I went all of my life wondering if I would have what it takes to be a father. My childhood was spent without one. One after another, self-proclaimed fathers had left my life and just as quickly as they entered.
The thought of being a father sent shivers down my spine and crippled my thoughts with fear.
I often wondered if my thoughts stemmed from my never knowing my biological father. My life was filled with questions about him, questions that would never be answered. Where did he go? Why did he leave? Who was he?
From a selfish standpoint, I didn’t want the emotional, mental, and physical tie-down that a child brings. I was accustomed to a certain way of living and I didn’t want to give it up. In short, sacrifices would have to be made.
That was a hard pill to swallow. I spent years crafting the perfect life. I had married the most amazing woman, traveled to multiple cities and countries, and had begun to lay the foundation of a successful investing career.
Why would I want to give it up?
The night before we were set to leave for Jamaica, the pregnancy test turned pink and in that moment, my wife and I knew that our lives had just changed. This trip would be very different than what we were accustomed to.
As days turned into months, my anxiety grew. I still didn’t have an answer to any of the questions I was asking. Would I? Could I? Should I?
In September 2015 my anxiety subsided with the most amazing noise on Earth. As my son entered the world, he reached out and grabbed my finger. I think he was trying to tell me that it was going to be ok. Without even thinking about it, I reached into my pocket, grabbed my phone and took a picture of that moment. I knew that this was a moment that I wanted to remember forever. And I do.
His arrival signified change.
As any parents know, the restless nights seem anything but temporary. Lucky for me, I have the most amazing wife. Because I was still working, she refused to wake me up every time that he woke. 1, 2, and 3 o’clock in the morning, it didn’t matter. If he was up, so was she.
Her eyes told a picture that he mouth wouldn’t dare tell. She was tired.
Those first four months were difficult. My son, the man I helped bring into this world, wanted nothing to do with me. You can’t prepare for that.
I made as many attempts as I could to soothe him, to comfort him, and to bring ease to whatever was bothering him but nothing worked as well as her voice, her touch, and her calm.
I wanted to help her on a level that didn’t include diapers and bath time but he didn’t want that. She was on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and I was just a spectator.
At approximately four months old, something happened. Suddenly, he realized that I was more than just another body in his house. I was his Dad and he wanted to be with me.
More importantly, after 33 years, I instantly knew what all the fuss was about. I was proud to be a father.
As he approached 9 months, it was my turn. For the next three months, he was mine and I his. My wife went back to work and I took three months off. During these three months that our bond solidified. We became closer than we had ever been.
Now entering his 18th month, he is the best part of my existence. The anxiety and fear that controlled my thoughts have been replaced with happiness and joy.
In hindsight, it is pretty easy to see that life always works out for those who allow it to. As if it were magic, everything I was worried about disappeared.
If I learned anything over the last 27 months, it is to embrace life for what it is… beautiful.