My first son came into this world 12 years ago, and since that wonderful, terrifying moment, I’ve been a father nearly every single day
(For two weeks in 2002, I switched roles with my wife and tried to be the mother, but the breast feeding took too much of a toll physically. Also, in 2007, we sold both boys to a nice, childless couple in Delhi, but they were returned during the 30-day no-questions-asked warranty period).
In that time, I haven’t been a terrible father — never any physical abuse, merely verbal and psychological — but I certainly haven’t been the “World’s No. 1 Dad!” despite what the T-shirt from last year and the mug from 2009 might say. I can be better, and I vow to try.
I will stop setting a bad example. No more ice cream for breakfast (after today). No more smoking cigarettes in the kids room at the city library. No more public nudity, unless absolutely necessary.
If the boys want me to stop working and play badminton in the backyard, then, well, I will play badminton in the backyard. And freshen up my resume.
I will stop blatantly favoring one son over the other. You know, the one whose side I always take? Who always gets the biggest piece of cake? Who always gets to go where he wants? Who always gets the best present? Yeah, I’ll stop favoring that one.
The chicken wing that fell on the floor and got just a little cat hair on it? No, it’s not really just as good as the rest, and no, it doesn’t improve the immune system. I’ll take that one and let the boys have the clean ones.
I will stop misusing the coupon book my son gave me for my birthday. Even though it says “will wash the dishes whenever you want.” It’s not fair, and it’s barely funny, to wake a child up at 3 a.m. and ask him to scrub a frying pan.