The Ups & Downs of Being an 'Older' Dad

Congratulations on your child's high-school graduation, dear most people I grew up with. Hang on a second... What's that? Wow! My child just handed me a chunk of her own poop.

Because I waited until age 46 to reproduce, I could be my own two-year-old daughter's grandfather. I don't look my age, which is great. (It wasn't great while trying to avoid the inside of middle-school dumpsters because I looked like a fetus with hair. But it works now.)

Still, the sad fact is that I may not live to see my daughter graduate high school, much less ever meet my own grandchild. ("You never know," my wife jokes. "You could get lucky; she could become a teen mom.") But even if I do live that long, I will probably be eating dinner at 4:30 p.m., sending out mass blank emails and handing my daughter chunks of my poop. 

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Once you're in your 30s and 40s, it's no longer as important to have two parents who are alive. But it sure is a gift. Who else would ever provide as much free love, advice, babysitting or hints that maybe you should stop being such a big shot and pick up the phone once in a while? Plus, if you're lucky like me, you have people to hit up when your kid has a five-freaking-thousand-dollar deductible due on her tonsillectomy.

My daughter won't get that gift, and that sucks hard. Sometimes, I think about how sad she'll be to lose me before she's likely to find herself. But then I realize... Isn't it better that someone cry about losing a great old dad than about having a crappy young one?

I have no doubt that my daughter is getting a healthier childhood now than she would have when all my time went into building a career, traveling the world and failing at relationships. Every day, she gets to climb jungle gyms, have fake tea and laugh at her own farts with her old man. (OK, so they're my farts.) And that's got to compensate for some of the time we won't be spending on the other side of her life.

Also -- and this fact consoles me more than any other -- my daughter wouldn't exist if I didn't have her at age 46. She would have been her own half-sibling, and probably (judging from my pre-wife romantic choices) someone I would now only get to see on weekends and holidays.

Are you an older parent? Are you happy you waited or not?

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