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Milestones, Memories and Moving On

So this week, there were a number of firsts in the Reed-Becker family. Number 1 is graduating from college next month and this week she interviewed and accepted a job; therefore we have the first child to graduate college, the first child to interview for a full time career and the first child to actually accept the professional job offer. WOW – talk about a ZagZig parenting moment.

How did this happen? I still have fond memories of Kori and I bringing her home from the hospital, watching her learn to walk, teaching her to ride a bike and watching her become an almost grown woman. Now this! What is a dad to do?

Well, it’s the cycle of life. I can’t stop it, and I certainly don’t want to get off the ride, so I will have to learn to adapt to my new reality. I have to admit, the events provoked some other thoughts of firsts that danced through my head. She will be the first to have her own car insurance, her own rent payment, her own car payment and I won’t be responsible for any of them. If you know me at all, money is one of the first things I think of, but in the case of my grown up daughter, it was masking my real thoughts.

You see, Number 1 and I started this journey together of me as a stay at home dad. She had to endure those times when I had no clue what I was doing. I learned to be a dad by messing up daily with her. I could barely do a ponytail in her hair until she was almost 2. I would have dressed her as my twin – blue jeans and zip up -- had my wife not set out clothes for her to wear every day. Many days in our time at home, when mom was a work, I didn’t even take her out of her pajamas. (I stayed in mine too!)

Over the years, due to the amount of time we had together, we became very close. I am so thankful for that time we had before her siblings came along. She taught me so much more about being a great dad than I have ever taught her. As I look back, I consider myself so fortunate to get to raise her and her siblings, and am such a better man because of them.

Being a stay-at-home dad has been my identity for more than 20 years now. With this first one graduating to adulthood, it marks that time in my life when I have to forecast out about nine years to when my job as a stay-at-home dad with primary parenting duties will come to an end. What will I do? How will things change for me?

I am not sad about it, just contemplative. Questions do come up for me like, Am I doing enough for my kids? Do they know I am proud of them? Do they know how much I love them?

I am so excited to see the places our kids will go and what they will accomplish. Number 1 is giving me a taste of what is to come, and I can’t wait to see what waits for the others. My “job loss” means my wife and I have served our kids well, and sent them into the world with the skills they need to succeed. In the meantime, I will continue to take care of my kids however they need me, and once they are all on their own, I will turn my full attention to taking care of my wife! (As I typed this, she said you mean I have to wait another nine years to be the priority?) That’s the life of the ZagZig!

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