At least that’s the short version I tell people to fulfill my part of the unspoken social contract. You know the one. You get that cheesy grin with a slap on the shoulder while they ask (not really caring about the answer;) “so, how do you like being a dad?”
This is the long answer.
Listening to your child scream its head off because it has gas is nerve-wracking. You do everything you can possibly think of: pats on the back, rocking, bouncing, bobbing, even interpretive dance routines until you finally give in to begging. Of course, the baby doesn’t understand begging, but sometimes the wife takes pity on you and uses her ultimate pacifier.
I promise this post is not about nursing.
Watching your child learn is fascinating. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly they pick up on things. This serves as a reminder that we’re always being watched in some form or fashion. We’re always going to be an example to someone in our lives. Every day someone is learning from the things you do and how you do them. It could be small, like using a sauce cup at a fast food restaurant properly. Or it could be huge, like how to treat each other with love and respect.
Having a child completely trust you and sleep with confidence on your chest is frightening, and at the same time peaceful and strengthening. Maybe it’s the oxytocin being emitted, but it’s easy to feel like you can (and would) do anything to protect that child. Plus the naps are awesome.
Walking hand in hand with your child during simple errands like getting the mail is eye-opening. They walk proudly, chest puffed out because they’re getting to do big kid errands with daddy. To you this is just another boring adult task. To them, it’s the world.
Your child settling into your lap while you’re reading the Bible to them is energizing. They are learning good habits at an early age, and you know you’re part of the reason they’re doing it.
Seeing your child fail at a task time after time and get upset is frustrating. You just want to step in and do it for them, but know that encouragement is better for them.
Finally having a second child is like a New Game+, unpredictable even though you’ve been through it all before. You’re starting the game over with more experience, but the game has changed and all that experience only helps you to survive instead of getting wiped out.
There you have it. Being a dad is nerve-wracking, fascinating, frightening, peaceful, strengthening, eye-opening, energizing, frustrating, and unpredictable. Plus about a thousand other adjectives that could fill the whole of the internet and not be completed.
In short, being a dad is amazing, and I love every minute of it.