I love being a father. “Father” is a bit on the formal side for my liking, so let’s make that “daddy” for now. I love the role even when it is unenjoyable. Sometimes the worst moments are the best moments!
For instance, what father–or mother for that matter–can think of early morning diaper changes without registering a slight twinge of pain buried deeply in their psyche. As they say, there are smells and sights that no one should see! And yet, the responsibility is really quite precious. And, I must ask, is there really anything on earth sweeter than those early morning smiles and coos that redeem it all? Even if it means tackling what must be the biggest instance of human excrement disposal known to mankind!? (Being daddy entitles me to a bit of hyperbole, I think.)
Can anything compare to the frustratingly delightful task of trying to prevent a pink-hooded leaf-eating-munchkin from doing what so naturally comes to her, eating the October leaves she’s playing in?
A father’s role is much different than a mother’s, and I would argue, much easier. It does, however, come with its own unique challenges. And, as it is the case with mothers, the very thing that would in any other context drive a guy nuts, become his very delight–at least a “dirty diaper” sort of delight.
There are many other double-edged realities to being a father which seem far more weighty than diaper changes or preventing leaf-eating. How about the fact that I am teaching my daughter every day, intentionally or unintentionally? That’s a big blessing. And a fearful responsibility. Umberto Eco once wrote in one of his novels: “I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us”. Fathers, chew on that one for a moment, and see if your knees don’t shake!
I never knew my father, and so even though becoming a father is what I wanted, the concept always seemed to be intimidating. I am encouraged to know that from here on, I can apply the lessons I’ve learned in the first seven months. That is more comforting to me than you can probably imagine. Quite the seven months its been, too!