I was truly blessed as a child. I had the great fortune to grow up comfortably in a two-parent home and was surrounded by extended family. Growing up, I didn’t always appreciate what I had and I certainly didn’t understand how blessed my childhood was until I became a father myself. But it wasn’t the stability or security that made my childhood blessed, helpful though they were — it was an abundance of quality time spent with my dad. Boys’ trips to the Christmas tree farm and the occasional trip to New Orleans for a Saints game highlighted my upbringing and provided an example for me to follow when my children arrived. With such great memories from my own life, there is no reason my four-year-old son and two-year-old daughter cannot enjoy the benefits of solo outings with Dad.
Momma works hard. My wife stays home with our toddlers in a full-time job that is every bit as demanding as my own. So when she takes a girls’ night, goes to book club, or simply needs a nap, Netflix can entertain the kids or I can. Whether we tackle a honey-do item, play in the park, or go out to eat, my kids and I thoroughly enjoy our time out and about. It’s not always pretty as my toddlers, like most, are sometimes difficult. One time on a honey-do trip my son pulled the fire alarm in Lowe’s — not our finest hour (although I blame them for having the switch so low). Most of our outings, however, go carefree. We laugh, we play; I teach them about Drew Brees and LeBron James and in return, they keep me on my toes and my phone in my pocket. If I had to choose (and hopefully they’d agree), our favorite thing to do when Momma takes a much-needed break is find a fun place to eat.
Eating with my kids, like everything else, is a challenge. Sometimes they eat, sometimes not so much. Depending on the restaurant there are a number of distractions keeping them from their plates and good behavior. My son ensures the drinks get ordered (me a craft beer and him half lemonade/half water) and my daughter makes sure we all have crayons. Some nights I’m shoving food in my face as fast as possible (in order to referee) and some nights I barely finish my meal (after playing referee). We always manage to sneak a smile from our server, though. After dinner we go for a walk or find a park; one night we bought Momma a dress. If nothing else, it’s never boring. It is truly a great feeling seeing people smile my way while out with my kids, acknowledging and appreciating the effort I put into my children.
My wife took me and the kids to see Incredibles 2 at a local theater for Father’s Day. While waiting for snacks and popcorn we saw a man wearing a shirt that said, “World’s Best Farter…I mean Father.” Apparently, a small slice of society thinks placing fathers alongside an excretory function is worth some cheap laughs. Dads allow comparisons like that every time we choose to merely babysit our kids instead of enjoying them. I intend to be more and for that reason, it’s important people see me in public with my children. It’s more important that when people see me in public with my kids, they see me doing a good job and they see me having fun.
Meet our guest dad blogger, William Hessell
William is originally from Gulfport, Mississippi and currently a Surface Warfare Officer in the US Navy. He is stationed for the second time in Newport, RI and lives in Portsmouth with his wife of five years and their four-year-old son and two-year-old daughter. The Navy has brought William all over the world, having lived in San Diego, Jacksonville, and Bahrain in addition to visiting over 30 countries. Outside of the Navy, William enjoys fighting with his Big Green Egg, projects in and out of the house, basketball, crossword puzzles, live music, and all things New Orleans Saints. He never says no to a new adventure, especially relating to his children. William is incredibly passionate about fatherhood and the influence fathers have in the lives of their children and he hopes to spread that message through his writing.