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Archive for the ‘family’ Category

“So, how’s does it feel to be a dad??”

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I’ve never heard that question prior to six weeks and five days ago. Now, it’s all I can do to go a day without being asked that. It doesn’t bother me. I’m sure most people have questions they get asked all the time. Being in a touring band for a good long time you get very used to hearing the same questions all the time and so get used to having your awesome (and always witty) stock answer ready to deploy. I’ve been answering this question since he was born and for the first time with one of these types to questions, I’ve probably answered differently every time I’ve been asked. There’s simply not a good (conversationally short) answer that could really communicate everything I’ve been feeling. This blog is my attempt at really explaining how I feel so far about being a dad.

First, there’s the wide range of emotions. Now, a year ago, after spending some months in counseling I would occasionally make the joke of, “Yeah, counseling is going great. I’m up to four feelings now.” Having a kid has kind of opened the flood gates as far as that’s concerned. I’ve felt things I didn’t know were even possible. Here’s a small sampling of the different feelings I’ve recently experienced:

-Absolute joy at seeing my son for that first time
-The weight of knowing God holds me responsible for him
-Euphoric peace when we take naps together
-Frustration at not being able to figure why he’s crying this time
-Sadness at seeing him cry with his little lower lip quivering
-Immense pride whenever he does anything
-Deeper love than I thought possible watching my wife be such an amazing mother to him
-Out and out rage towards my father for choosing anything else than what I get to experience with my son
-Curiosity about what my son is going to be like as he grows up
-Surprised at how much I’m not grossed out by all his bodily functions that need constant attention
-Sheer unadulterated exhaustion

That’s just a sampling and it’s already more than double my previous number of feelings.

Before having my son, I would ask new dads all the time what it felt like to be a dad and a recurring theme was them saying that there’s no words that can do it justice; that it was so intense they couldn’t really explain it. Being on this side of it now, I think I understand what they meant by that.

Do you know what white noise is? Or the snowy static that used to come on old analog TV’s? It’s not really the absence of a certain picture or frequency, it’s actually every frequency on display at once. The TV static is every light frequency at once and white noise is every audio frequency all at once. Part of the reason it’s been so hard to accurately tell people how it feels to be a dad is because of the number of emotions involved. The hardest thing to explain is that I’ve literally felt every emotion I’m capable of feeling all at the same time all the time. It is, in a very real sense, a constant white noise of emotions.

I think I have my witty stock answer for when people ask me that now.

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Written by matt

August 28, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Reflections on a Father’s Day

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(I wrote this late Sunday night, but haven’t gotten to finish it until today.)

I really wanted to have a great blog post for Father’s Day. It’s been my entire life that I’ve seen this day as something that I’m left out of, and this year is the first one that I’ve gotten to celebrate. Despite the fact that it started out with so much promise, it ended with a bit of a letdown.

This was the first Father’s day that I really feel like I got to celebrate instead of doing my usual reflections on my abandonment issues. My lovely, nine-months-pregnant wife made me breakfast this morning and really went out of her way to emphasize how much of a great dad she thinks I’ll be. She knows what this day has meant to me previously and what it gets to mean to me now. I even (coincidentally) got a very welcome surprise phone call from my sister. It turns out one of my brothers is also expecting a baby only a few weeks after me. Lastly, I had a show tonight and that always puts me in a good mood.

About halfway through the four hour drive though the day took kind of a weird left turn. I’ll spare you the gritty details, but suffice it to say that there were many phone calls and frantic text messages with a few more (likely) uncomfortable phone calls in my near future.

I tend to be a “live and let live” kind of guy for the most part. The phone calls will be uncomfortable for me because it’s the opposite of that, but it’s for the good of myself, my wife, and very soon, my son. And it’s just not fair. It has so little to do with me and I don’t want to do it and I shouldn’t have to.

That’s the trick, though, isn’t it?

