Being A Dad- Father’s Day Piece

Greetings, I am Damien Skye Knight, Oto-san (Father) of two children. My partner and fellow dad is Aaron Knapp. My eldest at 12 is Jayson Knapp and my youngest is Cera Knapp at 10 years old.

When I was young, my father would buy me stuffed animals, he communicated with me via my dolls and chased away my fears using a spray bottle. My dad was patient through periods where I would scream from night terrors.

One memory of my dad that affects how I have parented was when I woke screaming ghosts were in my room. I was 8 years old and regularly had nightmares. My dad grabbed a spray bottle and sprayed at the ceiling. He told me the ghosts were banished and told me to sleep.

My father’s patience with my inability to communicate has taught me so much. When I couldn’t say the things I needed, he bought me a dollhouse to act out the things I didn’t have words to say. When my son, Jayson, was little he, like I, did not talk much. Communication was difficult. When my patience waned with him, I remembered my earliest memories of my dad, “Look,” he would sign to me “I love you.”

My partner says raising kids today is nothing like his childhood. Yet, I recall anecdotes of Aaron’s childhood and his father playing video games. When I see Jayson playing video games with Aaron, I know that like his father, Aaron is an amazing dad.

The values I wish to instill in my children are honesty and independence. I want my kids to speak out in honesty and not feel unheard. Aaron also values independence in the form of self-reliance. He also wishes for them to treat others fairly. To instill compassion.

My concerns for my children’s future are many, but the most personal one is that the world is cruel, loud and over stimulating. I want them to conquer these challenges better than I have. My climb up the Everest of social anxiety has crippled me at times. I fear them mimicking these moments when they should advocate for themselves.

Aaron worries over the job market for them. Will they get good jobs, what future are we leaving for our kids?

The best part of raising unique and independent children is they say the best things. When Cera was around 4 years old, she woke me at 5 am.

“Oto-san! Oto-san!”

“What Love?”

“I think I am a goth princess.”

“Yes, love now go to sleep.”

When she was in first grade she came home, stripped her leggings and called for her brother.

“Jayson, Come run with a pantless woman!”
You see she was wearing a dress and having removed her leggings was now pantless.

Cera is bold.

Jayson had been in speech therapy from the time he was 2 and ½ until he was in the third grad. Prior to the age of 5 he mostly said 1 word, Nom-noms. When he was almost 3 years old, I asked him what he wanted for Christmas and he said to me “Stripey tig!” He held a tiger card I drew. We often used flash cards to communicate with him.

That Christmas we got him a stuffed tiger he named Stripey. He took Stripey to the zoo with him and held it close when we went to see the tigers. When the tiger leaned on the glass in front of my son and glared down at him, he flailed his arms and laughed. “Stripey!”

When he was 5, I wondered if he would ever say more than “Nom-noms” and “No!”

We decided that Jayson was better off home-schooled until we got his speech leveled with his peers and got him potty trained. The first lesson I asked him, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Because Jayson didn’t talk outside of “No!” and “Nom-Noms” I did not expect a reply but my kids have taught me to expect the unexpected. My son made rare eye contact and shocked me.

He replied, “I want to be like Stephen Hawking.”
Jayson is an explorer, quiet and curious.

Aaron says the greatest joy of raising our kids has been being able to spend time with them. To get to play ball in our own backyard. That Cera, every time he is home, tells him all about her dolls.

Every year I tell my kids that this day is their day. Without my kids we wouldn’t be fathers. Happy Father’s day!

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Slide Show of silly kids.

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