Dad

As anyone who has ever met my family will tell you, I look like my mom. But as anyone who has ever met my family will also tell you, in every other respect I am very much like my dad – who’s been in and out of the hospital since Christmas (back in right now) and therefore has been the subject of my thoughts more than usual lately.

My dad, Murray Barger, at my wedding rehearsal dinner

My dad, Murray Barger

Much of my personality, for both good and bad, is from my dad. We’ve clashed from time to time since I was a teen, as many fathers and sons do — and if we’re being honest, most of our conflict comes down to the fact that while we are motivated by often opposing intellectual beliefs and passions, we embrace those beliefs and passions with virtually the same zeal, behaviors and character. We are, in a great many respects, mirror images of one another — it’s like arguing with yourself, with your opponent using the same rhetorical devices, the same arguments, the same style and displaying the same flaws and strengths that you have. When one’s right hand goes up, the reflection’s left does the same. And in the other, we see both the things we like most in ourselves and the things that most disappoint us about our own selves — only, the flaws are magnified when we see them in the other. This dynamic has made our relationship, while strong, frustrating at times.

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Day 8 Memories

The Unhappy: Ever see a dad freak out for no solid reason? Yeah, that would have been me last night when Brooke’s umbilical cord came off while my wife was changing her diaper. Was it hurting her? Could it be infected? Was she bleeding? Why was she crying? Is she hurt? No one could actually understand those questions from me, however, because they all came out of my mouth at one time within about 7 seconds of realizing the cord was off. She certainly seems no worse for wear, but that was another one of those “nothing can hurt my daughter, Daddy freaks out at even the idea of her being in pain” moments.

The Happy: When Brooke woke up this morning, it was a beautiful morning with the daylight coming in the east windows of our bedroom. I put on The Beatles “Here Comes The Sun,” and watched Mommy “dance” in bed with little Brooke, holding her little hands and moving her tiny arms in time with the music. Just another one of those little things that seem like nothing but will be locked away in my heart for the rest of my life.

111 Things I Hope My Newborn Daughter Learns About Life

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Like any new father, I’ve spent the past week in awe and in love with my daughter, and thinking about raising a baby girl into a grown woman and all that will go into being her dad, including passing along wisdom about life to help her along. I’ve had about 44 years to compile a perspective — and though there are so many lessons I will learn with her along the way, as I have thought this week about what kind of person I hope my daughter will be, I’ve come up with a list of core lessons or perspectives on life that I hope she learns from me as she grows up.

Your Family

1. Your mom and dad love you very much. Always.

2. Your big brother is about the best kid in the whole wide world. You’ve hit the lottery getting him as a brother. Love him, and learn from him.

3. Family always comes first. Your brother, your mother and I will not always be your favorite dance partners, but when we want to spend time or when one of us needs you, your family is your priority. Someday you will understand why this is so important.

4. All four of your grandparents are remarkable people with stories to tell, things to teach, experience to share and love to give. Respect them and love them with all your might, because your time with them is limited.

Who You Are

5. Always be honest and act with integrity. Trust takes a lifetime to build and moments to ruin. In the end, all you really have is your reputation for honesty and integrity – and if you squander that, you can never get it back.

6. Enjoy learning things; it’s one of the things that will make you feel most alive, because love of learning keeps you striving for more. Never stop learning. Don’t forget, too, that school is not the only place you will learn.

7. Ask questions. A lot of them. Once you’ve gotten the answers, be willing to challenge some of them. Respectfully. Without challenging the status quo, the world would never change. Also be willing to accept some of them. Respectfully. Rebelling just for the sake of rebelling isn’t courage, it’s being a punk. Your job is to become wise enough to know which answers are the ones you should accept and which you should not.

8. Your favorite question should be “What’s next?” When you’ve had one adventure, look for another. When you’ve accomplished something you’ve never been able to do before, look for another challenge. When you’ve achieved something remarkable – maybe even something that no one thought you could do – set another goal and set about achieving it. It’s not that you should never be content; it’s that you should never rest on your laurels. Toss your cap over the next wall and figure out how to go over the wall to retrieve it. Push yourself to do more. You’ll be amazed at where your brain, body and spirit will take you. Continue reading

Welcome

This will be a blog all about my new daughter Brooke, and about my watching her grow from newborn to little girl. Nothing fancy, because I don’t know how often I’ll be able to update it. If you’re not into a dad raving and going on about his new baby girl, this is not going to be the blog for you.  🙂