Or, simply a non-father on fatherhood.
Thanks Latham. After reading y’all’s I knew I had to take the bar higher. ☺️
I appreciate your words about my essay. I found your essay so incredible and thought-provoking. Can’t wait for the next group theme project. 🙏
Thanks Bowen! So psyched to be a part of the group.
I’m taken by your comments on OPKs and parents knowing more somehow.
You need a license to drive but there’s no qualification for parenting. You just suddenly are one. Some are good at it...many aren’t. I guess it’s like anything else, you’re good at what you direct your focus on. Many people are chronically distracted in life and therefore in parenting as well. No judgement. It is what it is: life.
Whereas a father’s duties could be assumed and performed and understand more easily."
Whereas a father’s duties could be assumed and performed and understood more easily.
I felt like I was meant to read this today. Thanks for sharing your story. Biological kids or not, you've clearly left a solid legacy on the earth through those important, loving relationships you've carefully built and nurtured.
Well done as always my friend.
I too always saw myself having kids when I was growing up, but by the time I got to my 40’s, divorced and with a new partner who said she didn’t want kids, I had to let that vision go. I actually got comfortable with it and then, because this is how the universe works, we ended up having a son! Being a father has grounded me in a way that nothing else ever did.
I love seeing you surrounded by your family. Father or not. Doesn’t matter. When I was traveling heavily with a band, we were all older, some with kids, some without, but either way one of our core values as a group was family first!
Great read. Thanks man
Hey Dee, I so enjoyed this read and love your style of storytelling.
I appreciated the aspects of vulnerability weaved through this too.
I love Gabor Matè’s work also.
The photo of your nieces all behind you brought a smile to my face.
Well done Dee! Writing about parents or parenting is a challenge.
As the saying goes it only takes one person to change the life of a child and that person doesn't have to be their parent. In your case, it was your Dad but you are creating change in the lives of your nieces and the kids you work with in the recovery program. You are also giving all those gorgeous doggies a mighty fine life that they may not have had otherwise.
Reading the part about your nieces brought me to tears. I had many uncles in my life and a few of them were there for me in ways that no one else was. They were mentors in areas that my parents just didn't have going on and I will never forget that. It looks like that's what you're offering to your beautiful family.
Thanks for your contribution in this great series, I'm halfway through it.
Dee-- Thanks for bringing us home with this powerful piece. When I first saw the part of your draft I thought it was good. But what it became. Damn nice work.
"I do know that I have witnessed both wonderful and despicable examples of fatherhood up close and personally."
I think all too many of us have. When I read that I couldn't help but think of communal child-raising, where entire villages would band together to raise the children. Instead, we assume only the atomic family can raise their child, and we don't bother teaching them how to do it. The first time I'd ever seen how to deal with a tantruming child was shortly after I had my son. I wish there were more role models like you to help show new parents what it means to be a great father.
I love the family reunions your parents started hosting. The simple act of a celebration, together, every year, is so powerful. Coming together intentionally, especially when life is busy and it doesn't feel important. You're so lucky to have that opportunity. And I'm glad you do.
The other thread that really hit home was that your dad could intervene in your addiction. I don't suspect a lot of dads would know how to do that, and to have your dad there to help you when you needed it speaks volumes. I also think about that scene in the context of social media, when so many parents feel at a loss to intervene. I know parents who know the dangers but tell themselves it's either that or fight their kids and their kids' friends. It's really hard, even as the evidence and the action is actually simple.
Thank you for sharing this my friend.
So many powerful threads here. Your relentless work travel makes me think about how difficult is for fathers to have it all -- in a way, the world forced you to choose. So when we contribute to a work culture that is more flexible (hybrid, remote) and that encourages more people to take the vacation time that they earn, we are supporting participatory fatherhood as well as career opportunities for mothers.
