fatherhood Archives - The Jose Vilson


How My Son Really Started Walking

by Jose Vilson on December 18, 2012

in Jose

It’s obvious he does things his way.

When he first came out of the womb, he yelled at the nurses in the hospital for making reference to Lady Gaga’s version of his name. When in the nursing station, he slept on his side whereas everyone else slept on their back. During my first few hours with him, he pooped, peed, and spit up on me, the holy daddy trifecta. He didn’t care much for my swaddles, no matter how tight I wrapped him.

So it should come at no surprise that he didn’t want to follow the axiom: “You gotta learn to crawl before you learn to walk.”

First came the rolling around to get from point A to point B, and not even in a straight line. It looked more like roll once, turn around, roll again, turn around, repeat until he arrived at his destination. A little inefficient, but it got the job done. After getting his playpen, he discovered the art of cruising: with one hand, he’d guide himself around the rim, picking up his toys along the way.

All of us, especially his babysitter, already said he’d skip right into walking so we didn’t need to teach him how to crawl.

That wasn’t far from the truth, either. In two months, he went from running around in his walker (why do people keep saying that a walker’s bad for babies?) to gliding his hands against walls to get from the living room to the bedroom. I’d just marvel at how quickly he learned the art of balancing himself with one hand.

That is, until he started touching my flatscreen. Don’t touch the screen, son. That’s about a year’s worth of pampers.

With only a few weeks left until his first birthday, we decided to sit down with him one day and just let him step to us. We already saw him play with the idea of walking, shuffling his feet with his outstretched arms, but that wasn’t walking. Real walking meant he’d lift his Peanuts sneakers up an inch and forward a few more.

Last week, on my way back from work, I said, “Let’s do it.” I walked in the door, grabbed my son, and put him on his feet about an arms’ length from me. He waves his arms a bit, looked up at me with his cherubic face, and said, “Da!” I stretched my arms out, close enough to catch him, wide enough to let him do it on his own. With each step, his breathing grew harder, more excited. He went from a serious focus to an elated laughter. In about five steps, he dropped right into my arms.

The babysitter, Luz’s mom, and I all cheered. “YAY, Ale!” We couldn’t believe it. I replicated it a few more times, and even made him walk towards the women in the room, who all clapped and yelled for him to come their way. We called Luz, who rushed home to see the commotion, and she joined in the fun a few moments later.

Before we put him to bed, I said, “OK, one more time.” This time, he fell. Not too hard, but not close enough to anything to pick himself up.

So he crawled. Luz and I looked at each other and said, “NOOOO …”

Jose, who just had to share this.


Bill Clinton: Don’t Hate, Calculate

A few notes:

“If you take away collective bargaining rights, you inevitably create problems. There is no way to work out your differences. So, when Senate Bill 7 created a new threshold for strike authorization and limited the right to strike to salary and benefits, it didn’t take being a genius to have predicted a strike in Chicago. Both sides even say that they are close to an agreement on money issues. But the problem is that if the CTU leadership says okay to the salary and benefits that the board has offered then negotiations are over because the board can refuse to discuss evaluations, job assignments or class size. That’s the law.”

- Fred Klonsky


Where My Fatherhood Comes From [It Turned Into a Poem]

by Jose Vilson on August 16, 2012

in Jose

My fatherhood is born of a desire to change
everything that happened before me. Or before me.
My fatherhood was born from not having a father figure present,
and constantly seeking them in the form of
priests, popular athletes, and men who only had time
for a yearly visit.
My fatherhood wasn’t prescribed,
for all the reading I did,
I knew I’d have to write this one out
on my own.
My fatherhood is an amalgamation of
everything that went wrong with
the abuse,
the isolation,
the fear 
tossed out the window
just to help me start over again.
My fatherhood hums where screams are appropriate,
drags where others bounced,
inhales where far too many coughed.
My fatherhood forgives
those who never taught it to me,
extinguishes the burn in my chest
where I once thought love went.
My fatherhood isn’t magic,
delivered divinely,
but something I continuously have to tend,
craft with my own hands and mind.
My fatherhood fills the shoes worn
very loosely
by no one in particular,
simultaneously well dressed and battle torn,
fully expecting to win.
My fatherhood only matters,
if the boy who receives it now
never has to feel as though he had to earn it.

Like I did.



For The Person That I Do Have

June 17, 2012 Jose

It all starts with a broken heart, a disillusionment about the statues your youth asks you to revere. I wasn’t supposed to tell you that, but it’s the truth. We who have ever felt this abandonment from our fathers went through stages of pain throughout our lives we never fully reconcile. We become victims of […]

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Four Months of Awesome [On Alejandro]

May 9, 2012 Jose

Alejandro was staring at the door at 9 pm. I just got back from a long day and a vibrant discussion and dinner at SoHo with some colleagues who I hadn’t seen in months. When I got to my floor in my apartment building, I tiptoed from the elevator to my door, turning the key […]

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The Lion Sleeps Tonight

March 12, 2012 Jose

The only way to shock my son out of his crying spurts is to sing the first big note in “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” I hit the highest falsetto possible, then jump right into the first few notes of the melody. Naturally, I forget the majority of the verses of the song, but by then, […]

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