Illustration of a dad

I’m a Dad

Nick Leveski

Illustration by Dashiell Kirk

Ha, wow. Even after all these years, that still feels so weird to say. But it’s true. I am a dad. And I never thought I’d be a dad. I thought I’d be single until I was like, 37, and then I’d settle down with some smokin’ hottie that I met at a water aerobics class.

Uhhh yeah, so life had other plans. For me, that was a debilitating dirt bike accident at the age of 24 where I broke both of my eye sockets.

Now? I’m happily married, and we have three handsome sons and a six-month old beautiful baby girl.

Is my house a little chaotic? It burned down last week, so I’d say that’s a yes, LOL!

I have some friends who are still single and they constantly say to me, “Dan, is parenting hard? I love sleeping in!” And my answer is always, yeah, parenting is hard, but it’s a lot harder if your house just burned down, LOL!

Boy, it sure is crazy to reflect on just where all the time has gone. Seems like only yesterday I was in college dreaming of being able to buy my own above-ground swimming pool.

I’d love to go back in time and pull 22-year-old me away from my sixth straight beer pong tournament of the weekend, shake myself back into consciousness and tell myself that one day your demented preteen son is going to try and kill himself and your whole family by trying to burn down the house with all of you inside, LOL!

I got so goddamn enraged I defibrillated myself. The kids freaking loved it. They couldn’t stop laughing. Little shits.

Though, on the real, if I’m being totally honest—I’d be so freaked out if somebody came up to me in college and was like, “Hey, I’m from the future and I’m you, from the future, and you have four kids.” I’d be like, “Yeah, I’m going to do a bunch more whip-its and then punch a hole through my bedroom door. Buh-bye.”

College was sick and parenting is hard as fuck. My damn house burned down a couple of days ago and everything I owned was destroyed. Sure, my family survived, but my damn XBOX didn’t and I’m super friggin’ pissed.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m a little stressed, but I’m still pretty chill. Parenting is sweet. I remember when we were outside of our burned-down house, sitting in the back of an ambulance making sure none of us had dangerous levels of smoke inhalation, and the second-to-the-oldest child looks up to me and goes, “Daddy? Is the XBOX still inside the house?” I got so goddamn enraged I defibrillated myself. The kids freaking loved it. They couldn’t stop laughing. Little shits.

Fuck me! We lived in that house for eight years. And like that, it’s gone. It’s nothing more than a smoldering pile of ash and dumb-ass memories, like the time I tried to take my kids to a roller rink and they had turned it into a farmer’s market.

I want to blame my oldest son—Lillen—so bad for starting that fire. And I should! He definitely started it and also he might legitimately be Satan, but it’s so hard to reprimand him. He’ll throw a tantrum and flop around on the ground until I give in and let him have another ice cream sandwich.

Luckily though, I’m the type of guy who can focus on the positives.

Positive #1: I was, at one point, able to buy a house.

Positive #2: My XBOX was an older version and I had to keep downloading updates, and I should probably just get a PS4 anyway.

Positive #3: My wife’s Persian didn’t make it out of the house alive!

Just kidding—I WISH. That asshole cat was right there waiting for us in the street.

Anyway, when I heard that granddad had passed away, I knew I had to be the one to give his eulogy, and I thank you all so much for giving me the opportunity to speak today.