By Dan Brosgol
On May 15 we had our fifth kid.
That’s not a typo.
Having five kids is countercultural—after all, we aren’t religious, or rich—but I guess we’re just old school. Since a rainy day in August 2003 when my oldest arrived, to last week when the newest one said hello, a lot has happened. Two new cars, a new house, a handful of new jobs, three Red Sox championships, countless iPhones, Barack Obama…you get it.
So, with one eye looking forward to my 11th Father’s Day, and with one nostalgic eye looking back, here are 11 clever-ish fatherly observations, one for each year.
I can’t remember what it was like having ONE kid. I mean, I definitely remember his birth, the joy, the first time I blessed him on Friday night, but really, what was it like only worrying about getting one kid dressed and out of the house? For all of our stress about it, compared to today, it must have been a breeze.
No TWO kids are alike. All of my kids are uniquely interesting, different, amazing and challenging.
Going from two to three kids was very easy. And after two boys, a girl was remarkable and completely different. And I mean different from the very beginning. But now, having THREE girls is going to be interesting. I’m officially outnumbered.
It would be nice to have FOUR bedrooms, but where do we live, Indianapolis? We’re going to pack them in and love every cramped minute of it until we inherit a few million dollars (unlikely), I get a very high-paying job in Jewish education (equally unlikely), or until the housing market in Bedford cools down (laughably unlikely). I guess we’re staying put.
I’ve found it hard to work on friendships while in the middle of parenting young kids, but I am lucky to have FIVE dear friends who I can always rely on. I love my kids, and my wife, but everyone needs friends out of the house whom they can talk to. They’re a nice mix of lifelong friends, fellow coaches and runners, and other parents, and I’m deeply appreciative of them.
Among the things I love best about being a dad is coaching sports. This year marks year number SIX of coaching baseball, and it gets more and more exciting each year. Juxtaposing this year’s 10- to 11-year-old league next to the seasons of tee-ball and coach-pitch is remarkable.
There are exactly SEVEN seats in our Dodge Grand Caravan. It’s pretty tight in there, with the car seat industrial complex mandating bigger and costlier car seats for more and more years, but for now, it hold us. Barely.
We used to run the dishwasher every third day, maybe every other day. But now, unless I’m on top of doing the breakfast dishes every morning, that blessed/infernal appliance is running at least EIGHT times a week. Not that I don’t love the dishwashing part of the equation, but I hate emptying it. That will be the next thing I delegate to the soon-to-be sixth-grader.
Yes, girls are different from boys. My sons could probably wear the same Under Armour sweatshirts for NINE straight days and not think twice (I get that). On the other hand, my oldest daughter probably goes through nine outfits a day, and I find them all strewn out on her floor each evening.
When our second child was born, I went back to work after TEN days at home. I remember leaving the house being so worried about how it was going to go (I’m not sure why, exactly). But in a picture my wife sent me to make sure I wasn’t worrying too much—which remains one of my favorites ever—big brother is protectively cuddling and spooning the baby, both of them fast asleep on the couch.
I vividly remember being ELEVEN years old. It was 1989; I began middle school and had awful hair. I wasn’t popular, I wasn’t cool, and I was really into Indiana Jones. As I look at my oldest, who will turn 11 this summer, I realize how precious these years are, and how on the inside he’s probably already beginning to start tuning me out and growing into a young man and not a little anxious kid. Part of me can’t wait to see him go out and become his own person, and part of me is worried, but overall I can’t wait to see who he becomes.
And a final P.S., because many of you are probably wondering about this question (my mother, in particular): “So, are you done?”
I guess we’ll just have to see.