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Dad Revises the Parenting Manual!

Dad and my Rebecca Adam, wedding day 2014

(Book order and tour news at end)

Somewhere during my writing Soar, Adam, Soar on my son's journey from Rebecca to Adam, doors opened. I realized eventually that I was writing my story of parenting Adam too. All its fun, follies and growing into the role I leaped at when, as a Catholic priest, I chose marriage and became an instant stepdad to three children and, some 15 months later, Dad to this kid with the interesting name of Rebecca Adam.

I loved my 12 years as Father Rick. But nothing would beat being father to this irrepressible, drive-me-crazy son. I use plenty of metaphors in the book to describe parenting --- among my favourites are "fasten a seat belt for the roller-coaster ride of your life", "standing under a high-wire act" to catch them when they fall, and more. I am certain parents know what I mean. They will nod at this comment.

"...As a dad, as a parent, my job is to keep him safe. It’s a parent’s first duty.

I tiptoed into the bedroom when Rebecca was an infant, checking on her, making sure she was still breathing — crazy stuff we do as parents.

I checked the temperature of the water before the bath.

I tasted the food that she ate.

I triple-checked the seat belts, got her to look both ways before she crossed the street, knew the depth of the water before she dove into it, gave her the talk on cars and on whom she should trust, running various, scary “stranger scenarios” past my child. Molly, our Aussie cattle dog, used to quarter our yard, corralling, herding, protecting anyone who needed it. Are not parents the first herders?" (The Cardinal, Chapter 9)

Given that cruel weekend of January 22-24, 2016, I revisit those words near the end of the book. Spoiler's alert --- would I do it all over again? Where do I sign up? Like most parents, I found raising a child a hell of a ride, surfing their (and your) successes and failures, victories and defeats: the schools, report cards, trophies, bragging rights, illnesses, and setbacks. My Adam filled up my life.

I make several references to the parenting manual and to Adam helping (forcing?) me to revise it. A crazy story on his "wedding" that you have to read! New lessons on gender identity, pronouns, listening, loving, and acceptance.

"... I’ve commented on our lot as parents, wiser now from my own experience, as we often are. What is that parent job description again? Part crap shoot, balancing act, hanging under the high-wire acts as our kids perform? My many revisions to the parenting manual. Ha, what parenting manual?" (Fragments, Chapter 19)

Thanks to Adam, I learned to listen better. Adam pushed me past boundaries I hardly imagined. He made me better — I sense a better parent, I hope a better human being. As he did in life, Adam helps keep the book real, with a heavy dose of fun in the 100-plus social media posts you will read, like this one.

Adam shared 92 PRO FM’s photo

October 8, 2015

Do you ever start telling your parents a funny story and then remember what happened was illegal?

I didn't dare change a single word he wrote!

Dundurn Press publishes Soar, Adam, Soar Feb. 2 in Canada and Feb. 26 in the United States. ($22). I appreciate those asking where I earn more on the modest percentage authors make on their books (10 per cent, paperback). Best for Ottawa-area folk is to click on the cart here and choose store pickup. I will get the book to you. Some may want to wait for my events coming to your town. See the Events page here at Ottawa Feb. 7, Toronto Feb. 13, Collingwood Feb. 20, North Bay Feb. 23, Sudbury Feb. 24, London Feb. 28, St. Thomas, March 2, Kingston April 4, Picton April 6. Further events for Elliot Lake, Sault Ste. Marie, St. Catharines, Dunnville, California, Vermont and Virginia are being worked out. In truth, though, do what works for you. There's Dundurn, Amazon and Indigo sites, Canadian and USA. Leave me your comments or questions.

20 more sleeps, my son :). Are you ready to tour?

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