Fatherhood in my forties: WTF?

I’m officially over and done with my thirties. I’m also “surgically sure” I’m done having kids. But with a second-grader and a two-year-old in the house, I’m far from an emancipated empty-nester.

By the time my mom was forty, I was driving. Yet here I am, wiping butts and noses. My hope is that I’ll be done wiping the current generation’s orifices before the latter requires any assistance. It’s weird to think of having kids around the house until I’m into my mid-fifties (at the least, assuming they head out at eighteen and don’t find their way back), but such is the nature of the twenty-first century family, I guess. When you don’t get married until your late twenties, then wait a few years for kids so you can enjoy unencumbered married life, you’re pretty likely to be planning for retirement and paying for college at about the same time.

In some ways, I’m glad to have the years of experience and wisdom under my belt before diving into parenthood. I don’t feel like I missed out on anything. On the contrary, by the time I got to the point in my life when kids came along, I was happy to take a more “philosophical’ approach to late nights and weekends. I also like to think I’ve picked up a few more things along the way that I can pass on to Mattias and Zoe. With age comes wisdom, at least in theory, so hopefully they will benefit from the miles I’ve traveled to get here.

There are down sides though. It’s tougher to be a human rocking horse, or to wrestle two kids at once when my knees and shoulder refuse to cooperate. And it’s pretty pathetic when Amy and I consider it a successful date night when we muster the wherewithal to stay out late enough to come home after both children are asleep.

Fortunately Mattias reassures me – maybe a little bit too often – that I am definitely not old. Granted, some of his classmates have grandparents my age (remember, it’s Pueblo), but to him, I’m exactly the age a dad should be.

It’s a funny feeling, not feeling old really, but definitely not feeling that young either. But a few things are certain:

I won’t be trashing my hipster clothes any time soon.
I still enjoy fart jokes, no matter what.
I understand less and less about what school-age kids talk about, but I also care less that I don’t understand.
I’ve accepted that I am just not going to get carded much any more.
It’s not all bad being called “sir” from time to time.

I’m okay with jumping off of skyscrapers, yet also falling asleep on the couch some nights before ten o’clock. Call it the privilege of entering early middle age. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go jump on the elliptical so I can endure another round of human rocking horse later…

About Christian Piatt

Christian Piatt is the creator and editor of BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE and BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT JESUS. He co-created and co-edits the “WTF: Where’s the Faith?” young adult series with Chalice Press, and he has a memoir on faith, family and parenting being published in early 2012 called PREGMANCY: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date.

  • Richard Johnson

    Congratulations!  As the overworked like from an old beer commercial goes, “it doesn’t get any better than this.”  Interpret that as you will.  :-)


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