As Andrea and I wrapped up the finishing touches on the nursery, we found a wallpaper border that spoke volumes for what I envision for Swee’Pea and TheMonk. I am four weeks, at most, from being a father and all I think about is these two precious souls that I will be meeting soon. I am now, more than any other time in my life, acutely aware of who I am, and who I will have to be once these gifts are born. I am ready to be a father. I’m ready to foster joy, encourage dreams, give unconditional love, share hopes, know peace and teach an unadulterated belief in themselves.
I’m aware of the influence I will have on these children – good or bad. I know there will be hardships but I also know each moment will be special and not to be taken for granted. You see, impending fatherhood has given me a real sense of my own mortality. My father died when I was six years old. While I have vague memories of him I believe most of my memories are created through photographs that I have seen over the years. I do, however, remember how he smelled. To this day, whenever I smell something that conjures up the image of my father, I feel comforted.
At least I have a sense of who my father was. My younger brother was only a year old when he died and, I’m sure, has no real recollection of him. I can only imagine how hard it must be to have no memory of your father. I have always done the best I can to be there for my brother but I know that there is no substitute for the real thing.
And that has got me thinking about my own situation. I so badly want to be there for my children. I want to see their first smiles, their first steps, hear their first words, hear them say “Daddy” for the first time. I want to see them play sports, play music, or just… play. I look forward to seeing them grow up – a series of milestones that include baptisms, first communions, first days of kindergarten, graduations, marriages and grandchildren. I want them to know how much their father loves them and that I will always be there for them – in a way I, nor my brother, never had.
When I was younger I often wondered if I would know what it is to be a father. Not having a father role-model made me scared that perhaps I wouldn’t be up for the task. But now, I know better. The love I have for these two beautiful babies leads my thoughts and my actions. Love comes first and I know that love is enough to start.
The rest I’m just gonna have to figure out.
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