I Am Dad

705_3507025I am…Dad, Dad?, DAD!

Informal. A male parent:

SO, that is who I am? OK, I am a male parent. I accept that. Now that I know, it is much easier to navigate my life.

I used to think “dad” was a guy that yelled at me for being out too late, getting bad grades, being rude to my mom, and not trying hard enough in sports. Dad worked 80 hours a week, came home and slept and ate. I often found myself waiting for him to come home to hear what I did wrong THIS TIME. He loved me. His spankings were harder than moms. His mottos were: “Pray for wisdom”, “The choices we make dictate the lives we lead”, and “One ah-$hit kills 1000 Addaboys.”

Then, I began to see “dad” was a guy that married and had children with his wife and got to see his kids be born in a delivery room and feed them and change diapers and get puked on. He took 1000 pictures of them and put that thing on the shopping cart because they were covered in germs. He insisted they were 6 months old, but they wore size 12 mos. shirts because they were really big kids. He watched them learn to walk and talk and eat and have first birthdays and they loved dad, they knew dad, He was DADDY!

Then, I learned “dad” was the guy with the other house they went to a few days a week. Dad had to be cool because, well, he missed them the days he didn’t have them. He made sure to never miss a first day of school, or a program, or birthday. He would never be late and would always pay for anything they needed. Dad had to have a pool where he lived because mom had a pool where she lived. Dad had to have one of everything he was sure he purchased once already, but knew they loved it and needed it all when they were at his house, too. He worked 80 hours a week to make it all happen. Dad was always there, even when you didn’t see him.

Then, it seems “dad” meets someone and becomes another type of “dad”. I became BJ, “the step-dad”. BJ is like a dad because he does dad-like things, but is called by his first name by the kids. BJ has limited authority, but is viewed as an adult. BJ never experienced this kind of guy in his life growing up. BJ is also still dad to some kids, but not all the kids in his house. BJ could be one kind of dad to two kids and a different type to the other two kids, but is responsible for all four kids. It’s like buying a TV that you really enjoy, but someone else works the remote (like when someone HAS to watch a marathon of Dance Moms). They love BJ and at the same time seem to blame BJ for their dad not being in the house. They want BJ there, but they want their dad, too. This step-dad/dad gets hurt a lot for people he loves and knows it isn’t about pride…it’s all about love and being a modern “male” parent.

kidsDad works hard and commutes all over the city to pay the bills for his family that calls him Daddy and BJ. He shops for those special snacks, he plays sports in the garage, he has to keep unclogging the bathroom drains of long hair from the girls. He pumps up bike tires and buys used scooters at garage sales and takes the wheels off and stores them for a quick pit repair. He mows the lawn and hangs pictures. He fixes skinned knees and hurt feelings. He offers advice and is a voice of reason. He drives to dance and sits in those chairs and listens to “mom” problems. He hauls hockey bags and dresses hockey players and stands in the freezing rink and sends videos to mom (who is sitting at home, nice and warm) only to next help get the gear off the sweaty hockey players and let me tell you, those pads stink more than anything on earth! Dad will sing and cook three different dinners for every type of diet. Dad will take care of everyone no matter where they came from.

He will also sit and read with the kids that claim they can’t read the word “run” for the 100th time in the SAME STORY! He has to address report cards and kids coming home on yellow. He has to punish kids and be the bad guy. He has to say, “Go to your room”, “Give me that I-pad”, “Stop killing your sister in Minecraft”, and “Stop hitting him/her.” He will be told, “You are not my dad” and “I wish I was at mom’s house”.

There are so many dads. Each is unique. This is the dad that I am today. I am proud of what I learn every day and know I have more to learn. I am a dad that needs that “World’s Best Dad” shirt to remind everyone (just in case they forget). I am excited to share with readers all of the hats that I currently wear and see what “dad” I discover next.

BJ Witkopf

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BJ Witkopf

BJ Witkopf

Divorced dad of 2, live with my girlfriend with her 2 kids I am an active dad that is involved in everything the kids do. I make time where there isn't any and don't miss a thing. We play hockey and soccer and dance. I am trying to learn to be an artist and writer and dad and good employee all at the same time. it isn't always easy but in the end everyone is happy.