Dad of All Trades, Master of None

Domesticated, Not Demasculinized

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Happy Birthday, French Fry.

Posted by doatmon on August 27, 2009

Today is the fifth anniversary of what I consider to be my greatest accomplishment.

French Fry.

My greatest TRICK might be the miraculous hypnosis that has forced Coke to remain in my presence for over 12 years.

But my greatest accomplishment is French Fry.

And today is her fifth birthday.

Half a decade ago, my life was just a bit different.  I lived in a ramshackle Clintonville abode which devoured half of my wife’s childhood and half of our wardrobes in intermittent flooding that plagued the basement.  My biggest concern each week was what days (yes, plural) I was going to Crosswords to work diligently on what were then my TWO greatest accomplishments: my Golden Tee game and my reputation as an “active” member of the Winking Lizard Beer Tour.

Mmmm…Chimay.

I was married and I had been for seven years.  But I don’t think I was yet a husband.  Check that.  I know I wasn’t a husband.  Fantasy football consumed my weekends.  In June.   I don’t think I had cleaned a toilet or dusted an end-table since puberty.  And the only thing I wrote those days was e-mail re-caps of various weekend shenanigans involving digging large holes in my backyard, exploits at high-end establishments in town (i.e. Ruckmoor) and consuming copious amounts of meat in a given time-period.

Now, those days are gone.  And I couldn’t be happier.

It is weird when I look back on that time in my life and realize that I was 26/27 and essentially still a collegiate bachelor who happened to be employed and married.  I was embattled in a Sisyphusian struggle for “happiness” and yet I had no clue what I was aiming for.  At the time, all I knew what I was struggling AGAINST.

With increasing frequency, Coke and I were entering into arguments about the next phase of our lives.  She wanted children.  I did too, but I mean, good lord, not then.  Life was FUN.  Car trips that had once been among the centerpieces of our relationship, were now miserable.  They had turned into rolling battlegrounds with opposing forces holding ground on opposite sides of the parking brake.

As is so often the case, the ongoing argument was taken out of our hands.

Following a particularly raucous December 23rd outing together, Coke informed me that there was an OFF chance that she might be eating for two.  We didn’t yet know for SURE, but as I sat in a bland Methodist Church last night where I didn’t know a soul that didn’t share my last name, each hymn began to embody the internal struggle I was feeling.  Good lord did the annual cheese soup taste odd that Christmas Eve.

The next day, Coke’s entire family was coming to Clintonville for Christmas dinner.  A dinner I was cooking.  Turkey and all.  My plan was to inject eggnog with enough Holiday Spirits to make them ignore the trichinosis.  First I had to drive from one end of Columbus to the other looking for an open drug store.  I can think of better days to try to find a pregnancy test.

I remember the confirmation.  I remember being huddled in my closet talking to my mom on the phone about an un-done turkey and her un-done son.  I remember telling my in-laws.  And driving to tell my family.  But I wasn’t as excited as I was frightened and completely overwhelmed.

And I don’t care about the clichéd nature of this next statement, but I genuinely remember very little of the next nine months that weren’t related to the birth of my child.  Without looking at my now irrelevant resume, I couldn’t even tell you where I was working.  I went through the motions of OB/GYN appointments (hers, not mine), registering at the formerly foreign Babies R Us and even of selecting and moving into a new house for the new baby.  One without a basement.

On August 27th, following a Fujiyama feast, French Fry was born.   And so was the man I am today.

We grew together.  I wasn’t immediately a man and she wasn’t immediately a brilliant princess.  We had our ups and downs.  I was a better sleeper than she was.  We were both solid eaters.  I cried more than she did.  We both relied on Coke for our very existence.  But we grew.

She graduated pre-school and at the same time, I feel as if I graduated life.  I had gone through job after job.  I was sometimes successful.  Sometimes not.  I now had a Chicken Nugget as well as a French Fry and life logistics were more complicated than ever.  And yet, after years of searching and despite a life with more moving parts than I had ever experienced, my search for happiness became simple.

My happiness was inextricably linked with my family’s happiness.  It sounds so simple.  I assure you, it was not.  It was a painful and arduous process and yet as I type, I have never been more confident of anything.  This decision to stay home with my children has provided peace that has long eluded me.

Today, on this fifth birthday of a present I first learned of on Christmas and received in August, I celebrate the life of my French Fry. And I celebrate the life she has given me.

Happy birthday, stinky butt.

If interested, here are a few other blogs focused on my French Fry.

Wishes for French Fry via Marc Broussard lyrics.

Her first buffet.

Her trip to see the Wiggles.

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3 Responses to “Happy Birthday, French Fry.”

  1. Great post! I definitely understand every word of this post. Being a Dad has changed my life for the better & I couldn’t be happier. Looking back at the times before kids and I wonder how I made it out in one piece.

  2. Dana said

    Happy birthday, “French Fry”! I can NOT believe that she is already 5!!! I had to laugh about the Fujiyama feast part…they must put some sort of labor-inducing drug into their food because we also ate there the night I went into labor(a mere 2 weeks after H!). Here’s hoping that this day is a special one for you all, and especially the little princess. :o)

  3. Melissa said

    Great post!! Happy birthday French Fry!

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