Becoming a father for the first time brings many new challenges. Understanding the importance of your role is the first step to success.
This fall, I’ll become a father for the first time. This anticipation stirs immeasurable amounts of emotion within me. I’m going to have a son, a beautiful baby boy.
This Father’s Day I’m beginning to realize that my life will forever change. I’ve never before felt this intense outpouring of love for someone I’ve yet to meet. The emotions I’m experiencing help me grasp what my father must have felt on the cusp of his first child. Every father must feel their experience is unique and distinct – I feel like I’m the first to the mountain top, enjoying the breathtaking view.
In my short time, I’ve learned that life is not fair. There is no rule that things must be balanced and equal. I fully expect that my son’s journey will be difficult. There will be sadness and trials he must endure. People will let him down, and he is going to be deceived by some. He will have his heart broken and confidence betrayed. He will fall short of aspirations and stumble in his journey. He will feel lost and off course at points in his life.
There is something that he will be certain of, though. He will never question whether his dad loves him. This fact will be a constant. One core belief he can hold true, my enduring love always waiting for him.
My father once told me that his goal was to be a better father than his own. He accomplished that by being able to express his love to his children. A generation emerged that finally verbalized the deep compassion they felt. I never questioned my father’s love and will desperately try to emulate this principle with my son.
I will actively encourage my son to try new things. I will tell him to travel and spread his wings till his heart is filled. I’ll make sure he knows the importance of laughter. I’ll stress the significance of listening to others and remaining humble. He will understand that being a gentleman is the only acceptable characteristic that speaks for itself. He will know what forgiveness and acceptance look like by example.
While my unborn son gives his gentle kicks to his mother, letting us both know that he’s alert and well, we think about how grateful we both are. Although babies are born every single day, we understand the blessing we are about to receive. Children will never be an assumption or expectation.
This Father’s Day, I’ll continue to reflect on what may be. There will be things I don’t know. I will flub certain decisions. I will be protective. I’ll fight with frustration. I’ll lack patience at times. I’ll laugh out loud at inappropriate moments. Above all, I’ll be filled with optimism. I reflect on what his voice will sound like. Will he get his mother’s dark brown hair? Will he be as inquisitive as I was? Will he grow to be as tall as his grandfathers? Will he have a dimple when he smiles or emerald green eyes? I think about all these things, every father does. We spend time pondering the things we have no control over. This dialog helps us not to become frantic with the aspects we’ll be directly responsible for soon.
My son’s chapters haven’t yet been written. It will bring me so much pleasure seeing him figure things out. I will be his strongest supporter as my dad was for me. I’ll listen to his questions and not pretend to know every answer. I’ll strive to provoke his imagination. As he weeps, my arms will be around him. As he celebrates, no one will be happier than I.
Photo: Flickr/liz west