Growing Pains – Part 1

The author’s musings on upcoming fatherhood. This will be a series, so please check in on him occasionally; and in the meantime, read on!

So, here we are at 32 weeks in utero. It’s been known for some time now that we are expecting a boy. I’m still thrilled, but less scared now than anxious about what kind of parent I will be. As a wee lad I had foster parents who were present in my life. They contributed to my development in all ways. My foster mother drove me to soccer practice. Both parents took me to the zoo, to Saint-Malo to visit my foster grandmother, to the Mont Saint-Michel to experience its history, culture, and crepes. Even after the divorce, they were both present and in active roles in my life. They taught me manners, etiquette, how to distinguish between right and wrong; you know, proper behavior that helps a growing child learn what it means to be a contributing member of society in adulthood. They were the stepping stones for me to choose for myself the proper path in life.

I was reunited with my biological family when I was 10. My development resumed with this family, although it was different for a few reasons. For one, I was now in the United States, with a different culture than France’s. My Chinese-Vietnamese culture also came into play whereas with my foster family I had only the French culture to learn and understand. Now I was learning English through TV and my interactions at school, but relearned Vietnamese and Asian culture at home. At the same time, my father helped me retain my fluency in French. There was a lot going on, but my parents remained active participants in my development.

I was also growing up and out of my early years. Becoming a teenager in the United States posed its own set of challenges for my parents, but they put up with me; I mean, really put up with me. I was defiant to a fault. Having been away from them during those early, normative/formative years, I did not feel I really needed to learn anything from them. But they continued teaching me. My mother was nurturing and patient. She taught me the Asian cultures that were my heritage. From her I gained knowledge of my familial histories, proper etiquette with my elders, when to use one version of “Aunt/Uncle” or “Brother/Sister,” and when to use any of three or four other versions of each of the same terms.

— End of Part 1. Check back in next week for Part 2! —

Alex is a writer who is just beginning to freak out about being a dad in the next 1-2 months.