Clayton Sleeping

I wish I could bottle up and sell the feeling I get when I stare at my son sleeping.

My son was born on October 24, 2009.  He is now roughly around sixteen months old. My wife and I tried to have a child for some time and I remember being in the shower when my wife urinated on the stick and tears flowed from my eyes when I saw those two red lines. Well, not exactly, I first asked my wife if we were going to get my Man Cave done and then tears came gushing from my eyes when she said yes and I realized I was going to be a father.   The preparation of our child was filled with excitement and fear.  I knew for sure I would make a great Daddy but was nervous about the health of my child and if my child would have a sense of humor like me.   We always prayed for a healthy child first and then I secretly prayed for a son when my wife wasn’t listening.  I remember asking him in my wife’s belly, “Are you going to be funny like me?”  I have always had an interest in being a comedian as a career when I was young. Many months passed and more worries came from my wife.  She was nervous about money and if she would be a great mother.  I knew she would be a great mother or I wouldn’t have married her and there is never a right time financially to have children.  Though my wife and I did get our masters studies done which was in the plan and my unborn child had more money in a savings account than I did. I went to every doctors appointment with my wife and noticed I was one of the few dads at the OBGYN. I couldn’t imagine not being there.  I looked forward to going and finding out the progress of our child. I kept a journal and video taped every moment on my Flip camera.  I got video of the first ultrasound, when we found out the sex of our child, and many more priceless moments.  I recorded everything in hopes I didn’t miss anything. 

My son was born on his due date. My wife called me on my cell phone and asked, “Are you ready to do this, be a Daddy?”  I was more than ready.  I wanted children for a long time.  I am a Kindergarten teacher and it is in my DNA to be a Daddy.  I view being a father as one of the most important and influential jobs a man could have.    I always had the need to take care of others.   My wife was in labor for ten hours.  I tried to have my Flip to capture this moment too but my wife quickly shut down this production. I guess searching the hospital for ice chips was more important than video taping her yelling at me.   My wife pushed for several hours and we even played Tug of War with a blanket to help the process.  I looked at the Doctor after the tenth hour and said, “Doc, time to call it”! My wife and I decided to have a c-section and she went into the operating room.  I sat by her side as she drifted in and out of sleep and again I was making jokes the whole time, that comedian dream still living inside me.  The doctor and her team counted their surgical instruments as they operated. My wife wanted to know what they were counting.  I told her,”They want to be in my Kindergarten class.” The doctor even laughed at that one.  My child came out of my wife’s body and the song from The Lion King played in my head.  You know, the one in which Simba was raised to the animals on top of that cliff.  I clutched my wife’s hand as they cleaned him and I heard him cry for the first time.  Tears flowed again and my wife who was very tired by this point, smiled at me and said, “Is that our son crying?”  I ran over to where they were cleaning him and checking him out, he was the most beautiful boy I have ever  laid my eyes on. 

That day, I held my son in my hands.  I am 6’4 and weigh about 280 pounds and he fit right in the palm of my hand, so tiny. Every time I looked at him, I would tear up.  I had to run to the Chapel in the hospital every time my son fell asleep.  I thanked God for this amazing gift.  I thanked him for giving me something so outstanding and wonderful.  He had giving me so much and I realized at that moment that I didn’t always give him what he deserved.  I knelt and praised God for giving his only son to die on the cross for my sins.  Now that I held my own son in my hands, I couldn’t imagine letting him die.  I didn’t realize how awesome God’s sacrifice was untill that moment.  I would look outside the hospital window on that Fall day and marvel over God’s creation.  Even the Fall leaves appeared  more beautiful to me.

I tell you this story because I can’t imagine not being a Daddy.  I really don’t understand  why I was walking on this Earth untill my son was born.  Yes, it is a game changer for sure.  I don’t get to watch all the sports on the television.  I don’t get to go out with the boys every weekend.  I don’t get to use the bathroom by myself anymore. I do get to help define my child’s character.  I do get to see my child smile and laugh everyday.  I do get to have greater meaning in my life.  I tell you this story because I play a major role in my child’s upbringing.   It was always my job to give my child a bath.  It was always my job to feed my child when my wife was tired or needed a break.  It is my duty and privilege to read to my child and play with him.  When we go out to a restaurant, I happily feed him so my wife can eat too.   See, my wife is a teacher also and she too has a career.  We are partners in this thing called parenting and I love being on that team.  I don’t think my father played such a major role in my upbringing and I can’t imagine my dad having the patients to calm a screaming child at 2 o’clock in the morning  but I welcome this role and it brings a smile to my face everyday!  There are many nights when I am the only one that can calm my son and there are many nights that my son only wants me to comfort him.  Being a Daddy is not about being the “bread winner,” it is about being a vital and important role in the cognitive, emotional, and physical development of my son.