On being a dad

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That’s me on the left (your left)

I’ve never been a religious person. But the day my daughter was born was the day I saw God looking back at me.

Rory was born 6 months after my father passed away. It was the most trying time in my life.

She was born the day after my birthday on August 22nd, 2013. It was a home birth. I sat jammed up on the bed between the wall and my wife as her hands gripped mine —my seemingly strong hands were no match for the superhuman strength of a newly initiated mother — and Rory made her way into this world.

I remember changing her diaper for the first time. It was a first for the both of us, and I had no idea how to manipulate this little wet noodle of a mini-human in front of me.

Before Rory was born, I always thought I knew what it felt like to be a dad. I’d get frustrated at my dad when he was hard on me or overprotective or weird. I thought it was inconsiderate and I rebelled a bit.

But now I understand — with every ounce of my being — how strong a father’s love really is. And how crazy we can be when we feel scared.

Sitting here typing this to you, I honestly can’t remember what it was like to not be a dad. And I’m only 3 years into it. Rory has totally transformed my life and I’m only in the early stages of this journey.

I am a father. This is my number one role as a human, and has been since those eyes stared into my soul. In everything I do — in my work, as a husband, friend, citizen, etc. — I am, first and foremost, a dad.

Our last photo together…

Dad, I don’t know if you read my stuff, but if you do, I miss the hell out of you. Rory reminds me so much of you and I hope you can see how long her eyelashes are and how she’s as nit picky as you.

You were always there for me. Sure, we had our battles. Big, hunkin’ blow-outs. You remember. But you were always there when I needed you. No matter the time of day or night, I could swing by or call whenever I needed you.

You showed me the value in being present. Present in mind, body, and spirit. If I can do this for Rory the rest of my days, I’ll have fulfilled my role pretty damn well.

So here’s to you, dads out there — both biological and non-biological. Our role is more important than ever. We’re needed. Fulfilling this incredible responsibility we’ve been blessed with is the number one most important thing we can do as humans. And I mean that a hundred percent. Not just to provide for our families, but to be present. To be that firm but loving male polarity to our kids and partners. To lovingly bless our fathers and how they raised (or didn’t raise) us, but to also think twice about raising our kids the way we were raised. And to give ourselves a break knowing we’re going to flub a lot of stuff up, but that’s ok. Because we’re there. And we love. And that’s perfect.

Happy Father’s Day.


Jonas Ellison is a transformational coach and daddy-blogger who helps people find their Mojo using spiritual, philosophical, and practical tools. To get his short vignettes in your inbox daily

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