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New Dad

Daddy's Girl

First appeared on Dblback.com, http://dblback.com/author/keithheggaton/
I’ve been talking a lot with my wife lately about my writing endeavors. In a recent conversation she encouraged me to write about fatherhood. Immediately intrigued, because my wife is a genius, I started grappling with all that my new fatherhood entails.
I’ve only been a dad for two weeks and I started drawing some pretty big blanks. I could write all day about changing diapers—about ten per day on average—or midnight bottle feedings. I am truly improving my chances of being a lottery pick in next year’s Dad Draft.
What I can tell you is this: you’ll never be more tired than the first couple of weeks, I’ve been told months, of becoming a father. A few of you guys can attest to this already. Also, you will develop a whole new understanding of the word patience. For instance, I cannot reason with a two week old. There are no candid conversations about how waking me up at 3:30am is unacceptable. Nor can I explain the intricacies of juggling my 40-hour work week and full-time student course load to my child. “Daddy needs a couple of hours to work on a course project” does not really resonate with my daughter yet. Especially when she needs a new diaper or is hungry.
To that last point, I have come to envy her a little. If only I could cry whenever I needed to be fed or crap my pants instead of getting up to go to the bathroom. That would certainly make Sunday afternoons so much more convenient.
Being a father will also teach you how to love again. It will teach you how to become selfless. The most remedial tasks take on a new level of meaning as it isn’t just you and your wife anymore. You have this tiny being that solely relies upon you for its survival.
Never before have I felt so emboldened, and yet so vulnerable. Fatherhood gives you a chance to learn new things. It is an opportunity to start anew. I’ve read countless times that a child will do as you do, not as you say. I know this from my own upbringing. That old adage, “do as I say, not as I do” never really worked very well for me.
Lastly, a daughter will ultimately look to her father for what a man should be like. It’s not an exact science, but my daughter’s future will be greatly shaped by my actions. Her ability to love and be loved will be shaped by how I love my wife. I cannot begin to tell you the amazing pressure that lends to, well… everything.
I’ll leave you with this: all the clichés in the world about parenting are right. Being a dad is incredible. It is like constantly looking into a mirror every time I hold my daughter. I hope you all wish me well as I continue to learn what it takes to be the best dad I can be.

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