|Grumpy P and the chicks, Father's Day, 2006 at Bluffer's Park|
"The first time you hear the word 'Daddy', I don't care who you are, your heart just melts."
I blame Three Men and a Baby.
|Tim, brand-new. Nice specs, Dad. Good idea with the sticker, too.|
"When that kid looks into your eyes and you know it's yours, you know what it means to be alive."
|Learning how to diaper my son|
"A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for."
|The first Father's Day for Grumpy P|
"To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while." ~ Josh Billings
|Grumpy P, Tim @ 7 1/2 months and Lacy|
"Kids spell love T-I-M-E." ~ John Crudele
|Jill, Tim, Grumpy P, homeward bound|
And, in that way, I slid into the most comfortable, most rewarding and most fulfilling job I have ever had in my life: I became a Stay-At-Home Dad.
"You have a lifetime to work, but children are only young once." ~ Polish Proverb
|Grumpy P and Jill (her 2nd Christmas)|
"A father is someone who carries pictures where his money used to be."
|Jill at 6: never too old to cuddle|
"The guys who fear becoming fathers don't understand that fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man. The end product of child raising is not the child but the parent." ~ Frank Pittman, Man Enough
|The Penguin Family, Christmas, 2006|
If I hadn't been a Dad I wouldn't have had to conquer my aversion to runny noses, learn how to braid hair, or clean up vomit from a throw rug at an hour of the morning that shouldn't even have a number associated with it (only to repeat the procedure ten minutes later). I would never have realized that it only takes a nanosecond for your non-swimmer child to fall silently into a pool while backing up to look at the full moon, needing to be rescued by a family friend, the only person who saw it happen even though I was sitting right there. I would never have needed to develop the innate sense of when there is traffic approaching so I can grab the arm of a child flying past me before he darts out in front of a car neither one of us saw coming. I would never have had to learn that croup can be fatal (it wasn't in Jill's case, luckily), having heard the word tossed about carelessly in my earlier years (eg, "sounds like she has a touch of the croup" when really it's just a bad cough).
If I hadn't been a Dad I wouldn't have cared whose parents were home if they were throwing a party; I wouldn't have had to try to see the logic in a decision to proceed towards a BSc, one year each at the top two universities in Canada, only to conclude that future joy and satisfaction really lies in Theatre Production; I would never have had to "dress appropriately for the weather" simply to set an example for anyone else in my company that day.
But if I hadn't been a Dad I would not be the man I am now - nor, really, a man at all for it brought me maturity that I would never have found from any other source. No, it's not for everyone and I had no idea how much I needed to be a Dad when I was younger, but being a Dad is the single most awe-inspiring, life-affirming, soul-enriching, heartwarming and spiritually uplifting thing I have ever done or will ever do with my life. I would do it all over again right now, if I could; with even the slightest bit of luck I will get my wish and Sarah and I will have a child together. Yes, even at my age.
If I hadn't been a Dad? Unimaginable, now, and quite possibly the saddest thought I have ever had to contemplate. Because I am a Dad and it's the best thing ever.
"It is much easier to become a father than to be one." ~Kent Nerburn, Letters to My Son: Reflections on Becoming a Man