I’ll admit, I don’t always feel like I have a handle on fatherhood. That initial shock I felt as I drove Bear Bait home from the hospital – you know, that terrifying realization that they just gave an infant to me without so much as a background check or competency quiz – hasn’t fully gone away. At least with Bear Bait, I recognize enough of my own personality and emotional framework in him that I feel like I have a foothold in knowing how to raise him. With Squirrel, who the hell knows.
Unless you’ve seen ’em, it is hard to explain how different they are when they’re out in the woods with me. Or maybe how different I am when I’m out in the woods with them.
They’re so focused on how amazing and new and potentially maiming everything is out there that I wonder if they even remember I’m around. At the same time, I’m so hyper-focused on them (especially Squirrel) that I sometimes forget how amazing and new everything is around me.
Bear Bait, who still won’t go into a dark closet by himself, is fearless sleeping in an open hammock deep in the middle of the wilderness with coyotes howling and the symphony of insects and night creatures. They feel safe, I guess, because what bad can happen if Dad is around?
One of the things I admire most about Kat is how laid back he is about everything, especially when it comes to letting his boys explore. I’m the one blurting out half-formed cautions as the boys clamber over a rock wall. They seem to know when to listen, or maybe I just know when to say it loud enough to be heard. Be careful. . don’t fall. . watch your step. . use both hands . . don’t get too far. . when what I really mean is run, go, climb, laugh, fly. . .
(and bring me with you)