A Father's Day letter for all first-time dads
Dear expecting dad,
I’m sure I’m not alone when it comes to the fears I had of being a first-time parent. Finding out that my wife was pregnant was exciting, but it was also frightening. When the day of the delivery came, the reality of what was about to happen finally started to click. I grew scared and nervous, yet still excited to finally meet our little boy.
I’ll never forget his big wide eyes as he laid in my arms for the very first time, staring at me like he was reading my soul. It’s funny how scared a five-pound baby can make you feel, how fragile and delicate they are in your arms. Was I holding him right? What if I dropped him?
Everything in my life stopped at that moment in the hospital. Thoughts of work and school were of no significance. I could only think of the new life in my arms, a life that was now my responsibility to protect and care for.
How could I possibly be ready for such a responsibility? How could anyone trust me to know what to do? I’d never felt more incompetent in my life, more ill-prepared than I did in that hospital, fearful yet excited for the hour when they would release us to go home.
After days and weeks of struggling to be that “perfect parent” — which I realized was quite impossible to achieve — I found myself in awe at the thought of our little boy. He trusted me implicitly as his father, knowing that I would change and hold him. It made me think about growing up, and how I never once thought that my father didn’t know what he was doing, that he felt unprepared. I always thought that my parents knew what they were doing, although they probably didn’t.
I don’t know if I’ll ever understand how such a small person, a child, can make a grown man lose his temper. It’s frightening how much anger we can express because of the actions of a child that doesn’t know any better.
New parents might think that something is wrong with them because they get so angry. They might feel guilty and even angrier because of it. No one told us it would be this hard. No one mentioned the late night tears and the moments you’d want to give up. No one mentions that when they hear that you’re having a baby.
What makes it worth it? I’m staring at her. My brand new two-month-old baby girl who’s giving me the biggest smile she knows how. “Perfect,” is the only word that comes to mind, even though I know in a few hours will come the screaming, the crying, the hours lost from sleep, but not the regret.
Something about them, my children, makes it all worth it. They’ve taught me that there is something worth pushing through the chaos of life, and that if we just hold on we just might find it.
Happy Father’s Day.