It was love at first sight. For some people, 13 is an unlucky number. For me, the 13th of December was one of the best days of my life. It was on that day in 1988 that I became a father to the most beautiful of God’s creations. To my absolute joy, it happened again in 1990 when my second daughter was born. All I can say is that God did a pretty good job on those miraculous occasions when I first met Megan and Colleen.
I read somewhere recently that it does not matter what a person says to you that is remembered but how they made you feel that lingers on after the sound of voices is forgotten. For me, I thought I believed in God, in creation, in Jesus and in the whole Bible story. But up until I was forty, they were mostly words and a hope that there was even a little truth in what the words were saying. Up to that point, evolution and creation were possible explanations for how we got here but I was more concerned with my selfish world. Get up, go to work, and come home to my wife. That was my world, and it was OK. I was good with the routine because I loved spending my free time with her.
Then my new position as father was born the day that my Megan took her first breath, and I knew. I followed her growth from month to month and from chapter to chapter in my “having a baby for new dads” tutorials.
I could have told you that after four weeks my baby (sorry, my wife’s and my baby) was the size of a poppy seed and that her brain and spinal cord was developing in a little cluster of cells. At five weeks, her tiny heart began to beat. Six weeks in and she went from the size of a poppy seed to the size of a lentil with little nubs that would become arms and legs. At eight weeks her hands could bend at the wrist and her taste buds (for pizza, salad and beer?) were forming. At the end of the first trimester there was so much happening in my wife’s belly, according to my book learning, that any thoughts I could have entertained about evolution were completely expelled from my brain.
Strange how having a baby can cause one to become so introspective. Before wife it was all about me. Before baby, life was all about surviving each challenge faced with the sureness of seeing things through together…good or bad with my wife at my side. Being blessed with the right person as your partner is in itself a miracle since there are billions of people on this planet. Somehow we found each other. And we found my real calling in life…being a father.
It seems to me that everything since December 13, 1988 has been about my three girls. I am proud of the fact that all I do is for them. But I will let you in on a secret: a smile…a laugh…a tear…takes on a special meaning when shared with someone whom you deeply love and respect. I have been paid more handsomely than any Oprah or Michael J or Tiger has ever been paid as I have been paid in reciprocated love and kindness. What is the going rate for a butterfly kiss in the morning and a hug goodnight?
When my girls were born, my true trust and faith in God came to the surface. With the twinkle of some of the bluest eyes I have ever seen, God tells me of His greatness and He makes me feel a presence that exceeds all presents. Oh, I could go on and on and tell you, the reader, of the ups and downs of parenthood…of the first steps and first words…of the many Santa stories with my girls and the Easter baskets stuffed with goodies…of the first dances and of the first rejections and tears. Anybody who has children knows these things.
What I will share with you is that my wife and I accepted the responsibility of leaving the hospital on those two occasions with our babies and we somehow made a success of parenthood. The girls are fine young adults who are educated and ready to make their own marks in the world, in spite of our fumbling our way through being parents with no experience. And I can truthfully say that all of the years we shared under one roof will always be the best years of my life. The feelings that well up in my heart and fill my soul when I hear my girls say “Dad” goes way beyond anything that mere words could ever express.
For those who truly love, you know of which I speak. For all others, well…I am sad for you. There are so many events in all of our lives that add sort of a bent page bookmark to our existence. For me, my real life began when I said I do in an apple orchard almost 29 years ago, and continues even as I write this story each time my girls FaceTime with me on my iPhone.
So, I am taking this opportunity to wish all fathers out there a happy father’s day. It is my favorite holiday because that is the day I first truly saw God when I met my first baby. Ever since, I have seen people differently because each and every one of us is a walking and talking miracle. I have heard that God makes no mistakes, but I will let God judge how He’s doing as I go about my business as one of billions of people that walk this planet because of His love. But I can say with all certainty that my Megan and my Colleen are so unique, are so special in their existence they could only be made by someone far greater than the greatest among us.
On this Father’s Day, remember your own fathers and if you can, let them know that you appreciate them. And to all of you who are fathers, thank your kids for the chance to find meaning in your life and if you squint just a little…find God in each one of His finest creations. Go hug your kid or your dad, or make that call and make every day a special day for those you love. The effort to say Happy Father’s Day is so small. Forgetting to say it is so costly to your spirit and to his. So, to all of you fathers, I sincerely wish you a Happy Father’s Day.