Your Best and Hope

do your best and hopeGenerally, I try to keep things positive and keep it in perspective.  It would be easy to lament the things I’m either missing or have been without in life.  But I don’t think that serves me well – instead (and I use this metaphor a lot) I look in the mirror in the morning and hope the guy looking back knows you do your best and hope for the right outcome.

Admittedly, it sounds a little overly thought out – but a friend’s Facebook post recently got me thinking about not only my life my the lives of my kids.  Without sharing more than she may want in this forum – she’s a 9/11 widow and her daughter – who was a new-born on that day in 2001 recently went found her father’s name at the memorial in NYC.  My friend posted the text exchange she had with her daughter including a picture of the name.

Do your best and hope is probably standard thinking for any parent – or at least I would hope that it is.  But in the case of an only parent where you play two roles but can only be one person it has a different feel.

I grew up without a father.  He passed when I was in kindergarten.  I don’t think I missed out on anything in life – but I admit I didn’t have a blueprint to be a father.  This is when your best and hope has to work.

My kids are growing up without a mother.  What will their future as parents be? Was my best good enough? I hope so.

In my house, my kids have a closeness I never had with my brothers.  I’m not sure that’s just a function of girls and boys.  I’m not sure its a function of parenting.  Even when my older brother lived with us for a year, I still never felt that bond that I can see in my girls.

Back then I told my kids we were opening our house because that’s what you do for family – it was the best we could do at the time.  You do your best and hope.

So as we embark on the next school year with all kinds of firsts – 17.5 will drive to school, graduate in June, apply to college while 15.0 will move into honors English and advanced art classes – is my best enough?

It’s what I can offer.  Everyday I tell the guy in the mirror – just do your best and hope.

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The Dad Bod – Reason For Hope

The Dad BodNow in my 48th year of waging a battle with an expanding (and occasionally collapsing) waistline – when a friend sent me a blog about the Dad Bod being a thing, I became encouraged.  Although my friend thought it would be a great blog, it wasn’t until I saw the Dad Bod in the Huffington Post and Washington Post that I realized for those with the Dad Bod there is reason for hope.

The Dad Bod belongs to the guy who looks like he goes to the gym a few times a week, can run and has a bit of a beer gut.  According to all of the blogs and published reports, the Dad Bod says to the world, “Yeah, I go to the gym and I drink beers and I can sit down and eat 8 slices of pizza too, and enjoy it all.”

That about sums me up.

I actually enjoy going to the gym.  I try to do something active every day.  Some days more than others – I do lead an active life.  That active life includes drinking (probably slightly more than I should).  I enjoy craft beer sampling and a nice glass of scotch.  And let’s admit it, pizza is one of the major food groups.

All of that contributes to the Dad Bod.  The mentality is as we are downing that fourth slice of pizza and washing it down with a third beer we say, “I’ll do some extra CV at the gym tomorrow.”

But now us dads who like to sit back and down a few cold beers with a few shots and a handful of wings can do so with a clear conscience.  There is a sub-set (and apparently growing one) of women who kind of dig it.  For too long the Dad Bod has been relegated to the after-run pile when it comes times to make connections.

No more says the blogosphere, American journalism and those of us afflicted with the Dad Bod physique.

But I’d argue it’s also a state of mind:

You want to do the right thing:

I really don’t need anyone telling me that four slices of pizza and three beers at a single sitting is not overly healthy.  No one is there to let me know my breakfast choice of fresh fruit, peanut butter and egg whites are good choices though.  Let the Dad Bod go from time to time.

You have the best intentions:

Sitting down to eat, you didn’t plan on sampling six different craft beers – but they’re just so good and when is the next time I’ll be back here to try that new brew out of Wyoming?

Results may differ:

Just because four slices and three beers leaves you nothing but hungry doesn’t mean the rest of us will have the same result.  Although I can easily eat half a pie and half a six-pack – I really don’t want dessert (besides that would be just overkill right?).  But many with the Dad Bod would go for the chocolate cake too.

Yes, we’re more cuddly.  And it’s always a good idea for the woman to be the cuter half of the couple – the Dad Bod has served me well from my pre-dad years through my single dad years.  Now that the rest of the world has caught on, there is reason for hope in the Dad Bod world.

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‘Tis The Season, Already

Ginger bread house

Ginger bread house

Here we are just a few days after Halloween, and you can’t help but think ’tis the season, already it’s upon us.

I was away for the weekend and the hotel I was at was decked out for the holidays from a life-sized gingerbread house (pictured) to a tree lighting and all the trimmings.  It feels pretty early in the year to me, but in looking at the calendar it really isn’t.  After all, ’tis the season already.

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So after a nice weekend away, and a nice welcome home from the girls-a few quiet moments later I have the chance to think about the early onset of the holidays, after all ’tis the season, already.

This is the time of year we start to look back at the year that was – and make lists.  Things we accomplished, things we tried, things we hoped would go better.  And it’s a chance to look ahead and take stock.

Perhaps it’s a few weeks early this year but ’tis the season already.

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