Later Mom Features
NAME: Tom LaMarr
AGE: “A youthful 61”
RELATIONSHIP STATUS: Married
CHILDREN: Evelyn, an even more youthful 13
The median age for becoming a parent has climbed, and Tom LaMarr is the reason. This Colorado dad was nearly 48 when he met his daughter, which makes him even older now. GEEZER DAD, his memoir about getting that late start, has been getting good reviews, and was recently named one of 2015’s Best Adoption Books by ADOPTIVE FAMILIES magazine. Tom is also the author of two acclaimed novels, with a third due early in 2017. Visit http://tomlamarr.com to learn more about GEEZER DAD, train hopping, bear wrestling, and how Tom’s first novel came to the aid of Jerry Seinfeld.
What was your road to parenthood like? Rocky, winding, and ultimately rewarding. It was also much longer than we had anticipated, because my wife, Sam, and I got stuck at more than a few forks, unable to agree on the best path forward. Before starting, we had already waited several years by choice, thinking it couldn’t be that hard to become slightly older parents. But a miscarriage showed us that nature was not going to cooperate, and four years passed before we finally accepted domestic adoption as the best choice for us. There was still some waiting after that, of course, but at least we felt more certain of the outcome.
How does being a dad influence your work? It certainly breaks up my day, seeing that I – the work-at-home writer – was promoted to chauffeur some time ago. On a more serious note, I do know that being a dad has made me a better writer by letting me tap into reserves of patience and understanding I never realized were there.
What was your motivation to write GEEZER DAD? Back when Sam and I were staring down those tough decisions, we read many books about parenting, infertility, and adoption. I kept waiting for someone to hand me one about getting a late start at parenting, but no one ever did. I finally realized I’d have to write it myself. There really was a hole there, and I think this book fills it, by giving others on that same road some useful information and support. It also boasts a few chapters that critics have called “sidesplitting” and “hilarious” (sorry, but decorum prevents me from making such claims myself) and if I have learned nothing else in this life, it’s that a sense of humor is necessary to surviving any challenge. It’s certainly something you need as a parent.
Do you think it’s tough to balance parenting, a personal life and professional pursuits? It can be hard, but I never really thought we could have it all. I knew there were things we’d be giving up. But while those pre-kid days may have offered more freedom, there’s so much more I don’t miss.
As for making sacrifices, I remember the first time we went out after baby Evelyn came along. A good friend had offered to babysit, and we had tickets to a play downtown. At intermission, we made the mistake of checking in with our friend, only to learn that conditions had deteriorated. Before I finished asking, “Should we come home?” he said, “That might be good.” We missed the rest of the play, so I’ve always had to assume Romeo and Juliet got together at the end and lived happily ever after.