This is the epitome of their aspirations.
"When I'm a Daddy, I will chew gum."
"When I'm a Daddy, I will find a beautiful wife."
(Between now and then, I'll coach them to reverse the order of those two goals.)
"When I'm a Daddy, I will wear my seatbelt only when I want to."
"When I'm a Daddy, I will eat spicy food."
"When I'm a Daddy, I will take care of you, Mommy."
"When I'm a Daddy, I will stay up late."
They aspire once a day or more, telling me their grandiose plans for mid-life.
And in my mind, I think,
When you're a Daddy, I'll be a Grandma.
When you're a Daddy, you'll understand this consuming love that can strangle your heart with its tentacles.
When you marry the beautiful wife you've imagined, you'll think of your dad. You'll want to love as hard as he did, but you might want to hold back just enough to keep her safe in case she doesn't get to keep you. Don't do it, sweet boy. Give it to her. Just like he did.
When you're a Daddy, if you have two little ones, you'll learn anew how demanding it truly is to keep up with the constant coming and going, needing and giving.
When you're a Daddy, when your son is three, you'll begin to imagine how much your daddy loved you, how much he didn't want to leave you behind.
And if you ever find yourself within the snarling teeth of the black dogs named depression, you'll discover how I pushed myself to the very edge to stay present every single day.
That those swallowing tentacles of love present a vicious fight against the snarling teeth of depression.
When you're a Daddy, you'll begin to know, to understand.
Or you might not. Some things will make the most sense to you right now, before you enter kindergarten.
When you're a Daddy, be a good one.
And let God be yours.