My Dad is Fantastic

 

Growing up, I was ridiculously fortunate to have a loving family that showed me what it means to have a good household. I was provided with everything I needed. I was cared for. I was given all the opportunity in the world. Both of my parents are astounding parents, but because I’m becoming a father myself, I’ve thought more about my own father recently.

This is my father toasting my wife and I at our wedding reception. I'm blown away by this photo.

This is my father toasting my wife and I at our wedding reception. I’m blown away by this photo.

It’s funny how we take our parents for granted until we grow older. Why is it that we are so incapable of acknowledging the sacrifices and time and money that they gave for us growing up? I’ve been thinking a lot about my childhood, aided by the fact that my mom made me a photo album with several pictures from every year. Flipping through that book, I was amazed, blown away, at how many pictures my dad was in.

I was one of those kids growing up that was always involved in sports – Baseball in the spring, Soccer in the fall, Basketball in the winter – and I loved it. Flipping page to page in this awesome photo book, he was there. Page after page after page. I choked up, realizing how lucky I am, how incredible it was that he was able to make the time season after season, year after year, to be there for me. It reminded me of all the times growing up where I was fortunate to be able to head out to the field in my dad’s old truck, listening to music as we got ready for the game. Those are incredible memories.

Image

Top photo, Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, OR circa about 1994. Bottom Photo, unknown location, Circa about 1996.

My point of this post is not just to reminisce about my awesome dad. My point is that I’m blessed to have had such an outstanding example of what it means to be a man, a father and a husband. I have seen what it means to be present in your child’s life. I have seen what it means to be strong, dependable, consistent – all attributes I aspire to. I have had an example for me to fall back on, that has given me the vision of what to aspire for as I embark on the journey of becoming a father. I’m eternally grateful for him.

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Two Weeks to the Big Ultrasound – Boy or Girl?

My wife is currently 17 1/2 weeks pregnant, which means we are rapidly approaching the big ultrasound and things are getting very real around here. Only two weeks from today and we’ll be watching our little peanut, measuring everything, making sure it’s healthy, and also finding out what we’re having. I’m absolutely thrilled; this ultrasound truly can’t come fast enough.

My wife is fortunate enough to be working in a medical office, which has allowed her to do her own ultrasounds from time to time so she can check on the baby and see how it’s growing. She absolutely adores doing it, and seeing it’s little hands and feet dancing around bring tears to her eyes. I on the other hand do not have this luxury. Our big ultrasound will be my first look at the baby (other than the still shots my darling wife has brought home) since our first check up. I can’t even express my sheer and utter excitement and the thought of seeing my child.

Sure, I want to know what gender our little angel is, more for the thought of being able to narrow down the day dreams than anything else. Will it be a little mini-me of my beautiful and hysterical wife, or will it be a little boy, my little man that wants to be just like dad? I’m anxiously awaiting being able to pin this down, because quite frankly, my brain is tired of dreaming of both options. 

Most importantly, I just can’t wait to meet it, hold it, look it face to face and know that this is my baby. I day dream almost constantly about the wonders of parenting – the bond and the memories, the trials and tribulations, even down to just the smallest of things like holding my baby and seeing it’s eyes for the first time – and more than anything in the world, I dream of getting to know this little miracle. I cannot wait to know who he or she will be. And yeah, I get it. I’m a sap.

So, two weeks. Two weeks left to ponder and wait and twiddle my thumbs. Two weeks until this journey reaches another major mile stone in being able to pin down what our future holds, and one step closer to meeting and knowing who this little peanut will be.

Sunrise in Oregon

Sunrise in Oregon

Sometimes it only takes something simply stunning to inspire the heart. I’m feeling awfully contemplative today, and like every day, mostly about the type of father I want to be.

“Any fool can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a daddy.” – Philip Whitmore Sr.

Expecting Fathers, Be Patient

Hormones suck. Lets just start this post with a little bit of honesty. As a man, I just don’t like them. We as men get the perks of a great hormone known as testosterone, which gives us manly beards, makes us want to chop down trees and hunt and do manly things like grilling. Our lovely and more delicate counterparts though don’t have it that lucky, especially during pregnancy.

Hormonal pregnant women by no means is a brand new topic – it’s written about and joked about extensively. But I’m telling you men out there, you don’t know the half of it until your wife is the one with that lovely pregnancy hormone progesterone flowing through her body.

