Introducing the Sad Dad Diaries
Because raising a kid teaches us a lot.
When my kid was a few months old, she exploded in her diaper and needed a change. It wasn't a subtle thing. It was the sort of change that required quick action, like escaping a house on fire or dodging a falling tree. I was listening to The National's High Violet, an album I became enamored with not long after my mom died, when I scooped her up and onto the changing pad.
The National sets a melancholic mood. It's not that their songs are necessarily sad, but there's a somberness to Matt Berninger's vocals, a contemplative hush in many of the Dessner brothers' guitar arrangements that feels like a rainy day or the long cry at the end of a Nicholas Sparks movie. I listened to this as I changed my kid's diaper, the song interrupted only the occasional laughs of my daughter as I wiped her ass. It was one of those moments I couldn't help but note, be humbled by in the ridiculous way being a parent, well, humbles you.
I started this newsletter with the title "i'm getting there" because I saw it as a work in progress, a way to hold myself accountable to writing something new every other week. I didn't know what "there" was, but I knew I needed momentum to explore topics, feelings, and ideas. The things that have stuck with me have been those that forced me to take a step outside myself and consider the larger scope of my experiences and what they might mean to me. Coincidentally (or maybe not), most of these have been moments when my life is ridiculous and hard not to laugh at. Moments like when I’m wiping a kid’s ass while she laughs at me and the crescendo of a song speaks hauntingly about shivered bones and walking with spiders.
This brought me to an idea I had that day with the blowout: the Sad Dad Diaries.
I get bogged down by a lot of what's out there about fatherhood because so much of it reminds me of job performance or quick solutions. Shit, I read an article the other day that suggested setting SMART parenting goals for yourself in 2022. I want there to be a space for honest reflection, both good and bad. I'm not out to give advice or recommend products or God knows what else because honestly, I'm in no way qualified to do so. Instead, I want to think a little more intentionally about how parenting makes us a little more human, how these little moments can take us out of the hustle life's become and re-center us.
With this in mind, I’ll be refocusing this newsletter to share those reflections about raising a kid and balancing work and life and family. I’ll still be sharing the same types of stories or vignettes I have been. I’ll just be thinking a little more deeply about what those tell us about getting by. If this sounds like something you're interested in, awesome. I'm glad you're sticking. If not, no hard feelings. I'll be transitioning this from a biweekly deal to a weekly one, but other than that, you can expect a lot of the same—some book and music recommendations, maybe a laugh or two—just with a little tighter scope.
See y'all next week. Thanks for being along for the ride.