I love being a dad. This may sound weird, but ever since I was just an early teenager I dreamt of being a dad. So much so, that my sweet mother was freaked out enough to start telling 15 year-old me to not run out and get some girl pregnant just because I wanted to be a dad. Although probably unnecessary for me at that time, i appreciate my mothers advice, as I have found the perfect mother for our baby.
I have been a dad for just over 14.5 months now. It has been unbelievable! Words can not describe the joy i feel in my heart when my little girl gives me a wide-eyed smile at 6am. My heart melts with every sloppy, wet, open-mouthed kiss before bed. But even more than all that, what thrills my heart the most, are the secret powers that you are gifted with when you become a dad.
Before i became a father, there were many things that I was either no good at, or was vividly afraid of. For instance, I had no singing ability whatsoever. Many would argue (my wife especially) that this truth remains, however, mom gets shushed when only dad's voice can sing their little girl to sleep on a screaming car ride.
I am suddenly the strongest man I know. Before fatherhood, my arms were a bit flabby and couldn't do much. The second fatherhood hit, these flabby arms could destroy absolutely anything that came at me. without hesitation, I will defend my daughter in any way, shape, or form, and I will not lose.
However, the greatest secret power that has come upon me has absolutely changed my life forever, the ability to freeze time
Far too often, those 6am smiles don't come. Baby girl is too anxious to get started with her day. And far too often those sloppy, wet, open-mouthed kisses are non-existent due to a tired cry before bed. Over the past couple of weeks, Lucy and I have started a somewhat scattered routine of going on a walk, or going to the park while Jen prepares dinner. It was at this moment, just a few days ago, that I learned how to stop time.
We went to what I like to call a park around the corner. It's more so just a huge patch of grass, but so relaxing as not a sound can be heard. I sat Lucy down on the grass and she began to play. I watched her as she crawled back and forth trying to decide what she wanted to play with, the flower, or the dry, crunchy leaf. Of course, she choose the leaf. As I stared, I just felt the want for a big-ol' daddy-daughter hug, so I began to call out to her. To my belief, as she so often does, she acted like she didn't hear me. I called again, and the leaf won. Feeling defeated, I let her play and I laid flat on my back and closed my eyes. After just a minute or two (unless I fell asleep, which hopefully not, because that would make me a bad parent), I felt a small little finger poking my right nostril. I opened my eyes to see a smiling Lucy. I smiled back, and she laid her head flat on my chest.
The chest lay lasted only a couple seconds, but as soon as her ear hit my chest, time stood still. It felt like an eternity, and I was loving every second of it. At that moment I realized that I was able to freeze time. My moments like this with Lucy will not last forever. She's daddy's little girl, but one day she will grow up and become a woman, with a husband, and kids. Fingers crossed she will live right next door, but the odds of that luxury are against me. The next time I am lucky enough to get a 6am smile, or a sloppy wet kiss before bed, I will hold on to it, as long as i can.
You see, being a dad has taught me the importance of every moment I have. whether that be with my wife, my daughter, my friends, or the drunk man begging for money so he can buy another liter of booze. Each of these moments are a precious gift, and it is up to me what I do with them. I pray I can continue to walk in this new found power, and make the most of my time with every person that comes my way.
This coming weekend I will be leaving my family for a week. Our first time apart in Guatemala. I will have the joy and honor to travel with local organization 10 hours away from home where we will be building water wells and being a blessing to people in a small rural village. It's these moments with Lucy that will get me through the week. I will miss my girls terribly, but what a joy to know that they will be there when I return.
I pray we can all be lucky enough to learn this treasure. Whether you are a parent or not, each moment that comes is a blessing. Hold on and cherish it, for one day it may no longer be.