Many have asked me if there are things that have changed now that I’m a dad. I’m pretty sure I share the same response as other dads in saying…absolutely! Being a father has changed my views and priorities in life. And though I agree with many in saying that being a father is the best feeling in the world, fatherhood also comes with a new set of fears that I have to overcome the rest of my life. So as I’ve spent time in the past four months reflecting on what type of dad I want to be for Louise, I came up with a list of what I don’t want to happen as a dad.
1. Not seeing my baby grow. I don’t know if this is something only first time dads would feel. But not being there to hear her first words or watch her take her first step is something I fear. It seems quite daunting to actually ensure that I’ll be there for these milestones since I work an 8-5 job, but somehow I hope we’ll have enough luck in convincing Louise to do it on a weekend or a holiday for us to witness. Or maybe she can wait for us to be there before she does any of those amazing things kids do.
2. Not being able to financially provide. It’s challenging financially. But sometimes whenever I feel the pressure all I can do is just be thankful that I have been blessed with a job that can sufficiently provide Joyce and Louise a comfortable life.
3. Not being someone my daughter can open up to. I noticed that most teenagers share stories more to friends than to parents. For me, it’s a scary thought! I would like to know my daughter more than her friends know her. This might pose as a bigger challenge than it looks because I’m not a good conversationalist (Joyce, I think is better than me).
4. Disappointing my daughter. I’m pretty sure every parent wouldn’t want something like this to happen. But I’m sure as well that many would feel that one way or another their parents have disappointed them when they were growing up. I want to be there to show my support in things she loves to do even if they don’t interest me. I want to be there when she plays her favorite sport or when she performs in class or maybe when she wants to fall in line for a reality show like PBB Teens. Joyce has always predicted that I would be a stage dad. I’ve been defensive about it, but as I reflect, maybe I will be to some extent. I think I just have to be cautious and not overly do it.
5. Not able to let go when it is time (And I’m not talking about the M word). There will come a time when the only person to know what’s best for Louise is Louise. And when that time comes, I just hope I recognize it sooner than later. Before that time comes though, I hope we would be able to prepare her well enough to be strong in whatever undertakings she would pursue.
The list will probably grow longer as the months/years pass by. Now that I’m a father, I have come to appreciate more the challenges my parents went through in raising us. It is not easy. But nothing is. In the end, I think what’s important is we as dads soften our machismo and express our LOVE to our kids through words and actions and I’m positively sure everything will just be fine.
Having said all those, on to the next project – Little One 2.0. Okay, I’m kidding. I think we’ve got our hands full already at this point. We’ll enjoy this moment and worry about the next project some other time.