I remember those first few hours, those first few weeks, and months after my son was born. I was so scared that I was going to do something that would maim, cause injury, or damage him in some way. Even putting his shirts on was always a scary adventure for me, as I was afraid of snapping his tiny little head off, his tiny little frame.
To my great surprise and relief, he made it through those beginning months. I know we worry: every second, minute, and hour of the day. It feels like we are always on the verge of doing or saying something that will cause years of future therapy.
With all the complications of the day-to-day, I am reminded of this Abraham Lincoln quote:
“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”
I want to be a better Dad than my own Dad was. And, I want my child to be a better person then I am. I want to protect him from all that is wrong and bad in this crazy world. I fight a daily losing battle–to protect him and to shield him from all that is out there. I know I’m only human. To him, it sometimes seems like I’m his original super hero.
I bring light to his dark bedtimes. I hold him when he’s scared. All the while, he’s so unaware of how scared I am of letting him down. For me this quote from Winston Churchill best sums up, what as Dad’s what we hope to be:
“I would say… I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many long months of toil and struggle… You ask what is our policy. I will say, it is to wage war with all our might, with all the strength that God can give us, to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime.
“You ask what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs. Victory in spite of all terror. Victory however long and hard the road may be. For without victory there is no survival.”
—First speech as Prime Minister, House of Commons, 13 May 1940.
As I watch my son, I know that I’m learning as we go. I will make mistakes, but as my high school football coach would say, ” if you’re going to make a mistake, make it an aggressive one.” I’m driven to become a better father, everyday, knowing that I am so far from being one, as it is a work in progress, and in the end it maybe what allows me to be. Abraham Lincoln said:
“Whatever you are, be a good one.”