̶n̶d̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶d̶o̶n̶’̶t̶ ̶c̶a̶r̶e̶ ̶a̶b̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶m̶y̶ ̶m̶o̶n̶e̶y̶ what’s mine is hers and vice versa. We got to chatting with the banker and it came up that we had kids around the same age. When my wife offered to stop by later with some paperwork, the banker, who was female, asked if she’d be bringing our son. I explained to her that no, he would be with me.
She said, “Wow, what do your friends think of that?”
I responded, “Think of what?”
“You babysitting for the day?” she oozed out of the asshole in her face.
Is my wife paying me $11/hour to babysit? No.
Was I referred to her by a neighbor whose kid I watch when they go to the movies? No.
Am I a 16 year old girl earning money to go to cheer camp? Maybe, er, no.
He’s my son you moron. I don’t babysit him. I FUCKING CREATED HIM. If I’m spending the day with him on a Saturday it’s because I’m his father and I want to spend the day with him. In fact, I spend virtually all of my free time with my son because he is the best thing on the planet. What on earth is better than spending time with your own kid? How shitty is your husband that he’s not doing this?
Is spending most of your free time with your kid(s) not a thing for men? Are so many men absentee fathers that it’s a surprise when one chooses to hang with his son on a Saturday? How are we not castrating these people before they can impregnate women?!?
On a less violently angry and judgmental note, last Sunday I took Frankie to Disneyland. Well, to be more specific, to Disney’s California Adventure (hereafter known as DCA). Why you ask? Because he said he wanted to ride “Mah-turr”, which is how he pronounces “Mater” from the Cars movie. DCA has a Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree ride in Cars Land and he loves it. It wasn’t something I had planned for the day but my son wanted to go so we went. And it was awesome.
The ride to Anaheim wasn’t the awesome part. Nor were the crowds, the lines, or (for me at least) even the rides. What was awesome was spending the time with Frankie and seeing his joy. He smiled, he laughed, he yelled “Wheeeeee” on rides, and so did I.
I don’t mention Disney because it’s a particularly unique experience for us. We have an annual pass and go all the time. In fact, F4 and I have gone countless times. Same with the aquarium, the beach, the park, and the movies. We do it all, all the time.
Because I work all day Monday through Friday, I only get to spend mornings, evenings, and weekends with my son. Much of that time Lisa is there too so it’s the whole family. We’re fortunate that we get to be together as much as we are. Lisa is home during the week and gets to spend more time with Frankie than I do which makes me a little jealous. So when she works on the weekend I don’t look at having Four all to myself as a duty but rather as a gift.
I know that one day he’ll reach an age where hanging out with dad won’t be his first, or even second choice. Hell, he might not want to at all. So I’m taking advantage of every moment right now while I can. One day, when he’s old enough to understand, I want him to look at his life and know that I was there for all of it. Not just when his mom needed someone to babysit. I don’t babysit my son. I raise him, love him, and live every moment of my life around him.
That day at Disney was the best day ever, because every day with him is the best day ever. I want as many of those as possible. He gave me so many smiles, so many hugs, and so many kisses. What else could I have been doing that would have been better than that? What else could possibly be better than spending time together, the two of us.