The more I learn about what it means to be a man and a father, the more I hate that I would much rather just let things go at the risk of those things negatively affecting my family. I’m beginning to understand on so much a different level of what it means to sacrifice for your family and to lead and protect those who God places under you. This isn’t to excuse them, but I’m even better understanding why so many men just check out of the whole thing: it’s really freaking hard.

I’m not gonna check out though. The first reason is accountability, meaning everyone who reads this gets to administer a very serious ass kicking if I ever do check out. Another reason is that is that I’m already beginning to feel rewarded by doing the occasional really tough thing. I get to look at my wife and see how much she loves and trusts me, and one day I may get to see that from my son.

Written by matt

June 19, 2011 at 11:53 pm

day of the dad

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fathers day. or, as it’s been better known throughout my life, “national abandonment day.” here’s a little factoid for you: more phone calls are made on fathers day than any other day of the year. being that half of all marriages end in divorce, I’m pretty sure that the reason for all the phone calls is because half of the country doesn’t live with their father at home. another odd little thing about fathers day is that while a tie or coffee mug seems like an appropriate gift for dad, a spa weekend or week of maid service is a good mothers day gift. kinda makes it seem like even the dads that are at home aren’t really worth but so much. that’s actually pretty sad to me. dads, on behalf of kids who don’t know any different, thanks for sticking around.
by now, it shouldn’t really surprise anyone that the whole subject of fatherhood is kind of a touchy thing for me. in my journey so far I’ve had to come to terms with what I didn’t have growing up. honestly, it’s been pretty painful to go through. I think I’ve kind of come out on the other side of that though. the first stage to any growth is realizing what you’re lacking. but it’s not growth if it stops there. I know what I missed, and in the process discovered what should have been there. now, it’s time for me to move on.
all this time I’ve focused a lot on earthly things. in that, there’s not a lot of hope. but as I’ve said before on this blog, hope is the key and God is the difference. it’s only been very recently that i’ve been able to think about God as a father. that term never made a ton of sense to me, but i knew what it was trying to convey. it’s that God provides for us and takes care of us and watches out for us like a good father should. it’s in learning what a good father is really like and mentally preparing to become one myself some day that’s shown me the kind of father that God longs to be in our lives. a good father knows when their child is ready for certain challenges and how to equip them to overcome those challenges. a good father loves to freely give gifts to his children. maybe most importantly, a good father lets their children know that they are his beloved and can offer them an identity because of who he is. that’s what I want to be for my kids someday, and I’m learning more and more that I get to have my heavenly father be that for me.
so here it is, the first father’s day I get to really celebrate. not for myself, but for my real father. the father that my earthly one should have been modeling for me and introduced me to.
thank you, God, for being who you are and offering to me what no other person could. I’m immensely excited for what you’re showing me and challenging me to become. even more than that, God, I’m thankful that you’ve shown me that you love me as a true father loves his beloved son.

Written by matt

June 21, 2009 at 5:20 pm

2008

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the year is just about over. just shy of three hours from now until it’s officially 2009. looking back on the year, it’s hard for me not to be pessimistic about what 2009 has to offer. 2008 started off so well and then began a slow decline, and so far, this night seems to be a very fitting end to cap it off with. the biggest thing I’m struggling with is in terms of my career. I’m one of many I’m sure, but this is a new thing for me and I’m kind of starting to really freak out about it. and now that I’ve written about the more depressing parts, I can try to focus on the good things that happened this year. most importantly, I can take solace in the fact that I have a clearer idea of who God is which I think will lead to a closer and more meaningful relationship. secondly, I think that me and my wife have built an even firmer foundation for our marriage, and that we’re understanding each other much more clearly. and lastly, I’m really enjoying the friendships I’ve recently made or grown at my church. it’s nice to know that my church has a lot of quality people there and that there’s more I haven’t even met yet. so, 2008, you weren’t exactly a banner year for me, but once again I’m going to let hope be a deciding factor about 2009

