The Fresh Face Of Fatherhood
At the time I’m writing this, I am 22 days into my role of dad. It’s a drop in the Fatherhood bucket as I think to the 35 years that my Father has put in thus far. You hear people talk about what makes a Father and how it feels to be a Father but I can honestly now say I had no clue until it happened. I don’t mean that in some magical incomprehensible way. It’s more like a new set of senses and feelings suddenly turn on that you never had to use before.
From the moment I saw my son Max enter this world there have been these moments where I just instinctually do things. My reactions come quickly and without the slightest hesitation or after thought. What makes it more interesting is that I’m now doing the things my parents did to me. I’m equally the guardian and a nurturer. Without explanation it’s understood that I play no games with the well-being of my child and that’s a notice for all that interact with him. Yet I also wipe his eyes, nose, mouth and there’s never a thought of “eewww” during the process. Before 24 hrs had initially passed I was already well into the world of baby poop in all its various colors and textures. Again it was all just a part of taking care of this new life.
At just over 3 weeks of life my son is still bringing out new feelings and emotions in me. This week he was heavy of the super loud crying that seemed to have no rhyme or reason behind it. This came after initially being a pretty calm baby so that did throw me off and bring some new frustrations out but that passed as another lesson was learned. As it turns out my little man has a cold and that in itself is a humbling experience trying to ease a newborns body still adjusting to the world.
The experience overall is so fresh that I haven’t even begun to think of all the social implications and future tests that await me as the father of a black boy. I take that role as no laughing matter. My Father is still the epitome of what a dad is. He wasn’t some Pro Black Power militant but he always instilled pride in my brother and I regarding who we were and what we could accomplish. I have no lesser expectations for my Max. My mind swirls at the thoughts of school, sports and social interactions that await good the road.
It’s weird that even as I write this I know that there is a contingent of single moms that lays claim to Father’s Day as well. Coupled with so many misinforming reports about Black Fathers and the % of men that do fall short of their responsibilities, I get why it may not be such a grand day for some folks. With all that said, my story and that of my son will not fall into those cracks. The idea of not being there for your child never made sense to me and now it’s even more unfathomable. I’m aware that a lot of men out there have set the bar of expectation ridiculously low but I refuse to prop up what I’m doing as a grand act. This is what you do when you create life. Regardless of any other factors or elements you be there to the best of your abilities. That’s how I was raised. That’s all I know.
To all the Dads out there I wish you a very Happy Fathers. *Salute* to you all for the work that you do, the hours you put in and the various acts that often go unnoticed. You are all appreciated.