Today marks the first year anniversary of me becoming a dad. Me. At 32 years of age, most would describe me as an adult. But most of the time, even during the last 365 days that I’ve been the parent and custodian of an actual living being, I’ve often felt that I’m not particularly good at adulting. And, frankly, it’s sometimes a bit alarming to realize that you’re responsible for a kid even though, deep down, you feel like you’re still a kid yourself.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love being a father and wouldn’t give it up for anything. My daughter, Hannah, is definitely the joy of my life, second only to my wife, Rebecca. What I love the most are the little moments: feeding Hannah in the morning, playing with her in the few spare minutes I have before heading out the door to work, rushing home to see her before she falls asleep, taking her on adventures, (usually strapped to my back) during the weekends. It’s these things that give meaning to my life and make my endless toiling away in the office seemingly worth something…
I’m also amazed at how she has a personality so distinct from mine and Rebecca’s. Before I became a father, I had this naïve impression that children are essentially the blends of their parents, both physically and when it comes to personalities. But while I am somewhat reserved (I have been described as having “quiet confidence”) and while Rebecca is quite shy, Hannah is a firecracker and cleary on the path to the becoming an extrovert. She loves playtime, and she loves meeting people and making new friends.
Sometimes I worry about her teenage years, and how hard those will likely be for me. Becoming a father has awoken within me a very protective nature. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been very protective of Rebecca, the same way I was protective of my younger brother Ed when we were kids. But, something about having a kid, a daughter no less, ramps up your level of protectiveness to a whole new level. I absolutely dread the day when she starts thinking about boys and all the heart ache that will likely entail. I think the best I can do is raise her to speak her mind, know her worth, and think independently. With attributes like that, hopefully the doofus boys of the world shouldn’t stand a chance.
Anyway, these have been my meditations on the anniversary of the coming of father. It’s been tough, and sometimes it feels like a slog, but boy, is it worth it. 🙂