“I can’t believe you have a freakin’ kid.”
I hear that phrase a lot now from my old high school and college friends.
“I know,” I say in reply. “It’s crazy.”
It is still a little weird to me, I guess. Even weirder how time seems to have sped up since the day I first laid eyes on my son.
As I write this, there are bags and party favors and crafts scattered across the desk, remnants of party décor and goodie bags that my wife has been frantically putting together in preparation for Timothy’s first birthday.
I was the first to procreate out of a tight knit group of friends who came together in the early days of grade school. This sometimes makes me feel like a bit of a spectacle to the rest, something to marvel at as their lives splinter off, childless, spouseless, and free to do whatever they please while I’m fixed in place with a wife, a mortgage, and a baby who is a miniature eating, pooping, drooling machine.
Some of them might look at my situation and think they’d like to be where I am, but not yet. Others might see it as something to avoid altogether.
To me? I can’t think of anything greater than being a parent. I can barely remember life before my son, and I certainly can’t imagine life without him.
Regardless, I still catch myself in the mirror and marvel at the fact that the guy staring back at me is a father, even though I know I don’t look the part. Bearded, a silver gauge still hanging out of my left ear and convinced I’ll never be too old to wear a Rage Against the Machine shirt out of the house or play bass in a punk band.
Growing up, my dad was a suit guy. He was a professional, a banker. Me? I write. Blogs, columns, essays. I put words on paper. And since I’m a starving artist, I spend my days screen printing t-shirts and working odd jobs to supplement our household income.
It’s okay though, because I love who I am, and I love my life, struggles and all. But ultimately it doesn’t matter what I do for a living. It doesn’t matter if I’m a writer, or a screen printer, or a punk bassist. All that matters is THAT MOMENT when I heard the nurse squeal with joy as my wife gave one last push.
THAT MOMENT when I heard the voice of my baby boy for the first time.
THAT MOMENT when God made a father.
When I think back to my childhood, what I remember most about my father was that he loved me unconditionally and worked his whole adult life to provide for my sister and me. He was never too tired or too angry or too stressed to make time for us.
And in turn, when my children are grown and out on their own, it’s not going to matter what kind of job their old man worked, either. It’s not going to matter if I was suits guy or a t-shirt guy — a banker or a writer.
What they will remember is that I was there for them; that I made time for them — to love them, and teach them about life, about God, about good music, good food, good books and everything in between.
That’s my goal — to fulfill my purpose.
Because when God made me, he made a father.