Christmastime as a Dad

This month I asked some other dads to contribute their own stories, give advice or just share whatever was on their mind.




When I was approached about writing story about fatherhood, my first thought was which one do I write about? I could start at the beginning, when I nearly missed the birth of my son Jack because I felt the need to go hack at golf balls one last time. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I know, NEVER, even on the golf course, turn the ringer off of your cell phone. I could write about the numerous firsts my wife and I have experienced in the past two and a half years, but I couldn’t decide on just one. It then dawned on me while keeping in the spirit of the Christmas season; this is the first Christmas that Jack sort of “gets it”.

For the past twenty years or so the holiday season hasn’t really held a big place in my heart. Throughout my teens, Christmas meant seeing cousins and trying to amass as many presents for myself as possible. When I was in my twenties, the end of December and into the new year meant catching up with all my high school friends while we tried to stimulate the economy of our local watering holes. Now that I am into my thirties, with a kid that is discovering the magic of Christmas, I find myself getting excited for the holidays once again. Heck, it’s not even mid-December as I write this and I am almost done with my shopping…a practice that was normally reserved for Christmas Eve day.

I have tried to expose my son in his two and a half years of life to as many of my favorite things as possible in the hopes he’ll share in them with me someday. Music is playing a lot at our house; a steady stream of mostly The Beatles, 90’s rock (mostly Pearl Jam), The Allman Brothers, Phish, and The Grateful Dead. Jack very much enjoys all of it, and I catch him dancing along with a tune every once in a while. I have tried to sit and/or nap with Jack while taking in a baseball, football, golf, or basketball game…he doesn’t really want anything to do with them. That is okay, I know some sports are an acquired taste. The one sport that Jack gets excited about is hockey, ANYTHING to do with hockey. Perhaps it’s because once a week he gets to try on all my gear as I pack my bag for my weekly adult rec league hockey game, or maybe he just likes the way it looks on the television.

It should come as no surprise that when it came time for Jack to let Santa know what he wanted for Christmas, hockey skates were at the top of his list. I was more than happy to make sure Santa got those for Jack along with a helmet and a pair of elbow pads. In a bout of coincidence, a childhood friend of mine, out of the blue, dropped off a hockey stick for Jack. Jack hasn’t seen that yet; I’m going to save that for Christmas day.

The best part (I’m assuming), and the one I am most looking forward to, is going to be the look on my sons face on Christmas morning. In a few short weeks, my son is going to be a skate wearing, stick wielding little peanut. I am resigned to the facts that with a hockey stick in hand, the ornaments on the tree are as good as broken and the poor dog doesn’t stand a chance. I can admit it; I am truly excited for that moment, maybe to the point that I will once again have a problem going to sleep on Christmas Eve.

Matt S.

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