Sunday, June 16, 2013
Bill, Eli, and David: SWMBO’s dad, my dad, and SWMBO’s stepdad (L-R).
The week before Elder Daughter arrived, my normal glacial composure (hah!) dissolved in a paroxysm of near-panic. Suddenly, I realized that Impending Fatherhood was bearing down upon me like a freight train in a long tunnel from which there was no escape. What would I do? How would I handle it? Would I be a good father? Would I be a failure?
Somehow, I managed to calm myself down. I was married to the level-headed, sensible, and loving She Who Must Be Obeyed, and I had had a fine example of Dadditude set before me in the form of my own father, the redoubtable Eli. Things would turn out all right, I told myself... and when Elder (then Only) Daughter finally made her appearance, I was ready for that transformative moment.
Transformative indeed, for when a man becomes a Daddy, he becomes a Man on a Mission.
When you’re a Daddy, your priorities change. You’re not just in it for yourself. You have responsibilities. You are the provider, the protector. These are also the responsibilities of a husband, but when worse comes to worst, the Missus is an adult who can, if necessary, fend for herself. An infant cannot. You are the child’s shield against all of the slings and arrows that life can offer up.
In the matter of fatherhood, I was blessed in both directions. The Elder Generation - my father, and later, SWMBO’s father - provided a solid model and inspiration. Were they perfect? Hell, no - but they took their own responsibilities seriously, and that was something I took to heart.
In the other direction, I have been blessed with wonderful children - a blessing that has at least as much to do with the Missus as it does me. I hope I have provided them a good model of what to look for in potential future daddies, as well.
The Missus, even as I write this, is laying on a Swell Feed for a bunch of our friends. A Celebration of Daddies, as it were. It is a brotherhood that I am proud to be a part of, an accomplishment for which I was trained by riding on the shoulders of giants. Look upon their photographs above, and be awed.
Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads out there! You’ve earned it.