But I mostly wanted to second David's point in his restack about how important a role you play in the lives of your nieces. One of my aunts is enough like a mother to me that I send her flowers on Mother's Day. Sometimes the relatives we see ourselves in most are not our parents. I like how our definition of fatherhood has expanded throughout this project. Thanks for running the final leg of this race!
Well done, Dee! There is no doubt in my mind that you would have been a great father! In the meantime, keep being the "best uncle", loving caretaker of your pups and mate to Ann. Keep up the great writing!
Dee—I'm so glad to read this great piece from you to wrap up our series. Thank you.
"as close as I ever got" -- uff, yeah, I feel you there. Man, I didn't quite have the same vision for myself as a father early on, but I did come close a few times. I'm grateful for all of those relationships but there's still some regret there in that I too know that I could have been a great father. I'm relieved just about every day that I'm not, but when that feeling comes up in me, I know there's more there. No matter how much I'd like to, I just don't get to do everything in this one life.
"on a mission to consume love and attention" and "I was gone. All the time" -- Well said, my friend, well said. Same here. Even though I've hardly gotten on a plane this year, and I've only been away six weeks (van trips; very little for me!), many of my friends still know me as the guy who's always in motion, always away, always coming back from somewhere. I used to cherish that as part of my identity, and I'm still proud that "I've been most places," but I'm really really enjoying being in one place more these days. It's a relief ain't it? ...even though, my 32nd birthday, for example, that was a good one... began with a blowout Madrid, stopped in New York for a steak at Peter Luger that turned into an all-nighter, flew on home to SF the next day on two hours sleep with a world-class hangover but, by the time I arrived, I was able to continue the party. I don't want to repeat that, but I don't mind having it in the memory banks.
your dad's intervention! Wow. That's a story to tell, for sure. Nobody asked—or said anything to me, not even the therapist that I saw for ten years. We all have to learn our own lessons, for sure, but for fuck's sake.. really. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on "saying something" and how. Perhaps another piece there.
Something that's been coming up for me lately is that... nothing about having kids that makes one a better father—especially not at the start, but also, not necessarily even farther along. Seems obvious enough, but of course we assume that people with kids somehow magically know (more about) what they're doing in a way that those of us that don't, don't. My experience has been that when I'm with OPK (other people's kids), the impulse and instinct to father comes up clearly, immediately, and naturally. Obviously, not as much as it would if they were my kids! But it does, for sure, and man, lately, it's been good practice for me. Practice in the sense of how everything is a practice, and in that we learn from practice. It's been challenging, and very much a learning experience.
I never thought I'd be a bachelor or the uncle with no kids either, but here we are — and, life is good.
Thanks again for writing, and for joining us.
By the way, here's an earlier piece of mine on "why" I don't have children of my own:
Thank you Donna. Your words always bring ☺️
I’m doing the best I can, like we all do every day 🙏
I've used this science workbook for years successfully but now I'm stuck without a partner...
see p13,12 "Now for the cool part. Ask a friend or family member (or your therapist if you’re in
treatment) to help you with a Devil’s Advocate role-play...Ask the other person to play the role "
Does anyone within your "Band of 6 Dads" know anyone I could compensate to help rescue kids victimized by Zuck, Musk, etc?
We're trying to get some of the $50 billion Opioid Settlements to target "at risk" Gen Z, etc
We're The New Nader's Raiders 😁... not to mention my "addiction" to oxytocin, etc
The US Senate's Dr Haidt's The 3 Great Untruths that Gen Z believes that are dooming Gen Z and democracy ... are derived from CBT... The Utah ban on social media was attributed to Dr Haidt's work with the Governor .... Dr Haidt's Braver Angels has 15,000... Dr Haidt's Hxa has3,000 member Professors ... Dr Haidt's Let Grow.org supports sunsetting laws restricting kids, etc
"They have hiked to the top of 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado, taken cross-country road trips, slept in my bed, swum daily in my pools, and accompanies?????? me everywhere."