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I remember the day my child was born with perfect clarity. It was a beautiful, sunny day. The bees were buzzing, the flowers glowing, and I caught a birdie on the ninth… one stroke under par. As I was about to drive the ball down the fairway on ten, I got the call that my wife was in labor and on her way to the hospital. Nine holes, one slice and twenty-five strokes later I was on my way as well.
At the hospital I got directions and walked in to find my normally beautiful wife now looked like a Satanic Priestess on the verge of sacrificing a small village to her dark gods. A nurse was trying to insert the epidural. I walked to the bed and took hold of my sweetheart’s hand, at which point she told me I had three seconds to leave the room before my head was severed from my shoulders. I gave her a wink and a nod and told her I’d be in the hall if she needed me.
Up to this point it had been nine months of pure excitement. The announcements, the doctor visits, the sonograms. I still remember the day a smudge on a piece of paper was held in front of my eyes and the doctor told me that this was my baby son! How exciting! I pictured all the great things I’d teach him like baseball, riding a bicycle, trigonometry. And for nine months we decorated and filled his room with all things educational and blue. We bought tons of cute little boy outfits and pajamas with feet. We even had a Diaper Genie, a miracle of modern science.
The birth was to be via C-section, and we were prepped and ready for surgery. My beloved, now doped up and looking a little more like the woman I married, was wheeled in and we held hands, anxious for the new lives we were about to embark upon. Incisions were made, pesky organs pushed aside, and a few minutes later the doctor pulled out a beautiful baby… girl.He didn’t find it at all amusing when I asked for a refund since he broke our baby. I tried to explain the baby boy I was promised was missing some vital pieces… that he just wasn’t going to work correctly without them, and I was told that there was a strict “No Refund” policy, and that I would just have to make due.
The nurse was cleaning off my brand-spanking new daughter. She made all the proper baby noises, and she was so cute the way her hands jerked spasmodically all over the place (probably just some residual transfer from the aforementioned Satanic Priestess). She was amazing in every way, and when I looked into those beautiful baby blue eyes I thought “This kid is going to be a troublemaker. Only 30 seconds old and she’s already stuck me with a room full of useless boy stuff.” But as the minutes passed, and I held her in my arms, Fatherhood settled onto me like a warm blanket, and I’ve spent the last eleven years getting to know this amazing person God blessed me with.
Not that all of it has been easy, by any stretch of the imagination. A year after Christian was born, her mother and I divorced, and the little girl that had become my whole world was now gone. I got the standard visitation… which was not near enough for me… and it took some time to figure out how this new role of “Weekend Dad” would work.
Suddenly, all my plans for parenthood had changed again. I wasn’t going to get to have a daily relationship with my daughter. It is a very hard thing to be told by a stranger that you are legally only able to spend “x” amount of time with the light of your life. The turmoil and rage that I struggled with during that time is unbearable to think of even now. There is this inherent instinct, a need, to keep her close, to protect her. And when she’s not with me, my life seems so much darker. And so much less. Even now, eleven years from the moment she entered my life, she remains my joy, and the times when we are not together are like the empty spaces inside a wall. Hollow.
But the times we have together, oh what fun we have! We are like Piglet and Pooh, stumbling hand in hand from one adventure to another (and trying to ditch that dork Christopher Robin). I don’t think that you could better sync two people together. She truly is her father’s daughter. Every time we see each other, I make it a point to try to have something new I can teach her. I try to show her the wonder of the world, because she has brought that magic back into my life. It would be hard for a non-parent to understand what I’m saying here, but kids just make the world new again. It becomes right-out-of-the-dryer fresh. And we feed each others imaginations as we explore the world together.
The single most miraculous thing that has ever happened to me has been becoming a father. Does it suck that I don’t have her every day? Sure it does. But the fact that I get to be a part of her life at all is a truly astounding thing, and I try to take it seriously. I’ve made myself available to her, and I’ve dedicated myself to her. In the end, it has to be enough. I pray for the wisdom that I might help guide her to be a better person than I ever was, and that our days together might be filled with magic and wonder, and that I don’t screw her up too bad in the process.
Today's guest post was written by Jetton Meador--single Dad to one precious daughter--sharing one father's perspective. Thank you!
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