When we were kids, we may not have thought about someday being a dad. As kids, we tend to focus on the here and now rather than on where we will be in 10-20 years. We might think about career choices like being a fireman, doctor, soldier, or police officer. However, the most rewarding “career” choice that may never cross our mind is being a dad.
In 1992, I had just started my senior year in high school and that same year I learned that I was going to be a father. I can’t adequately put into words all of the feelings, emotions, and fright that I experienced back then. However, I do remember my girlfriend asking me the question, “Should I have an abortion?”. I didn’t even take time to think it through and immediately responded, “No”. At just 17 years old, I didn’t believe that abortion was an OK form of birth control. I understood that the decision was not entirely up to me, but if I am given a choice, I would most certainly choose life for my baby.
In January 1993, I became a dad of a beautiful and healthy baby girl. I never once gave any thought about the fact that I was still a child myself. My mindset went from having fun with my friends into I need to focus on graduating high school and work as many hours as I can to support my new little girl.
Who I Am Now Is Who I Wanted To Be
In 2000 I married (later divorced) and in November 2001, I became a dad to a beautiful baby boy. My children were (and still are) such a huge part of my life. I feel that it is my duty to help to raise loving, caring, kind, and intelligent children.
These little people really defined who I am as a person and they constantly challenged me. In the words of Tim McGraw, these kids made me, “Better than I was, more than I am…and who I am now Is who I wanted to be.” Children change your mindset and challenge you to think about more than just yourself. When you make decisions, you think about how they will affect your children. You strive to make decisions that are best for those little people who have no control over the environment you expose them to.
There was nothing easy about my transition into instant adulthood. I still make a ton of childish mistakes, as I mentioned in my previous post Making Time for Those You Love. However, I try my best to do everything I can to be the best dad I can be.
My daughter is now 28 and my son will be 20 in a few months. However, my journey of being a dad is far from over.
A couple of years ago the decision was made to expand our family. My fiancée and I welcomed our amazing little boy into the world. I am again overwhelmed with feelings and emotions similar to what I felt with my other children. At the same time, I feel that I have a better grasp of what I need to do as a dad to ensure that my youngest has what he needs to grow and learn. I am not saying that I have it all figured out because there is still so much to learn.
Being a Dad is the Greatest Job in the World
Being a dad is the greatest job in the world. I get so much satisfaction from seeing my children grow and learn. Being there to experience their triumphs whether it is a sport, music, academic, or simply making you a cup of tea in their toy kitchen or making a car out of Legos.
The rewards aren’t only in their triumphs, some of the greatest rewards are the experiences of kissing boo-boos, holding them as they cry (no matter how old they are), making them giggle, and hearing them tell you that they love you.
The decision to be a dad was the greatest choice that I ever made. I can’t imagine my life without my children. They truly give my life purpose and meaning. If I have an opportunity to have another little one, you better believe that I’ll be ready! I may be pretty ancient by the time I have any grandchildren, but it will be totally worth it when the time comes.