After we had our son, Lyric, in 2008, several parents told me I wouldn’t know what true parenting was until we had a second.
In January, my wife, Jess, and I celebrated the birth of our daughter, Aria. It didn’t take long after we arrived home from the hospital for me to learn just what those veteran parents meant.
We thought life got tough when Lyric arrived. We had no idea! The constant chaos, the screams, the boo-boos … Some days, the fact that we make it to bedtime with all our fingers and toes in tact seems like an accomplishment all on its own.
So this Thanksgiving, I offer this list of 50 reasons why I, as a father, am thankful this year.
1. The way a stray Hot Wheel or Thomas the Tank Engine finds its way under the arch of my bare foot.
2. That weird brown gunk that accumulates daily on Aria’s seat at the dinner table.
3. Our failing attempts to potty train Lyric.
4. The many, many, many pieces required just to make Aria’s bottle.
5. Those unfortunate moments when you inhale just as the air escapes a full Diaper Genie.
6. How everything in the house progressively gets placed higher as the kids learn to stand.
7. Typing with one hand because one (or both) of the kids demands your attention on deadline.
8. The gamble we make each and every time we try to go out to eat with the kids.
9. Boogers, snot or drool on the shoulder of my shirt — especially right before I’m heading out the door.
10. When one of them wakes up at one in the morning.
11. Aria’s smile.
12. The way static makes Lyric’s hair stand on end as he zooms down a slide at the park.
13. The way Aria loves to explore her surroundings.
14. Lyric’s fascination with tunnels, ambulances and the moon.
15. When one of them wakes up at two in the morning.
16. The power of Time Out.
17. The naptime that never happened.
18. How sibling rivalry already has begun.
19. The pack mule my wife becomes any time we try to go, well, anywhere.
20. When one of them wakes up at three in the morning.
21. Both Lyric’s and Aria’s fascination with drums, drum sticks and cymbals.
22. Lyric snoring.
23. The way Aria says “Uh-oh.”
24. Lyric’s love of books.
25. When one of them wakes up at four in the morning.
26. Carpet cleaner.
27. When Aria sneezes with a mouthful of peas.
28. The rare occasion we forget Lyric’s prized stuffed animal at school.
30. When one of them wakes up at five in the morning.
31. How Lyric knows how to use an iPhone better than my mom.
32. When people say Aria looks like her Daddy.
33. When people say Lyric looks like his Daddy.
34. The ridiculous way Lyric flails his arms when he runs.
35. When, after waking up at one, two, three, four and five in the morning, one of them decides 6 a.m. is the perfect time for the day to begin.
36. Holding both kids at the same time.
37. Finding Aria’s ticklish spot.
38. Reading Lyric his bedtime stories.
39. The smell of Aria’s head right after her bath.
40. The way Lyric wraps his arms around my neck when he’s scared.
41. Those fleeting moments when both kids play peacefully together.
42. The way Lyric mispronounces the word “hen” when we sing “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe.”
43. The way Aria dances to music.
44. The sight of both kids asleep in the car.
45. Aria’s laugh.
46. Lyric’s laugh.
47. The times when Lyric exclaims, “Daddy’s here!” when I come home from work.
48. The memories of each of their births.
49. Hoping I am a good enough father for these amazing kids.
50. And last, but certainly not least, I am thankful for my wife, Jess, with whom I get to share all these and more.
From all of us at The East County Observer, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!