When Fang and I decided to become parents, I remember being excited and enthusiastic about the whole affair. At the same time, I must admit I was apprehensive on two Fang-related fronts:
- Dude needed a lot of alone time for creative projects and to maintain general mental wellness. As he was working from home most days, for the previous few years I had been spending a lot of time on campus, going to class, teaching, and doing research. Although we didn’t really know much about baby-rearing, I knew that the baby would complicate this arrangement.
- The genetic lottery. Fang is adopted and has never met a blood relative, so in our informal research into the Bastardson gene pool, n=1. (One of my homework assignments in 10th grade required me to survey about 30 of my parents’ and grandparents’ traits, and I had apparently inherited the recessive alleles for 29 of these, so I figured my genes might not play a huge role in the child’s genetic makeup. Then again, one of my cousins has described our shared genetic heritage as “the ‘no diving’ end of the gene pool,” so I suppose that’s for the best.)
Lucas was born healthy and thankfully remains so. Sure, there may be some ticking genetic time bombs further down the line—hello, thyroid disease and orthodontia of the damned!—but for the most part I’m satisfied with our winnings in the biological lottery. As I suspected would be the case, Lucas is in many ways much more like Fang than I am, and I’m happy with that outcome.
I was much more worried about the ways baby Lucas would impinge on Fang’s need for dedicated creative time, and the coping mechanisms Fang might or might not have developed for that contingency. How much of the parental responsibilities would I have to bear? (I was pregnant and ABD. Would I ever finish my dissertation?) How much would a baby complicate our relationship with one another?
Those worries? Totally unfounded.
Even though I bear a good deal of affection and love for my own father, I must award Fang the honor of wearing the “World’s Greatest Dad” t-shirt this Father’s Day. With Lucas, he strikes the most amazing balance of love, logic, empathy, guidance, encouragement, and critique. In contrast to my prenatal worry that I would be bearing the most parental responsibilities, I now feel guilty that I haven’t contributed as much to Lucas’s recent major developmental milestones as Fang has.
Fang has been involved in Lucas’s school activities, volunteering in the classroom and getting to know which kids would be good candidates for playdates.
Fang was the one who finally pushed Lucas over the last hurdle from foiled-by-phonics to reading and writing words and sentences.
Fang has coached the boy to new physical prowess and enthusiasm for athleticism through Taekwondo, taking him to lessons two or three times each week.
Fang is chiefly responsible for the boy’s confidence in swimming.
Fang has allowed the boy to use his office as a gymnasium, which has dramatically increased Lucas’s confidence and bravery.
Fang has been the chief documentarian of the boy’s activities.
He is also responsible for the boy’s
impeccable table manners sense of physical humor.
Fang has encouraged the boy’s creativity, providing him with the inspiration, tools, and–yes–a predisposition for weird experimentation.
Through all of this, Fang hasn’t let his success go to his head; he has remained self-deprecating. His caption for the following portrait taken by Lucas? “Eminem isn’t aging well.”
I’m so very grateful to have Fang in my life and, more importantly, in Lucas’s.
Thanks so much for everything you do, Sweetie. Happy Father’s Day. Rock on!