Tonight, after dinner with my gracious folks at Papa Felipe’s, I came home and finished reading Dowling’s book, “How to be a Husband”. The ending was as good as the beginning. He goes on to handle the stressors of parenting like he handled the stressors of becoming married- with clumsy and comical commitment.
The book is fantastic for me because it at least covered some of the experiences that are common for most husbands and fathers- dealing with entering the mundane phases of married life, handling home invaders, learning how to argue and lose gracefully to your wife, what sorts of home repair items you should always have at hand at home, what raising small children feels like (endless tiredness), what it was like teaching his oldest how to ride a bike, discovering he was his father to a large extent as a parent, etc. At least if I never experience any of these things myself, he has made the usually unseen raw and unglamorous stuff about married life and parenting pretty clear to me. He covers a lot of the stuff that makes men wonder about masculinity, and about their identity in the modern world of shifting gender roles and rules.
Mostly, he just writes so well. His sentences are constructed seemingly effortlessly, with expensive words appearing at just the right time to give his usual levity decorum and weight, suggesting he works on his words so that he writes well.
It’s a weird moment in life for me. I feel on the verge of passing through a one-way gate soon, no matter how artificial the age of 50 is in reality. It’s a number of significance, and I still live a life much like a 19 year-old kid, presuming there is so much of living ahead of me, when in reality, the aches in my body and the gray in my hair allude to another probability. I feel a bit like I have just been slapped in the face to wake up, and I am yelling the questions that bubble out of my sleeping brain: where am I? How did I get here? How long do I have? What do I need to be doing in my life right now to wring what I can out of what I have left?
Maybe the panic is premature.
Or maybe the nap was just too, too long.
The water running into the filtering tank is always loudly present, though, keeping my simple thoughts hostage when I am here at home.