“Being a father will be by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever attempted.
Luckily, we have loving family and friends who are willing to offer any and all help that they can.
Just as I have throughout my life, I know the other dads around me will be ready with the perfect bit of knowledge right when I need it.”
Nearly seven years ago to the day, those words marked the closing of my debut column in the Daily Journal.
In the lead up to Father’s Day 2015, my wife and I were preparing for the birth of Anthony, our first child. He was expected to arrive in mid-July. My editor at the time posed a question to me — would I like to write a Father’s Day column from the perspective of a first-time dad?
I had never done a column before, but I was excited by the challenge. I agreed.
Thinking about what to write, I tried to describe how we — me in particular — were getting ready for our new arrival. The influence of my own father, and my two grandfathers, weighed heavily on my mind.
“My grandfathers showed me, as early as my own childhood, the kind of environment that love, support and sacrifice can create,” I wrote. “They taught me that putting others before yourself can reap tremendous rewards, and that the true joy in life is seeing happiness reflecting in others.”
“My own father demonstrated the basics: A job is never done until it’s done correctly; keep your eye on the ball; treat others the way you want to be treated. He showed me how to ride a bike and grill a steak, how to start a campfire and change your own oil,” I continued.
Every week I have a chance to share my own fatherhood journey with those who read this column. Much has changed in the seven years since my initial look at Father’s Day.
Anthony has grown from a tiny thing so delicate I was afraid to move when I held him to a dynamo who rarely stops running, jumping and falling. Just for fun, when his mom and I aren’t looking, he’ll see how far he can leap off the couch or how high on the stairs he can launch from.
We’ve watched him take his first steps, say his first word, make his first friends, head off to his first day of school. He’s becoming his own person, with his own interests and dislikes, and it’s exhilarating to watch.
I know I’ve changed as well. Patience and selflessness are must-haves when raising a child, two qualities I’m not sure were paramount before Anthony was born. I used to think that weekends were for going out with friends, staying out late and sleeping in. Now the best moments are being together as a family around the campfire, sitting on the front porch or watching a movie all on the couch.
Both of my grandparents have passed away since my first column. But their guidance, their examples on how to live, are with me every day. And my own dad is always available to answer a question and share in the our day-to-day joy. He’s taken to being Grandpa Kevin quite well.
Just as I had hoped in those weeks before Anthony was born, they’ve never stopped guiding me through fatherhood. I know they never will.
Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there.