Written by matt

December 31, 2008 at 9:18 pm

25 (pt. 2)

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my birthday is wednesday. every year for the two weeks or so leading up to my birthday, i get a little depressed. one of the reasons for this i think is that, with a couple exceptions, my birthdays are pretty consistently disappointing. i always feel so selfish, then consequently guilty about it. like if i want to plan something big that’s all about me i can’t help but feel selfish about it. but conversely, if i go the opposite way and don’t want to do anything at all, i feel like if i had friends that would want to celebrate my birthday with me that i was being selfish for not giving an opportunity for that happen. the other reason i get depressed near my birthday is because it’s a reminder that i am, in fact, aging. and i don’t believe that i’ve come to terms with my mortality. although i’ve known that for a little while now, i’ve never known exactly why.

i was at barnes and noble tonight and started reading a book about writers needing courage to write. it said that one of the fears writers have is that of writing about their own experiences. i don’t really have that fear when it comes to writing. i do, however, fear that i think of myself as a writer (sorta) and that once people read my stuff will disagree with me. anyway. as i was reading about that i started thinking about what i know from my own life. it’s not much, but i’ve really had to focus a lot of my inward development on the fact that i grew up without a dad. i started wondering if not having a dad could have affected my views on death and aging. at first it felt like i was just grasping at straws, but a couple of dots got connected for me. for example, there hasn’t been an older guy in my life that i’ve really seen age. the occasional male role models i’ve had never really stuck around long enough. so i haven’t seen a man cross that point from knowing their strength into watching their strength fail as time takes its toll. my grandpa was already an older man by the time i was born, so i haven’t been witness to a man growing in wisdom as they approach the age my father would be. i haven’t seen a full head of hair go completely gray, i haven’t watched a man go from father to grandfather, and i haven’t seen a man leave this world when it was his time.

i know that death and aging are as natural as living. i had to learn to start living as a man without the direct influence of a father. now i think it’s time to learn how to get older as a man.

side note: this wednesday, 6:30 at joe’s sushi. birthday dinner, all are welcome

Written by matt

April 22, 2008 at 1:38 am

sad day

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well updates are going to be difficult for a little bit here. i took my computer in last night to the apple store and won’t have it back for at least a week. I was getting little electrical shocks every once in a while and figured that might be a good enough reason to send it in. So I’m writing this on my iPhone, hence the random capitalization. Also it makes putting pictures up much more difficult. So you’ll just have to wait for more pictures of me and amanda’s little trip to new york

Written by matt

February 24, 2008 at 2:04 pm

Posted in computer woes, family

babe: pig in the city [redux]

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a couple of you might remember the first time i used that title for a post. me and amanda took a few days for ourselves after i got done working on recording. so we came into new york city yesterday and are having a mini-vacation. i don’t know how much of a genius you have to be to want to stay in new york in the middle of february, but that’s how smart we are. it’s cold here, but that in no way diminishes any of the beauty or grandeur of this place. i know i’m glamorizing it, but i don’t care. the first thing me and amanda did today was go to rockefeller center. because 1. we’re tourists and 2. it’s awesome. we went to the top of the building and got a pretty good view of this whole island. here’s a picture looking towards upper manhattan. you can see all of central park and, past that, harlem.

here’s a shot facing lower manhattan. directly in front is the empire state building. if you look real hard, you might be able to see the statue of liberty on the right side waaaay in the back.

and then a really cool shot of my and amanda at the top.

if you want better description of the day’s events, check out amanda’s blog

and for the record, the recording went way better than i even hoped. we had the goal of tracking five songs in two weeks and ended up recording ten. there’s one that will probably never see the light of day and that might be for the best. all in all though, it was great to record in the place we did and with the people we did and i’m really looking forward to seeing how it all turns out

Written by matt

February 18, 2008 at 8:54 pm

Posted in family, on the road