The Detoxing Man is Desirous (with authenticity and integrity)
I wanted to be a father. Three times over. I desired it so much that it became central to my identity. The expectation and the preparation were embedded into my labor, preparing rooms, taking classes. I wished for it with the whole of my intention, and with enormous help of my wife and partner, it came to be.
But, desiring to become a father is not the same as fathering. The former is about status, about being a member of a club. The latter is about action, the daily work of raising and support children. I did not realize that I had to have both desires in order to find integrity, to make an authentic attempt at fatherhood.
I could not simply desire reaching the status of father because it would be but a mere hollow definition, a sterile designation without significance. Contributing my chromosomes to a life is an important step in the process, but certainly not one worthy of my full attention.
No, it was only when I combined the definitional desire with the actions of waking up for 2:00 am diaper change or bottle feeding that my true desire became known. I wished to care for the infant in my hands, not just to be credited with having sired an heir. I wanted to know this kid, to be a part of its life from their first moment until my last. I wished to father, every day.
And within that desire, nouns quickly went out the window. I was all in on verbs. Feeding, walking, changing, changing again, holding, carrying, consoling, helping, supporting, empowering, learning, and so many others. These verbs became the markers of my authentic desire, the indications that I would never be done, I would never attain a finished status with my children again. It would always be a process, and one to which I could never retire or forego.
Because authentic and integrity-filled desire is not about attainment, it is about purpose. And my purpose, at least one of them, is to father my children with my whole self, letting them know all the while that they are wanted.