I’m not the smartest or greatest dad there is. Not even close. I have many faults and made many mistakes over the years that I regret.
However, I do think I’m pretty good at understanding my faults and I work hard to minimize their impact to myself and others, especially to my family, as much as possible.
Even still… just because faults were minimized, it doesn’t mean there wasn’t impact from them from time to time. There was. I regret that.
But… we live and learn and live and relearn and one and on.
My daughter is my first child and when she was born I didn’t have a clue as to how to raise her.
I found out quickly though, that having children, and especially having the first child, is kind of like going to war.
No matter how much you plan for it, once the first shot is fired the best you can hope for is a campaign of organized chaos.
Fortunately, not long after she was born, I happened upon some useful information — probably from articles in a newspaper (remember those things?) — about the results of a couple of different studies.
I don’t remember the newspaper — probably the Stars & Stripes.
And I certainly don’t remember the studies or who conducted them so I cannot attest to the veracity of the reportage.
However, based upon my life experiences, what was reported seemed to speak the truth.
And from these apparent truths that I happened upon long ago, I was changed — or at least I sought to change — from their insights.
And from this change, I hope I became a better father to, not just my daughter, but to my sons as well. For I also hope that when my sons, too, have daughters– and based upon the make up of my lovely and loving wife’s family and mine, they probably will — they understand how their beliefs and, more importantly, their behavior can have such an impact on the outcome of their daughters’ lives.
The first thing I learned that changed my behavior as a father was…
The more education a father has the less the chance will be that his daughter will find herself in an abusive relationship as an adult.
The second was…
Girls with high self-esteem tend to have less sex during their middle and high school years and girls with low self-esteem tend to have more.
The inverse is true for boys.
It’s Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
While we have quite the cat already – Jack Kerouac – whom I introduced some time ago and can be found as part of Photography page’s gallery collection, I am and always have been a dog man…besides, Kero-chan will have nothing to do with me as he is wholly devoted to the lovely and loving wife, and who can blame him.
But that is fine by me. As a true dog man I can remember clearly all my dog buddies who were there for me all throughout my life. My first dog as a child was an old hound dog named Mickey. I remember with fondness how his tail would always slap at me whenever he was happy. And while all my dogs were great friends to me, my bestest of best friend of all was our last dog Shikibu, a tiny little snowball of Maltese magic.
There are several reasons I am still here on earth after all the leukemia and lung disease as a result of the bone marrow transplant BS. First and foremost is that Universal Power Source of Infinite and Abiding Love we often refer to as God answering all the many, many prayers from all who love me in the form of my lovely and loving wife’s angelic grace and care, and a close second was Shikibu’s love and devotion to me throughout all that BS. Rarely could I leave my chair throughout all that BS, and rarely was Shikibu not by my side throughout all the BS…tucked away snugly, seemingly impossibly so sometimes, between my left hip and the arm of my recliner. Although eternally a puppy in looks and demeanor, she was an elderly lady when the cancer bug got me in 2009, and she was there for me through the worst of it. She died in 2011, not long after we all pretty much realized that I was going to be hanging around a little bit longer after all. She had many serious illnesses herself toward the end but it is my firm belief she held on long enough to know that I was going to be okay. It took me a long time to get over her passing; though I’m not sure that I really am…or ever will be. But recently I had finally reached a point where I was in need of more canine companion.
We knew we wanted a rescue puppy (it had to be a healthy puppy as I have enough issues of my own for my lovely and loving wife to attend to) and we knew we were going to be patient in the process. I did not realize, though, just how patient we’d have to be. I did most of my puppy searching through www.petfinder.com – it’s a very helpful place as it allows targeted search options. Still, I had no idea there are so many dogs in need out there. It took a lot of time. Always getting close, but never getting the cigar, so to speak. We’d find a pup we all could agree only to find that it was either too far away or that someone had just adopted it or any other multitudinous hurdles of a reason. It started to become tedious so we decided that we were going to wait until springtime to continue the search. That way we wouldn’t have to potty train a puppy in the snow. But a couple of days ago I just fired up the link on a whim and right away I came upon “Stella’s Boys” and that was pretty much all she wrote. We found exactly the pup we were looking for…the mostest cutest Plott Hound mix puppies you’ve ever seen
I wanted another hound dog, in honor of Mickey. One son wanted a Retriever for their loyalty and playfulness. And the other son wanted a brindle coated dog because of their unique look and cool name: brindle ~ Brindley …get it? And the wife did not want a horse-sized dog. All these desires came together courtesy of the awesome folks at the Delaware Puppy and Pet Rescue, Inc. Remembering the other pups we lost out on because of delay, I quickly filled out the online Adoption Contract and waited hopefully for the call back, which came on Saturday in the form of an email from Dianne, a hero and angel of a foster mom to the puppies, and many others, saying that we had passed the background check – a call to the references I provided and our local Vet – and invited us to her home to meet with the boys.
Yesterday we made the beautiful two-hour drive to Landenberg, Pennsylvania. If we hadn’t been on such a mission, the wife and I could have easily spent the entire day taking pictures, as the countryside drive was so pleasantly pastoral. But we were on a mission and as soon as we got to Dianne’s home and I saw all the cute puppies, I knew we were coming home with more than one.
And we did. And now I once again have my much needed and appreciated canine companion…thankfully so.
While I can pretty much guarantee you won’t be seeing many more, if any more, pictures of Kero-chan here, I cannot make that same guarantee about the newest members to our family. And while she will always be my bestest of friend and I will forever miss her, I’m pretty sure Shikibu, up in doggy heaven with Mickey, Kipper, Colonel Kish, Juno, and Sebastian, is perfectly okay with that.
Now whether Kero-chan is okay with the invasion…well, that’s a different story.