So there’s this episode of How I Met Your Mother where Marshall has a conversation with his late father and he uses some sort of metaphor of driving on a foggy road with fatherhood. Marshall talks about how as a kid it was always comforting to wake up on the trips and see his dad awake and seemingly confident navigating the roads. He questions how his father was able to do it, and his father reveals that he was full of trepidation as he drove through roads he really couldn’t see.
There was some comedy thrown in, but the metaphor itself sticks. I’ll admit that it caught me off guard; I wasn’t expecting a parenting moment like this from the show despite its name.
If I’m being honest, I feel like I am driving down the same road that Marshall’s dad was. I’m trusting my instruments, I’m using my lights, but I’d be a fool to say that I see everything. I’d be a fool to think that I know every twist, bump and dead-end in the road of parenting.
Navigating fatherhood means …
If I’m being honest, I will admit that I wake with a fear every morning that I may be “driving the wrong way” or haphazardly. I know that I have precious cargo, my family, and I want them to not only have a safe ride, but the best ride that they can. I’d also be a fool to think I’m the only one driving the car, I am a co-pilot, and I know that she is driven with the same intention – which is one of the many things I love about us.
If I’m being honest, there are days that I don’t want to drive. I’m so apprehensive about the road hazards that I can’t see. But as parents we don’t have a choice, do we? We hop behind that wheel and journey on.
If I’m being honest, I’ll admit that I’m not always confident in my navigational skills. I’ll admit that I use my maps, phone my friends, trust my co-pilot.
If I’m being honest, there are nights I wake up worried, mornings that come too early, evenings that never end. Days filled with doubt and dread.
So why do we parents do it?
That first step, the first word, the smiles, the laughter. Those hugs and kisses. The look of wonder. The magic of amazement. Long walks and talks. The pride of their success. The comfort they seek with each defeat.
Yes, every skinned knee, woe of a lost toy, bump, bruise, and broken heart can be weathered with love. And that’s what makes this journey worth it.
We can take the time to worry about the evils behind the fog, but then we might miss out on the beauty that is unfolding right in front of our eyes.
If I’m being honest, I’ll admit I’m no expert, no guru, and, honestly, there are times I feel I have no idea what I’m doing. But I have found there to be so much joy in this journey.
And I hope to absorb and appreciate as much of it as I can.
A version of this first appeared on Tales from the Poopdeck.