Father Figures: Time and Memory

The fact that I’ve been a dad for going on six years still seems ridiculous to me. Weirdly, it feels ridiculous that it’s been six years already and that it’s only been six years. One of the biggest surprises of fatherhood has been the way it distorts time and memory. I used to think about what I would be doing in five or ten years, but now I almost exclusively measure my life in minutes and hours. How many minutes until the bottle is ready for the baby? How many hours until nap time? How many minutes until we can leave the playground? How many hours until they wake up, again?

And my recollection of the past now seems to have similar time constraints. Now that we’re on baby number three, it is exceedingly difficult for me to remember much of anything about when my second child was a baby, let alone my first. Parenting tunnel vision is real. It’s as if my parent brain only has room to process what is necessary to keep me and my children alive. Let’s focus on keeping these kids fed and cleaned and safe, my brain tells me.

It took me a long time to feel somewhat okay about this feature of my parenting experience. This impermanence used to frustrate me to no end. I would chastise myself often and tell myself to do better. Just focus, I would say. You can remember everything if you just try hard enough! But slowly, as time passed and more memories faded into blurs of color and sound, I came to realize that the life of a father, particularly a stay-at-home one, can be so mundane and routine that attempting to catalog it and remember it all is a hopeless task. I learned that the truly memorable parts in the journey—the traumatic and the transcendent—can’t be controlled. You can only wait for the transcendent to find you and hope that the traumatic never will.

For example, I remember when my oldest son was two and he fell while I was getting him ready for bed and bit his lip. I remember his blood and my anguish for having failed him. Luckily, our traumas have been like this one—small. I also remember the time a butterfly made a surprise visit on a spring afternoon and brightened our day. For whatever reason, that little moment felt transcendent. Which just goes to show you, the things we hold onto for the long term might be the big ones, but that doesn’t mean that the fleeting moments are any less valuable.

Andrew Knott [@ExplorationsOfAmbiguity]

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com.

Father and Son Escape Burning Truck in the Nick of Time

(News Channel Nebraska)

19-year old Minnesota man Kobe Sammons drove 500 miles to visit his family in Nebraska. When he arrived he told to his father, Jeremy, that his ride just wasn’t running right. So his dad hopped in the truck and the two went for a drive in hopes of discovering what the problem was.

A short while later they pulled over when Jeremy noticed smoke had entered the cabin of the truck. The smoke quickly turned to heat and it became apparent the engine compartment was on fire.

That’s when both men attempted to open their doors but they would not unlock.

The father wondered if this would be their final moments together.

“I told him he would have to break the glass or kick the door open. I couldn’t help him.” the elder Sammons told News Channel Nebraska.

But eventually Kobe was able to kick the door open.

“It was in those moments. Just when it had to open, the door opened.” Kobe’s dad said.

By the time firefighters arrived the truck was completely engulfed in flames. Authorities on the scene considered that the fire may have caused the doors’ unlocking mechanism to malfunction.

The truck can easily be replaced, the important thing is that this father and son duo escaped unharmed.

75-Year-Old Volunteer Literally Takes Catnaps at Animal Shelter

(Facebook/Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc.)

If you’re a cat lover you’ll probably agree that 75-year-old Wisconsinite Terry Lauerman is living the dream. He spends most days volunteering at his local animal shelter snoozing with cats.

Lauerman begins his day at Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary where he brushes any cat that needs it, then ends up catching a few z’s with his feline friends. The cats and staff at the shelter love the service Lauerman provides and so do thousands of others because of a viral Facebook post about him.

Elizabeth Feldhausen, the founder of Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary, told The Huffington Post that Lauerman never signed up to be a volunteer but just showed up one day, armed with a cat brush and dream to help some kitties.

“He just walked in and started brushing,” Feldhausen said. “So eventually we told him he was an official volunteer and had him fill out our volunteer form.”

(Facebook/Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc.)

Safe Haven is a cage-free, no-kill shelter aimed at rehabilitating cats with special needs who would likely be euthanized elsewhere. Feldhausen says Lauerman usually comes in for about three hours every day—he’ll start by brushing a cat but usually ends up dozing off.

“He sleeps for about an hour, then he’ll wake up and switch cats,”

The cats aren’t the only ones benefitting from his visits, though. “He said, [the brushing is] as great of an experience for him, as it is for them,” said Feldhausen.

(Facebook/Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc.)

The post about Lauerman has received tons of positive attention and according to Feldhausen, they’ve received about $20,000 in donations since the post went viral.

While Lauerman is happy to have brought so much attention to Safe Haven, he wants people to know that there are plenty of other volunteers that put in hours of hard work to make sure the cats are loved and cared for.

Unlike them, however, Lauerman can do it in his sleep.

Father Figures: So Be It

“My money is tight living here in Silicon Valley.

My daughters are both really smart and take advanced classes, which takes a shit load of money for tests, materials and such. I too play the ‘money is tight’ card around holidays and birthdays, but I work my ass off and find side jobs. As many as I can to make sure they have the best day possible on those special occasions.

If that means not buying myself anything for the rest of my life, so be it.

They always come first, and I believe they will appreciate the struggles later on in life, and they’ll be better off for it.”

– Mauro Hernandez

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Dad’s Panoramic Photo of Daughter Goes Horribly Wrong and Viral

(Twitter/sc_x_cs)

With new phones constantly boasting advancements in camera technology, it’s no wonder some people have trouble keeping up—dads in particular.

Just ask 21-year-old Twitter user Simran. She recently came to terms with the fact that her father is a bit more technologically-challenged than she realized.

Here’s how Simran appears when she’s directing the photo shoot:

While on vacation her dad attempted to snap a unique picture of her. He insisted on trying out his iPhone X’s panoramic photo mode. As you probably expect, the photo didn’t turn out quite as planned.

“My dad told me to stand by the apples because he said he discovered a new way to take pano pics vertically,” Simran told Mashable. “I agreed to it and this was the result.”

“When he saw them he said ‘they look great’ and then I saw them and completely lost it. I mean, are you kidding me? I look like an Alien,” she said.

A number of people chimed in and made fun comparisons to some pretty unflattering images.

Clearly, Simran has been a good sport and we commend her dad for a bold attempt at harnessing advanced photo technology. But perhaps he should stick with the old fashioned point-and-shoot method from now on?

Man Struggles to Fit Small Carry-On Bag in Overhead Bin