As we near another father’s day celebration I can’t help but look back on how far our young family has come. Ten years ago Samantha and I were sitting on a beach in Jamaica with no children, still only 3 years into our young marriage. We knew that eventually we would want to start a family, but at the time we were simply enjoying life with each other. I remember those days fondly, thankful for the foundation we created. Over the past eight years we’ve added 4 children to our crew, but at the center still remains our love for each other.
I’ve said it before, and I still believe it: the best thing I can do for my children as their father is to love their mother. That gets more complicated with the introduction of children. There’s less time for us as we prioritize doing things for and with our children, particularly in this current phase where we have a newborn. I’ve remarked to a few of my close friends that the hardest part of having a newborn isn’t the lack of sleep, it’s missing my boo during this phase of the process. I have to share her more, and while it’s only temporary, it doesn’t make it any easier. Fortunately, the feeling is mutual and I’m already daydreaming about our first getaway post baby.
I read somewhere that success is simply faithfulness to the process. Fatherhood, and parenthood in general, is absolutely a process. But it’s up to us to decide what type of process it’ll be. It begins with a vision for what you want to be true for your marriage and family. Years before we had children Samantha and I would discuss aspects of parenting, how we would raise our children, the values that mattered to us, etc. While we were dating in college, still over a decade off from children, we had conversations about whether or not we would even want kids. (For example, we had an ongoing debate- I wanted 6 children, she wanted 2. I guess we compromised on the 4 we have now). The point is, we decided what mattered to us early on and we adjusted course as we gained more context. I remember after our oldest was born, in the first few weeks I seriously questioned why anyone would go through this multiple times. But then that phase passed and I realized that it was simply a phase. In the grand scheme of things, parenting a newborn doesn’t last very long (it’s this truth that gives me comfort these days!).
Here’s the other reality I’m coming to terms with: the current phase we’re in as parents (regardless of the phase) doesn’t last forever. There’s some pros and cons to this reality. On the plus side, it means that soon my 2 year old will be done with her night terrors and I won’t find myself laying in her bed at 2am or hers in mine. On the downside, that probably also means that soon she won’t be running to greet me at the door when I come home everyday. That’s the thing about fatherhood- you can’t separate the good from the bad. That’s how the process works; you just have to go through it with a purpose and a plan, hoping that along the way the good outweighs the bad.
There’s a lot of good happening in my ever lively household these days. For example, ever since my young chef in residence attended her first cooking class, she’s been itching to try out new recipes. So last weekend we purchased a watermelon and created a watermelon smoothie. It was a messy, but fun process, and ultimately we got to enjoy the fruits of our labor (likely a metaphor for so many things in life these days!). And, it almost didn’t happen, given that both Samantha and I were under the weather. But, as they say, the show must go on. Here’s a quick glimpse at how our watermelon adventure went. I’d better enjoy it while it lasts.