Being a father can be terrifying, humbling, stressful, and joyful all at the same time. I am writing this post at the request of a reader, and for a long time I didn’t know where to start. You see, I’m not your average father. To cut a long story short, my daughter’s mother and I are not together, she is now married and lives several states away. I don’t get to see my daughter everyday like most fathers, and so I didn’t think I could really give solid advice on fatherhood. However, after long contemplation, I realized that my situation gave me a unique perspective on fatherhood for the same reason that I thought that I wasn’t in the position to give advice. Before I begin, I’d like to thank my reader who challenged and inspired me to write this, and helped open my eyes to new perspectives.
DON’T TAKE YOUR CHILD FOR GRANTED
When I was told that my daughter was soon going to be living in another state, I was devastated. Her last month with me before she moved tore my heart to pieces. I saw her running around playing, talking, and sometimes coming over to me and hugging me just to tell me that she loves me and I cursed myself for not appreciating that beauty until I would be separated from it. I was never the best father to begin with, and I didn’t make enough of an effort to spend time with her as I should have. That month, and to this day I live with that pain and regret. I took my child for granted and I am paying for it. Spend as much time with your children as possible, get out of your own way and just be with them. You are guaranteed nothing in this life, so don’t let life get in the way of you loving and being with your kid because you never know when that can be taken away.
IT WILL ALWAYS BE HARD, DEAL WITH IT
I was thrown into parenthood at the tender age of 19. Needless to say, I was freaked out. I barely knew how to take care of myself, and now I was responsible for the life of a small, helpless human being. My head was spinning and I had no idea what to do. I cursed life for being so hard on me. In my ignorance, I asked why I was dealt a bad hand, instead of giving thanks for a blessing. Eventually, I realized that being a parent is always going to be tough and that you just have to deal with it. In fact, accepting this and dealing with it makes some of the pressure disappear, and thats what I believe a large part of fatherhood is about. Be your child’s rock. I’m not perfect, but I do my best to handle my situation so that my daughter can have a good life. I am largely disliked (to put it lightly) by my ex’s family ,and it can be very difficult, but I stick though it because its not about me, its about my daughter.
BE GRATEFUL FOR YOUR PARENTS
When I became a father, my eyes slowly started to open to how much my parents did for me growing up. I started to understand how difficult being a parent could be and I became very grateful for my parents. My parents had five kids, my dad worked his ass off working graveyard to provide and I only made it harder. I started to understand what my parents sacrificed to give me a good life and my relationships with both my mother and father changed. You don’t know everything your parents did for you, or what they had to go through, so be grateful to them. Listen to what they have to say and appreciate them.
There was a month (or a few) that was very hard on me when my daughter was less the two years old. I paid all my bills, but had ZERO money left to live on for about two weeks. I am a prideful person at times and its hard for me to ask for help, but eventually, after a few days, the hunger won and I called my mom and pitifully asked her if she could buy me food. She never hesitated to say yes and happily took me to the grocery store and bought me all I needed and more. I thanked her in the car and, like an idiot, I complained about how hard it was… blah. Blah. Blah. Me, me, me. I told her times where tough, and what she responded, I will never forget. She said, “Don’t worry, son. I know all about that.” “When y’all were little, I had 70 dollars to feed everyone for the week.”
My jaw dropped, and I instantly felt ashamed. Seventy dollars to feed seven mouths for a week?! I could barely feed myself with 70 dollars for a week and couldn’t imagine feeding six other people with that amount of money.
You don’t know the stress your parents go through so be grateful for them and make them feel appreciated. Get over yourself and what you think you know about your parents and be nice to them. They brought you into this world and raised you. Its not an easy job, so be grateful!
Being a father is a big test. Pass it. Be grateful for what you have and use your situation to make yourself a better human being rather then letting the test get the best of you. Love and care for your family because you may not be aware of how much they depend on you, and how much you depend on them. Be the rock.
Paul, this was very eye opening, honest, and quite a different approach than I thought you were going to take this topic. To be honest, it was very refreshing and showed a lot about your character and humility. It is true to never take time, family or loved ones for granted (I have also learned the hard way with an ex-wife of mine) I truly admire your love and selflessness that you have for your daughter she sounds beautiful and I do hope you get to see her soon considering the holidays are coming. Very well written and very enlightening. Thank you.
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