Last month I wrote about autobiographies and confused memories. (Feel free to peruse Fallacies of Memory, in case you missed it. I’ll wait.)
Now I’d like to elucidate about where exactly I was going with all that.
I’m considering a writing project on the topic of becoming a father later in life. Typically men start a family in their twenties or thirties. In fact, according to what “they” say, it is recommended that men and women have children before the age of 40. It’s become common to stretch that into their 40’s (mostly for men; it gets a little harder for women, biologically, but not unheard of). Having children when above the age of 50 is exponentially rarer.
I had never planned to have children. For reasons I’ve alluded to in previous blog posts – depression, self-loathing, anxiety – I never felt I possessed the mental and emotional skills that would qualify one for being a father. In fact, I prided myself on having the clarity and wherewithal to question my abilities enough to leave the raising of a family to those better suited for the endeavor.
When my wife came to me with the idea of having children (I was 52. Or was it 53?), I’m not embarrassed to say I balked. Sure, I wanted to support her decision, but I had to dig deep to resolve myself to the challenge of the life ahead of us. Thankfully, my wife’s scientific tenacity made it happen and we became parents. For myself, I did what I do when facing any new “project”: Research.
I’m not going to share all of my research – books, articles, documentaries. It would be quite an extensive list. But my top 3 recommendations for any man facing parenthood at any age would be The Expectant Father by Armin A. Brott & Jennifer Ash, Parenting Without Borders by Christine Gross-Loh, and Jim Gaffigan’s Dad is Fat.
Of course, there’s a myriad of material out there for women, couples, singles, or what have you. But the focus of this post is men. Specifically, me.
What did I learn?
There’s nothing that can prepare you for being a parent!
It’s a crap shoot. You make it up as you go. You do your best and hope for the best.
Fortunately, for as daunting as it all has been and continues to be, it is equally rewarding. Greater even.
So, I want to write about it. I don’t expect I have anything new to say on the subject. It’s just something I want to do for myself and my son. Yet, I want to share it with others, because I’m a writer at heart and that’s what writers do.
Doesn’t this blog serve that purpose? Why something new? you may ask.
Well, I had originally intended for this site to be about being a self-publishing author and all that it entails. I know that I’ve gone off on a few non-writing related tangents, but for the most part, I like to think I’ve stayed the course of what it’s been like for me to be a writer.
Now I’d like to take a new path and share what it’s like for me to be a father. I’ve been considering this for a while, fueled by something I wrote in my post Full Circle last summer:
“I’ve caught myself looking for new roads to trek, literal and figurative…for the intangible paths, I find myself living vicariously through [my son]. Oh, how I envy him for the things he has yet to see and experience.”
In short, I want to write a memoir. Yet, I don’t want to wait until after I’ve lived the memories and try to recollect my experiences from my deathbed. I’d like to chronicle my experiences as I go.
Oh, great. Another blog.
That sounds so pedestrian. While I don’t want to create a traditional book, the publisher in me wants it look like a book. I’m imagining a kind of digital, online “memoir” that grows as I progress through and examine the final chapters of my life. (Hopefully, there will include a very long epilogue as well.)
Geez, I need to get to work on this. Otherwise, I will be writing it from my deathbed.