I vividly remember the moment I became a Dad.
It wasn’t that insanely messy and beautiful heart-racing and emotional moment Amelia first squinted her eyes from the light of a world that she’d reflect it back to, nor the cut of her umbilical cord, or her first diaper change. It wasn’t even when Robin and I stared at the one we became to make us three, and then four.
It happened 5 months after she was born. We were in bed lying on our sides and staring into one another’s eyes. I still go back to that moment; we were two humans lost in a comfortable set of peepers that we knew held trust and love. Then, a tiny smile spread across her face and I promptly went in for a cuddle. That’s the day I felt like Dad, and thus, “officially” crowned myself with my new moniker.
In lieu of Father’s Day, I thought about writing a list of things I’ve learned since becoming a dad – there are many. But, as I went through my list, one item continually outweighed the rest. That lesson? Don’t race through life at a break-neck pace, slow down, go steady, and be aware of the changes that come gradually, the ones that are long lasting.
This isn’t something that comes easily, nor is it lived out consistently, but I’m certainly more mindful of it’s existence now than ever before.
My, our, celebration on Sunday is about more than what I give to our family, it’s also what they’ve given to me. It’s remembering to teach our children well, while having our ears and eyes open to the wisdom they continually offer, if we’re aware.
This Father’s Day, my biggest gift isn’t breakfast in bed while watching the news, though I’m hoping this not-so-subtle hint will make that a reality. No, my gift will come the following Saturday in Duluth, Minnesota when I run my first marathon.
If not for our kids, and Robin, I wouldn’t be this close to achieving one of my greatest personal goals. Without their life lesson, that a steady pace makes for a healthier being, I may still be racing around, running out of breath, and missing the moments that make this life so excellent.
Next Saturday, I’ll be the tortoise they’ve taught me to understand, I’ll try to enjoy the fruits of months of training, and I’ll know that I don’t cross that finish line alone.
Who better than Crosby, Still, Nash, and Young to round out these thoughts?
Happy Father’s Day to all the men making a difference in the lives of our children, especially mine who made me the man I am today.
Andrew Meyer is a Special Education teacher from Madison, Wisconsin, whose wife’s job relocation changed their family roles and physical location. He's now a stay-at-home dad in Madison, Alabama, to two awesomely creative, sometimes challenging, and mostly sweet five and two-year-old girls who fill his days, nights, and in-between spaces. When with or without them, he writes, works-out, wonders, wishes he wouldn’t worry, wrestles with his wife’s commitment to her job, and listens to music. You can also find him at www.papasense.wordpress.com, on Twitter @papasense, and Facebook.