Prior to the writing of this book, I considered myself an average guy, working an honest job, blessed with loyal friends, supported in my endeavors by a patient family, and in love with a good woman. That was pretty much the extent of my life at that point. Little did I know that some spilled “seed” would forever change my outlook on life.
Truth be told, I had never wanted to be a father. The relationship I shared with my own father was less than storybook, and by eighteen years old, the final chapter in our tale had played itself out. I had effectively witnessed everything a father shouldn’t be, and therefore drew my own conclusions on fatherhood, and ultimately realized that lifestyle wasn’t for me. With age comes maturity (or so they say), and even I was eventually willing to entertain the notion, at least internally. Vocalizing to anyone that I was actually willing to consider becoming a father was a certifiable death sentence. In my own way of thinking, I thought I would be perceived as being vulnerable (due in part to my previous relationship with my father), and there was no way in hell I was going to relive that soap opera, ever!
My conviction to this ideology remained unchanged for damn near thirty-five years. But as they say, everything is temporary… including any of my own preconceived notions. Through it all, my mother remained an unwavering fixture in my life. Even to this day, our close relationship has endured life’s hardships. Which serves more as a testament to her unconditional love for me, because by no means was I an angel. And yet, because of her love for me, I learned more about being a man from her, than from a man.
I got married in my early-twenties, and six years later I was just another tallied statistic. It wasn’t that we didn’t love each other. You cannot spend that much time with someone and not love them at some point. She was a good woman, but my will to remain an asshole produced an expected result – failed functionality. Near the end of our marriage we ceased working well with each other, and inevitably decided to call it quits before we ended up hating one another. In hindsight, it was fortunate that over the course of our marriage we never talked about having children, or ended up creating one. I tend to believe at that specific juncture in my life, the ending result would have mimicked a bad Springer episode. It was time for a mulligan!
Flash forward ten years: I re-married and was standing before a fork in my proverbial road of life. If I had continued forward, nothing would have changed. It would have been life as I knew it; right led to fatherhood, and left represented the “Dillinger Escape Plan.” However, synchronicity is a funny thing, and before you know it, life has already devised a plan for you. To preface this, my wife is an incredible woman. This, I knew for certain. Taking that into consideration, I already knew she would be an equally incredible mother. We played it smart and enjoyed each other’s companionship for a few years without the slightest mention of a baby. I knew there was no escaping the biological clock, and eventually her feelings toward motherhood would manifest into full-blown “baby making” discussions. I would have to have been simple-minded to believe otherwise. Having said this, my feelings pertaining to not having children were no deep, dark secret either. She was fully aware of my brick-walled stance regarding children, and many times found herself the target of my outright refusal to consider having one, let alone entertaining a discussion.
After several months of subtle hints and indiscriminate vocalizations, my power to veto the idea remained intact; although my reluctance changed during an unexpected and impromptu conversation. Unknowingly, my saying “No!” had been taking a heavy toll on her soul, and she had finally reached her apex of frustration with me and my perpetual filibustering. I don’t feel I need to recount the exact particulars of our conversation in order for me to convey her point. Make no compunctions, the point was well taken!
Our conversation prompted a deep introspection into my thoughts on our marriage, children, and me as a person. Did I have what it took to be an irreplaceable husband? Better yet, an irreplaceable father? These were the questions slapping me in the face, but I was all too short on answers. I talked to my friends. I talked to my family. I talked to already established parents. In the end, I talked to her; the woman that pledged to stand by me through all of life’s good, bad, or indifference. She isn’t my enemy, she is my wife. In essence, she showed me how to become a believer. If she could love someone that she’d never met before as much as she did already… well then, I could too.
This book is dedicated to those who stood by me, even when I chose to be a complete jackass! Those who did “One more shot of Jäger!” with me, even when they didn’t want to! Those who made me laugh, even when there was nothing worth laughing at. To the second one to marry me even if your dad’s itchy trigger-finger and sparkling shotgun was a dead-giveaway to the overall wrongness. And to the son and daughter who have no choice in the matter, Triple-D & CFD. Guess what? I’m your daddy… and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
And one final keg-stand to all my brotha’s (in no particular order, as you are all equally “special”): Seipp, Sitler, Sevillano, Ferry, Spera, Lutz, Cowan, Grummer, Hauser, Scott, Belleau, McFarlane, Turso, Willenbrock, Bates, Goller, Humphries, Hollingsworth, Lobue, Foster, Earles, Rogala, Myers, and Hall. Bro’s before Ho’s… bitches!
I am forever indebted to each and every one of you. Why? You allowed me, to be me! In the words of, Dewford Randolph Cox, “And then in the end, it’s family and friends. Loving yourself, but not only yourself. It’s about the good walk and the hard walk. And the young girls you made cry. It’s about make a little music everyday till you die… it’s a beautiful ride!”