Raising a Son: How Disappointments Led to Joy

I wanted to title this post, “Date Your Son Too” but Brooke thought it was weird.  She’s my in house editor.

Daddy | Daughter dates are all the rage.  And they should be.  Dads should date their daughters.  I’ve written about that before.

But if you have a son, he needs one on one time with his dad too. And not simply doing the things that you like.

Our son, Silas, is four.

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He’s into sticks, bugs and worms.  He likes baseball a little bit.  Couldn’t care less about most other sports.  Fishing is his kind of thing.

He loves words we never let his older sisters say.  Fart.  Butthole.  Wiener.

There are rocks of every size crammed in the pockets of his pants.  His fingernails are constantly filled with dirt.

He wears shoes without socks.  And jeans without underwear.

He’s the most tender child we have, yet he’s the only boy.

He lights us up with his kindness and laughter.

There are days when I want him to care more about dribbling a basketball.  Or knowing the meaning of 1st and 10.  Or how to field a grounder.  Why?  Because that’s the stuff I did growing up.

But Silas would rather hunt crickets.  Or dig with a shovel.  Or even color a picture.

And in my journey of being his dad, I’m learning that he’d rather have me there doing those things with him.  It’s more fulfilling to me too instead of secretly wishing we were doing something I liked more.

Recently, our beloved (and formerly hopeless) Kansas City Royals went on an unexpected postseason run. All the way to the World Series. Silas would watch bits and pieces of the games while they were on.

He paid enough attention to know who the enemy was, the Giants. Specifically Hunter Pence (or Hummus Pence as he calls him now due to this gem).

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He also paid enough attention to identify a hero in his mind. Lorenzo Cain became his favorite player.

A few days after the heartbreaking end of the World Series, out of the blue Silas challenged me to a sword fight. He told me I had to be Hummus Pence and he was Lorenzo Cain. “First one to seven stabs wins dad”.

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There is real joy that comes when your son is fully alive. Lit up about the things he cares most about.

When he was born, after having three daughters before him, I had all these thoughts and dreams about the way it would be to raise a son.

First catch in the backyard.  Tailgating before a Mizzou football game.  Throwing a frisbee on the beach.  My plans, my dreams.

Some of these have already come true, some may never happen.  And when I’m candid, there have been hints of disappointment or frustration that he’s not exactly what I thought he’d be.  Not into many sports, not as tough.  Whatever.

But I’m learning it is so much better when I lay down my plans.  And lean into the young man he’s becoming.

I’m glad I’m starting to swing more swords and less bats. Collect more bugs instead of baseball cards.

Because that’s one small way I can show Silas how much he means to me and truly enjoy the boy he is.

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