~ In this #lifebook entry on #ruckology Brandon L. Rucker gives a rare glimpse inside his personal life in honor of one momentous life event ~
Twenty-two years ago today my first daughter was born. That huge biological event effectively changed my name to be aka: “Father”, “Da-da”, “Daddy” and “Dad” forever. It’s the first true event in my young adult life at the time (a month from turning 21) to give me a true sense of purpose and direction. A trajectory as well as an anchor. A reason to soar while also providing a gravitational pull to keep me grounded and centered on what is most important.
The day she was born was not one without its stresses and worries. I got The Call while at work at the comic book store about an emergency C-section due to her being breech in utero with, as it turned our, her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck as well. Had we waited for the full term and untold hours of labor, things would have turned out quite differently, perhaps tragically. So I tend to think of her as our miracle child. I’d love to be able to say that was the first and last time I cried at the birth of a child, but in this particular reality that would be a lie.
Her mother and I didn’t last together beyond her first 18 months, and though there were certainly calamitous years of many trials and tribulations, not to mention the help of a village, we somehow managed to raise a well-adjusted and healthy child with a promising future.
22 years later, she’s an intelligent, beautiful, driven, independent, hardworking-yet-somehow-still-lazy and stubborn young lady who occasionally acts like she’s between the ages of 17-21. And that’s to be expected because none of us are truly grown up and fully mature prior to the age of 25, especially these days. In her short life she’s been a dancer and ballerina, a dance teacher herself and a voracious student of social issues, politics, the sciences and the arts. She’s also been a big sister to her two younger sisters (on my side) and younger brother (on her mother’s side).
Recently, this past Father’s Day she had posted on her Facebook page the fact that she and I are very close, despite how that may appear to those on the outside. Our closeness is not often verbally stated as she’s an even better poker player than I when it comes to her emotional reservedness. She puts me to shame in that category. I personally had always envisioned an even closer relationship than what we currently have (which would negate some of her natural independence), but that’s not something you can necessarily force if it’s not a natural occurrence. Yet it’s good to know that from her internal point of view we’re close enough.
Oh, I should also mention that she’s also a mother of a highly intelligent, very talkative 3-year old preschooler, which of course makes me a grandpa. Yeah, yeah, let the old man and grandpa jokes commence. After all that’s another one of my aka aliases. Though to be exact, my granddaughter calls me “Pop-pop.”
The toughest part of fatherhood, of being a family man in general, is that nagging need to always protect, even when it’s not even possible to do so. Talk about a overwhelming sense of helplessness and frustration. I recommend fatherhood only to the most emotionally tough and mentally strong because this stuff is not for the unworthy. Trust me on that.