This weekend is our wedding anniversary and Father’s Day all wrapped up in one. This will be the fourth time we celebrate our anniversary and the second as parents. It’s still crazy to think that I am a Dad to a beautiful baby girl and I’ve been thinking what really changes when you become a parent? It’s hard to concisely make a list from A to Z, but instead let’s just say everything changes, instantly. Before Evie was born other fathers were keen to share their experiences and advice which I soaked up. I knew I was in for a life changing experience and wanted to gather as much knowledge and facts as possible. It’s just the way I am, I have to research and find out everything to do with a subject if I am interested in it or I know I should know about it. I heard from other fathers who told me it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to them, and others that talked knowledgeably about diaper changes, bottle feeding, and sleep training. There were also others that just said “You have no idea what you are getting yourself into.”
And maybe this was the best advice, you really don’t know what you are getting yourself into as it’s impossible to conceive in advance how it will affect you. Not to mention that each child is so different and What works with one may not work at all with another. Nothing anyone can say to you can really explain what happens when you become a father and that’s why it’s better to be always prepared. To roll with the punches for lack of a better term. Not only making sure the baby room is decorated properly and there are plenty of burp clothes and diapers ready on hand, but realizing that life will now move to a different beat and you have to go with it. The hardest thing for me was to comprehend the fact that I am now responsible for another person. My life job title quickly turned upside down from being a network technician who loved his wife, to now an adoring and responsible father, loving husband, who also has a career.
I think like most dads out there you really don’t feel like a father until the day your child is born. You know that technically you are a father when your wife is expecting but you feel so disconnected from the whole experience until that day comes. The first time I actually felt like a father was when I got to hold my daughter for the first time. It was strange, but felt right. It seemed so real and yet I had dreamed of this moment for so long, it seemed a bit like a dream. It all just hit me…like a ton of bricks. Wanting to start a family, losing a pregnancy, getting pregnant again, the horrible nights throughout going to the E.R., seeing that little heartbeat, Waiting and preparing and finally, perfect. The first things I remember at that moment was her poor little head from where they used the vacuum but also her tiny little toes and squishy eyes. Our little bundle of joy was finally with us, and I finally realized that I was a father and that one chapter of my life was over but a whole new and exciting one was just about to begin.
Luckily Evie fell into a good sleep schedule fairly quickly as the first few months were a blur of no sleep, long days, and anxious nights. But even so, I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. The first year was filled with lots of fun firsts and exciting milestones as she began to develop her own spunky personality. The toddler age is so far my favorite as she has become such a little indepedent girl who is smart as a whip and is soaking up everything we do and say. She has become my little buddy who sits on the couch with me eating breakfast, watching morning cartoons, heading out for walks and playing on playgrounds. In some ways I feel she is so big and grownup but at the same time she is still our little baby that needs cuddles and all of our unconditional love.
And as she continues to grow up, I begin to question if I am doing everything I should be as a parent. What does a good father look like? We live in a day and in a culture that tries to minimize fathers. Turn on many of the popular sitcoms on television today and the father is often viewed as the comic relief of the show. Dad is just there but not involved with the things of the family. This depiction is sometimes funny on television but is definitely the farthest from what a fathers involvement should be in real life. There’s no mystery to what makes a good father in my opinion; one who prioritizes his family life and shows selfless love as seen by God our heavenly father.
There is so much we can learn about godly fatherhood by reading about the father-like traits that the Bible ascribes to God. I will always ask myself if I am being a good father to Evie, but it gives me comfort that she has a heavenly father that loves her perfectly. A love that we will never fully understand but that we that we can be thankful for.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. — John 3:16-17