Monday, September 18, 2006

I'm a Dad

I'm a Dad. I like to think I'm a good dad, but I'm not sure. Many people have been telling me I will make a great dad for quite a long time, but I'm not sure. I doubt I can know if I met any kind of standards for years to come.

I can say, I do say, "I love being a dad." Really, I do. (But I do not have any shirts yet.) I cannot imagine living life otherwise now that I have a child. It is as if life before Katie, which was fine and good, was just a precursor to what I'm doing now. This is what I was meant to do. Here are a couple minor examples:

Jay came over Saturday night and we watched a Tennesee lose to Floriday. During the first half of the game I changed a diaper. It took me just a few seconds, and like every time I've changed Katie's diapers it just felt natural. Jay's comment was something along the line of, "That was amazing. It took me two years to feel that comfortable changing Conner's diapers." Now, I'm sure he doesn't remember life way back then all that clearly, but it was a very nice thing to say.

Tonight Kristi said to me, "You love to feed Kaitlyn. It's so obvious to see when you're doing it." My mom has said similar things a couple of times. The truth is, I don't see it. I don't know I'm showing any special love to her. I just know, grok even, how to do it. I know how much to wake her, keep her alert, feed her, and even get her to burp when other people seem to be missing parts of the process.

I'm not sure how, but I know what I need to do. What I can do. What I should do.

Now, let me tell you another story about Jay. Kristi came out and the three of us were talking about having a child in the NICU. Jay & Jen's second son Ryan (now 5 years old and doing fine) was admitted into a NICU after first spending a couple days at home. As Jay told the story he didn't show a great deal of emotion, his voice didn't change inflection and his body seemed relaxed. But his left hand reached up and wiped away a tear that came to his eye as he talked about the struggle his son experienced a long time ago. It seems to me that this simple gesture, almost hidden, is one of those things that might by itself qualify Jay as a good dad.

And to all those Dads in my life who had a child in trouble, please accept my apology. I know so little about how to offer support now, and I knew much less then. I'm sorry I wasn't there for you.

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