This weekend I came across my first published work. It was in a book of art and writings from my 7th grade class.
My piece read:
“My Bothersome Brother: I have a younger brother who is as bothersome as a fly buzzing around. While I am doing my homework, he stomps in and asks, “Can you play with me?” - as if he has nothing else better to do. When I do have time to play with him, we either get into a fight or we don’t know what to do at all. He is a bratty little person who gets his own way, gets hyper a lot and acts as silly as a clown making a sound like a cow eating. My little, horrible, ridiculous, nasty, mean, unfair, and good-for-nothing brother will always be as troublesome as a fly pouncing on your food and making it too gross for you to eat.”
Three years younger than I, my brother was always getting under my skin. He sang stupid songs or would hold my pinkie finger and not let go. When I finally got tired of it, I would hit him which always seemed to be at the exact moment our mom walked in.
Despite all of his pestering, though, we were often the best of friends. We both loved sports. We played a lot of football, basketball, soccer, tennis and baseball together. The same goes for the attention we gave our G.I. Joes, Matchbox cars and Transformers action figures.
(Time flew and we grew.)
We’re both pretty smart and after college we had successful business careers like our father.
When my wife and I had our first child nine years ago, I stepped out of the business world to become an at-home dad. My brother stayed with his career, got married, had three children and now is a vice-president of an international commodities trading company.
He’s a traditional dad. I am not. A lot of people praise me for my fatherhood skills because I have chosen to be at-home, but my brother is just as good of a father as I am, if not better. He adores his children and always puts them first. He changes diapers, gives baths, coaches his kids’ sports teams and helps his wife around the house as much as possible while also providing financially for his family.
I admire what he has accomplished both professionally and as a father.
And I no longer see him as bothersome; just plain awesome.
Al Watts is the President of Daddyshome, Inc. – The National At-Home Dad Network and an at-home dad of 4 children living in west Omaha. Read him Wednesdays on momaha.com.