Frazzled Fathers: You Are Not Alone

Elijah alone at glacierMy day gig took me South this week for an assignment that’s embargoed, secretive and oh, so hush hush.

You’ll never make me talk, but I will say I got the chance to swap stories with many fathers of young children along the way. Intellectually speaking, I understand I’m not the only father dealing with potty training fails, tantrums and other alleged joys of raising toddlers. Yet the emotional takeaway from my trip was profound.

I am not alone.

It’s something lost in our text message society, an era when we’re more likely to nod our heads over a clever Facebook post than really bond with a fellow father. I mean looking into a dad’s eyes and seeing the humor, the frustration and, ultimately, the love expressed when they recount another toddler nightmare scenario.

The fathers I met had children roughly the same age as our sons Elijah (four) and Benjamin (two), which made the connection all the more profound. They’re processing their life stories in a creative fashion, and in a way this blog is my attempt at doing just that.

Luckily, I also just joined a parents group via the excellent Meetup.com that will give me a regular chance to connect with fellow dads. The group, which organizes outdoor events designed for the whole family, recently gathered some Denver-area clans to visit St. Mary’s Glacier. The gorgeous vista, located near Idaho Springs, Colo., took only an hour’s drive to reach.

The boys loved every step of the hike en route to the glacier, and it was oddly comforting to find mounds of snow near the path. The hike gave us the chance to introduce the boys to a new outdoor activity while the parents commiserated on toddler tales.

We are not alone.

Do you need flesh and blood connections to help process the tougher parts of parenthood? More importantly, have today’s fathers cast aside the stoic demeanor that marked past generations to make those exchanges possible?

 

 

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