What Did I Lose by Choosing to Be An Older Dad?

On the cusp of 47, an age when most of my peers are shipping kids off to college, buying fun modes of transportation, planning long-delayed vacations, awaiting grandchildren they can play with and give back at the end of the day, I’m changing diapers for two kids and being reminded that my infant son, Tyler, will graduate high school in 2030.

Cody will graduate high school in 2027, two years after Logan but miles away from the roads their lives will take them all because of one extra chromosome Cody was born with — one that had nothing to do with my or my wife’s age or heredity. It was just random chance — pure dumb luck. But having small children in my 40s does make me more like both of my grandfathers, who were also older fathers and loved kids.

father and his young son tubing in the snow So what did I lose by choosing a second turn at fatherhood in my 40s? My stamina is lessened, but my patience is greater. Did I lose the envious turn of heads I would have receive had I raced by in an expensive classic hot rod or sporty new convertible? Did I lose the breathtaking sights and sounds and meals of far off exotic places that Sara and I traded for mac and cheese and old crumbs in our couch, in our car and in our bed? Maybe to someone on the outside looking in, I did.

But today I visited a breathtaking view, and I raced by many others — though I doubt anyone really envied me, unless you were paying a little closer attention. Cody and I snow tubed down a hill together with my arms wrapped around his waist while he grinned from ear to ear and hummed excitedly the whole way down. And at the bottom he stayed seated in his tube and looked up at me smiling and nodding his head, chirping, which meant “more” in a way you’d understand if you knew him. So we did that several times more until it was time for some pizza in the chalet and for Cody to regroup with my wife.

Within a year or two we may be planning a trip to a far-flung destination, and we’ll be bringing all the boys, too, if we go. Disney World? Maybe. But for me, no car, no exotic destination could be more enjoyable than tubing down the hill with Cody. And being his dad so far has been the best of random chance, pure dumb luck. Just like it has been with all my boys.

2030 here I come.

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