I desperately wanted to be a dad.
Luckily, my wife desperately wanted to be a mom.
And thanks to the love and support of our families (and science), we both got our wishes.
Growing up, my dad worked multiple jobs. He taught during the day, night school, some weekends, and then spent most of the summer as a day camp counselor (and then director).
Work ethic was something I saw early. Dad did his best to provide for our family, and I don’t remember ever truly wanting for anything.
When it came to college, he just said “Pick a place.” And when I picked the expensive private liberal arts college, he didn’t blink.
And through the years, if I’ve needed anything, Dad was there.
That kind of support is what I plan to provide for my girls.
The old joke is that “when you marry someone, you marry their family too.” For me, that’s been a great thing.
And through all the ups and downs and adversity he’s faced, he’s always there for his kids.
And of course, there’s my journey to becoming a father. We had tremendous support from both of our families, especially when we needed help from Modern Science.
I was the one who took the phone call when they told us Shannon was pregnant. Probably the greatest call of my life. Of course, until I got to call Shannon and tell her.
I remember standing in the hallway of my office. Sun streaming through the windows, a mid-day shot of adrenaline and happiness to the heart.
It was a rough pregnancy, but Shannon was the ultimate trooper. Gave up caffeine and chocolate, focused completely on giving our girls a great start.
Still, there were multiple hospital visits. An laparoscopic gallbladder surgery at 20 weeks. And then they came early.
I’ve narrowed it down to Six Commandments of Dadding:
6. Provide. Get out there and EARN, son. “Baby needs a new pair of shoes” is a real thing.
4. Be there. As much as possible. Put down the phone. (Something we all struggle with.) Engage with them, because every moment is precious.
3. Smile. I truly believe the positivity that Shannon and I pour into them is why our girls are awesome, smart, nice, helpful and happy. And smiles are free.
2. Be patient. (Something else I’m working on.) They’re kids, for Pete’s sake. Even if it’s at the end of a long day, that’s not their fault. Count to ten, take some deep breaths, and listen.
1. Show the love. Lots of hugs. Cuddles on the couch. When they want to be carried or ask for a piggyback ride, give it. They won’t ask forever. (And they’ll get too big or “grownup” to carry.) Besides, it’s a good mini-workout.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Enjoy your day — and every single moment!