In honour of Father's Day, I thought it was best to share an article by Nate that was published in one of the local expat magazines this month.
"How my life changed after I turned Dad"
I expected life to change when I became a dad, but not to this magnitude. Even more surprising to me is that it continues to evolve and change. Growing up in Utah, family was always a part of my life but it wasn’t until I had my own family that I really came to realize the significance of being a husband and a daddy. I would rather spend time with my family than anything else. And what’s more, I truly mean that.
My wife and I didn’t have long to adjust to the newlywed or couple lifestyle before Holden made his debut. In many ways I think that has helped our marriage. We cannot often say; “Remember life before kids,” because frankly, there wasn’t much. It may make for a harder adjustment down the road when it is just the two of us again, but for now, it works.
I have found a new responsibility thrown my direction. I find myself checking my family’s needs against my own. Before I had kids, I was selfish. If I wanted to buy something, I did. It didn’t matter if it wasn’t practical or I didn’t need it. Now days, my wife is begging me to buy something, anything I want, just for me. Come to think of it, maybe it helps her feel less guilty about her shopping “habit” HA!! Now I am sure most parents feel this way, but I want to give my boys the world. Every. Little. Last. Bit. Of. It. I don’t want them to be spoiled or over-indulged in monetary things but I want them to experience a happy peaceful and memorable childhood. As a co-parent, many times the sacrifices I make come in the form of sleep, as I work American work hours.
Work is work. I don’t save lives, but it can still be long and stressful. Before I was Daddy, I rarely took time off of work. Work WAS my priority. Now, my work is still important but I make a conscious effort to separate it from my family time. Very few things are more gratifying than coming home from a long night/day and seeing the excitement as my kids faces light up. It is like Christmas morning for an adult. I want my kids to know that I WANT to be around them.
So many times I think parents are trying to get to the next stage with their kids. “Oh, it will be so much easier when he can talk.” “Once they are old enough to do it themselves.” Etc. Every day Melissa and I make an effort to live in the moment. I don’t just want to remember Finnley sitting up for the first time, I want to remember the expression he had when he did it and realized it himself. I want to take time to appreciate our “holdenisms” and why they come about. (“Holden, you need to need to rein it in.” “Mom. I didn’t rein it out.”) It is so easy to get caught up in the routine of parenting, the exhaustion, the every day monotony and the schedule of it that I have to make a conscious effort to live in the now. I want to live life with my beautiful wife and my two little buddies by taking part in it, not just getting caught up in the chaos of it.
I love watching Holden strike up a conversation with anyone or leading a restaurant in a rousing round of “Pakitong-kitong”, and think to myself; “this is a kid who is doing pretty well in life,” and being able to take just a little bit of the credit for that. My life before Daddy is just that; history and I don’t know what the future will bring but for now everything is just right.