How Our Kids Re-Write Us

The writing of Lloyd and his son Cameron has appeared here before. You may remember the hot-sauce experiment. But today, Father’s Day, is pleased to bring you something a little different. The world needs more fathers like Lloyd and more sons like Cameron. Read on, and you’ll see why.


I was raised in a strict Calvinist household.‬‪ ‬‪

The funny thing about Calvinists — maybe the ONLY funny thing about Calvinists — is that we think everyone is totally depraved.‬‪ ‬‪

And that’s funny because the doctrine of total depravity is supposed to scare you straight (like a Puritan) but it can just as easily make you give in to the dark side (like preacher’s son Alice Cooper).

Now, I’m no Alice Cooper (for one thing, I find guitar strings surprisingly painful) but I dig his approach.  Being good is a hassle. It’s easier to give in.

Left alone, I prefer to be alone.  Left alone I will enjoy scotch far too much.  I will smoke like the butt-end of an Exocet missile.  If sedentary living were an Olympic sport, I would be on top of the podium, asleep and covered in a thin layer of Cheeto dust. ‬‪ ‬‪

The thing is, I’m not alone.‬‪ ‬‪

And I’ll never be alone again.‬‪ ‬

Because 7 years ago, the nurse put a warm, wet, squirming baby boy in my hands.‬‪ ‬‪

My first reaction was to kiss his forehead. ‬‪ ‬

In that moment, I promised to love Cameron forever.‬‪ ‬‪

And I wanted to be worthy of his love.‬‪ To be a GOOD man.

That was the bargain we made.‬‪ ‬

I didn’t say it out loud of course.  A busy, noisy (and unbelievably wet) delivery room is hardly the place.

But I felt it.‬‪ ‬‪

And in the years since, I’ve done my best to live it.‬‪ ‬‪

I think fresh, little humans make you re-experience the wonder that time and experience take from you. ‬‪ ‬‪And they change you.  They re-write you.

In my case, Cameron’s birth made me take stock, and make changes. ‬‪ ‬‪

I quit smoking.  I started running. Because I want to be around for a long time, to see how he turns out.‬‪ ‬‪

Nowadays, when a guy in a BMW cuts me off in traffic, I don’t swear at him like a sailor with Tourette’s.  I call him a “muffinhead.”  ‬‪

I’m trying hard to be good.

‬‪I’m not saying it’s easy.  And every now and again, when I flag, or fatigue, or take my eye off the ball … Cameron gives me another reason to live up to my end of the bargain.‬‪ ‬‪

Just this week, he wrote a poem.

And, once again, he reminded me that I am the father of a wonderful kid, and that God is kind to me beyond deserving.

And so — depravity be damned — I’m going to be the best dad I can. To live my life with all the joy, and kindness I can muster.

And why shouldn’t I? Because God created the sky. The world. And I.      ‬‪


To Lloyd and to all dads, we say thank you and Happy Father’s Day. And to men everywhere who would like to be fathers and to all children who have lost their dad, we wish you peace on this difficult day.

To read more about Lloyd’s adventures raising Cameron, follow him on Twitter: @lloydrang

About Leanne Shirtliffe

Leanne Shirtliffe is the author of SLOTH TO THE RESCUE, SAVING THUNDER THE GREAT, THE CHANGE YOUR NAME STORE, and NO MORE BEIGE FOOD (2016). She also wrote humor books DON'T LICK THE MINIVAN: Things I Never Thought I'd Say To My Kids and MOMMYFESTO. She and her family live in Calgary, Alberta because they like complaining about the weather.

Posted on June 19, 2011, in Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. This is perfect. Thank you for posting.

  2. This is fantastic. I hope it’s in a place where you can see it a bunch. BTW, Alice Cooper turned into a good guy too. I think it also had something to do with his kids. Great Father’s Day post, thanks!

  3. Fantastic. Great post for today.

  4. Very touching post.

  5. Just perfect.

    Good job, Cameron. And Lloyd.

    And God.

    Today of all days.

  6. I am beyond choked up right. Lloyd you are good man. A truly talented, wise, funny and good man.

    And you’re raising a GREAT kid.

    If only every father in the world saw being a parent the way you live it, the world would be a much better place. In the meanwhile, the world has dads like you and kids like Cameron and it’s a brighter one, for sure.

    This piece needs to be posted everywhere – as a guide. A reminder. A prayer. A gift.

  7. Trish Loye Elliott

    What a great post and a wonderful poem. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Love it. I think it beautifully sums up how many parents feel. Children change us in ways we never knew were possible.

  9. Terrific, Lloyd. Thanks for sharing this.

  10. The world needs more Lloyds. And Camerons, too.

  11. One final thank you to Lloyd…for not screaming at me over email when I suggested he write this up in 24 hours. He had it done in two…

  12. Love it, Lloyd and Leanne…the best thing is the photo of the little hand in the big one…


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