I love my wife. She’s incredible, hilarious, compassionate, beautiful, and even more beautiful now that she is carrying our child. But pregnant woman need (and deserve) a little more patience from men than we tend to give them. When they ask you to go to the store for something because it’s the only thing in the entire world that sounds delicious to them, only for them not to be able to stand the smell of it after we’ve gone out in the rain to get it for them, it sucks. But, guess what? It’s not their faults, gents. It’s not that they do it on purpose to spite us. Their hormones are in flux at all times creating all sorts of lovely situations as this.

Honestly, this is something I struggle with. Sometimes things just don’t make sense. “Why on earth did you order that for dinner and not even touch it?” It’s easy to get flustered, but it just isn’t fair. This lovely woman is carrying my child and her body is changing almost constantly. I have to remember that.

So gentleman, be patient. Forgive her. Allow her to vent and steam if she needs to and laugh and cry 5 minutes later. And hey, while you’re at it, do some chores. Do the dishes, clean the laundry, sweep the living room. It will mean the world to her that you take on those responsibilities. Taking on the responsibilities now will make her that much more confident that you will be a great father when your little peanut arrives.

 

“As Long as it’s Healthy.” Why I Hate This Saying.

We’ve all heard it. A common response to an even more common question (“So what are you hoping for there, champ?”), the soon-to-be mother or soon-to-be father responds with a smile, saying “Oh, it really doesn’t matter to us. As long as it’s healthy.” The soon-to-be mother then places her hands on her belly, looks down, and smiles. It truly does seem harmless, and even well intentioned, but I absolutely despise this saying, and I’ll tell you why.

“As long as it’s healthy” implies the connotation that if this beautiful and perfect and precious baby is born with any issues whatsoever, that it will in some way be a failure; that it will not be the cherished bouncing baby that the parents had always dreamed of. Every single child comes into this world with an individual life, a different personality, and a different future. Sure, many fathers imagine the years spend teaching their son the joys of athletics, and women swoon at the thought of their little princess on prom day.

But what happens if it doesn’t go as planned?

What if your child is born with a birth defect, or a genetic disease of some kind? What if your child’s life is slightly less “normal” than the life of their classmates and friends?

Of course I pray that my child will be born healthy and strong – as every parents would hope – but if God has other plans, there really isn’t a whole lot I can do about that, is there? It will mean only one thing to me, and that is that the life of my child will simply have a different  definition of normal.

It would not make my child less perfect. It would not make my wife and I love our child any less.

Parents, love your children UNCONDITIONALLY, not conditionally based on the circumstances of which they are born. So please, no more of this saying. Value the perfect miracle that your child is for exactly who they are.

 

 

What It Is

Hello out there, you crazy fast word known as the internet. Welcome to my blog. I wanted to start this blog off by setting some expectations for any readers, to give you all an idea of what this blog will start out as, where I see it going, ect.

The beauty of this blog is the fact that, like life and all that will change when my beautiful little nugget of joy arrives in about 5 months (holy cow that’s coming up quick…), I’m entirely expecting it to change. I don’t know where it’s going to go or take me, or the emotional and life-changing events, experiences and memories that will be shared here. Nor do I know the amount of laughter, tears, humility and joy that will be expressed in this forum, either. What I do know is where I stand today though – a 23 year old that is married to the absolute greatest woman God has ever created (in my humble opinion) who is expecting his first child. That’s where I stand – completely thrilled and exhilarated and slightly scared out of my shorts, but I’m here, leaning on the grace of God as my beautiful wife and I embark on this journey. I plan on posting no fewer than once a week, and no more than 100 times per day. I promise.

I decided to start this blog for several reasons. First, I like writing. It’s fun. Plain and simple. And if I enjoy doing something, why not do it in a way that (hopefully) will help provide a tiny bit of wisdom and a whole bunch of free entertainment for the masses? Secondly, I started this blog as an interactive experience to share my joys, trials, triumphs and failures, which is a whole lot of vulnerability, in hopes of inspiring conversation with all you wonderful people. I want your input; I want your knowledge. FEED ME. Thirdly, I created this blog to bring glory to God for the countless – literally countless, I’ve tried – blessings he has brought and will continue to bring into my life.

So, this is it – the beginning. A blank page with some words and thoughts and feelings that hopefully will provide an incredible journey. I hope to share this fantastic and frightening and exciting journey with as many of you as possible. So, thank YOU for being here. Without readers, I just become a crazy person screaming in the wilderness to a bunch of empty space.

And with that, we’re off.