Disclosure: This Father’s Day post is in partnership with Life of Dad and Pampers.
All opinions are my own.
15 years ago on Father’s Day, it was just another day. Sure we got my dad something but that was the end of it. It was just another day.
A few short months later, life as we knew it changed. Our oldest daughter decided that she was going to finally grace us with her presence. Now I know you have heard the horror stories of getting up all hours of the night constantly changing their diapers, but guess what? Didn’t become a problem. My wife had very solid plans for our child and that plan started from the day she was born. Soothers were not introduced right away and her last feed was just before bedtime, no waking her up every couple of hours to feed her. As long as she was not disturbed she would sleep peacefully till a semi human hour (about 6 am).
Everything played out and when we took her home we got to have our full nights sleep the same as before (did I mention, my wife is good). But good or not, everything still must change. You look at your house different, your car, your day to day life. Automatically you make changes to make things safer and to accommodate the new part of your life. You do it without thinking because overnight you became a dad. You became what your father modeled you to be.
I always wanted children and yes I knew there would be bumps (I have siblings, trust me I knew there would be bumps) and without question things have popped up over the years.
First time Father (of a daughter)
Our oldest is a tomboy, she loves sports and she loves school, she volunteers her time willingly and often and does it because she enjoys it. Adults always speak well of her and her behaviour. She is no girly girl though and sometimes that makes it hard for some of our family to understand as not a lot of her cousins were tomboys. It was not a huge issue to us but a lot of family wanted to focus on just girly toys for presents. It was always hard for them to understand her less then enthusiastic response.
Then it was time for a Son
Our son was next and then began the real adventure. Around 18 months old, my wife started to notice that he had started to lose much of his forward progress. His speech skills deteriorated and his bubbly nature dried up. As active as he was, he started to just sit there and spin the wheels on his toys. It did not take much of a guess and some tests quickly confirmed his autism diagnosis.
For the purposes of clarity he has significant levels of autism, is classed non verbal and is a high flight risk. Of course he is full time work for both of us. Since he is 13 and just a hair in short of me in height, he has the potential to be powerful if upset. As a father I have two minds on this. I would give anything for him to be able to experience things the way the rest of us do. Yet I would never change that much about him because in reality, he is my son and changing him would change a whole lot about who I have become.
Finishing it off with another daughter
I have mentioned in the past how my wife is really, really great. Well she is, child three (our youngest daughter, and our last child by nature of medical necessity) was a lovely bubbly baby girl. A sweet lovely little girl who very early showed signs of something called ODD or Oppositional Defiance Disorder. This “lovely” disorder causes sweet loving children (often very sweet looking young girls) into a living version of the child from the Exorcist.
Now parenting really became a two parent job. If our daughter goes into a ODD episode, it was guaranteed to set off our son, who would lash out. So every time our daughter had a meltdown, so would he. This meant one of us (usually me) would take him away when she started (or take her away, which ever was easiest). Once they were separated, we would work on cooling them both down so we could get moving. These issues as a general rule could take an hour usually.
My wife had the bright idea of using the ABA that we learned to help our son, on our daughter to help her modify her meltdowns and was extremely successful. It has led to a much more peaceful home and a much quieter drive.
True Father’s become what their children need
Every dad is the sum of their experiences and that our children have provided us with. I have learned life skills I never had before thanks to my kids. They have made me an advocate, an involved father. My children are largely responsible for the way I am. Though it was with some smoothing out from my wife, who was the one who helped make me a father in the first place.
It really is thanks to my children, (with support from my wife) that has made me into the father I am today. Without them, I would not be a father. Without them, I would not be half the man I am today.