Reflections on fatherhood and a growing family
by Matt Ryerson
May 29, 2013 | 367 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Our youngest daughter is celebrating her first birthday in the coming days and this has caused me to reflect over our time together as a family.

Since we started the column nearly seven years ago, our family has grown dramatically. We started the column when my wife was pregnant with our son and our dog was acting as our “only child.” Now, our son is 7, we have a 4-year-old daughter, and our youngest is now no longer having her life span measured in weeks and months, but in years.

We’ve added 10 chickens to the mix. Although, the original “only child,” Tucker the family dog, still believes he should be treated as an “only child.”

My son is now protectively watching out for his sisters, keeping them out of trouble and giving them sound advice, such as, “You should eat the middle of the cookie first. It tastes better that way.”

My 4-year-old daughter believes she is a princess, rarely is seen not fully dressed in proper princess attire and proudly received the official “Princess” award at her recent pre-school graduation. Our youngest is now crawling, standing, waving, blowing kisses and is just as cute as an infant can be. Tucker continues to look on at the growing chaos in our house from his perch on the couch as if this is all an infringement on his right to peace and tranquility.

Tucker isn’t so much a dog as he is a very hairy child. He clearly believes it is an absolute insult that we require him to go outside to go to the bathroom while everyone else in the family is allowed to use that porcelain bowl that he occasionally tries to drink out of. In fact, going outside is such a chore that he only actually puts two feet in the grass to relieve himself, resulting in a brown patch of grass immediately adjacent to our sidewalk.

I started this parenting trip with a specific plan in mind. I had read, researched, studied and created a timeline with developmental milestones, objectives and outlines on how to accomplish our family goals. Our children have laughed at that outline and have taught me to do the same.

When our son was born, all our friends and family warned us that it would all go by so quickly. I scoffed at that advice. Now I know better.

In fact, they didn’t fully prepare me for just how quickly it would pass. In one of my first columns years ago, I wrote about the missing “instruction” manual when bringing home our son. Now he is reading instruction manuals. I wrote about our daughter’s first steps, now she is a dancer. Now my youngest is turning 1 and it seems like yesterday we were bringing her home from the hospital. What does she have in store for us? I don’t know, but I am excited about the journey.

The most common question I am asked about our family is, “Will there be more to come?” My answer is, “Why not? It’ll ensure more material for this column.”

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(Editor’s Note: Matt has a beautiful family: his wife, son, two daughters, Tucker the family dog and 10 chickens. Matt’s column appears in the Cleveland Daily Banner.)