[su_dropcap style=”simple” size=”2″]W[/su_dropcap]hen our first of four children was born, I instantly became a 30-year old first-time dad. And I was scared, all the time. Would I mess up somehow and ruin this beautiful creature? Would I be patient enough to endure all that this child would throw at me? Would she grow up and still love me despite all my failings as a dad? But among all these questions, many of which I still have by the way, I had this one very distinct and immediate fear. Could I handle keeping her all by myself so my beautiful wife could leave for a much needed break? I distinctly remember having this fear that the entire world would explode and things would happen that were simply beyond my college degree educated self. I mean, I wanted to do it. I needed to do it so that I could do my part. But wow, was I terrified.
Then the time came and I did it. I’m sure that I never once took my eye off of her. I handled the feeding and the changing and the holding and the crying. Amazingly, we survived, her better than I as I was emotionally and physically exhausted. But, as insane as it sounds, I felt so proud of myself that I’d done it. In retrospect, I realize that I had crossed a very long bridge. A bridge of accepting my responsibility and pushing aside those fears that I had and doing what I needed to do, both for my wife and for myself.
I thought about this moment from twelve years ago as I was wrapping up an evening with our three younger kids. An evening where I’d made dinner, given baths, brushed and blow dried Willow’s long hair and did various and sundry other chores while Peanut and my wife were out and about. I realized that I had handled all of these things without fear or trepidation because I had fully accepted my role. I was their dad and her husband and this is what I do now. I have grown into this person, now 43 years old and due to God’s favor, still growing.
Am I still afraid. Yes, absolutely. I still worry that something I do will have terrible consequences for those that I love. But those fears are smaller than ever now while my love for these amazing, beautiful, smart, creative, terrifying creatures continues to grow and dwarf those fears. I am so blessed to be their dad and I gladly accept the job, every day.