Anyone who’s ever spent any length of time with a 3 year old knows it’s … challenging. I’m finding things out about parenting and children that make my parents’ actions much clearer. I find myself telling my child-less friends “You’ll understand when you’re a parent someday” and I’ll realize that that’s what my parents used to tell me when I was still living at home and then I feel old. Really old.
Having a kid at a young age is rough. When my daughter was born I was 18 – by all rights, I was still a kid myself. When people used to tell me that the instant bond you feel with your new baby is instantaneous and is stonger than anything you’ve ever felt in your entire life, they’re right. The very moment Bailey was born I felt this new… sense of utter and complete joy that I’ve never felt before. The moment I saw her big blue eyes and her perfect little lips and chubby little face (and chubby arms, legs, feet, neck… hey, she was 9lbs. 9oz for cryin out loud!) I was consumed by a feeling that I never expected. I honestly remember my heart skipping a few beats when I first looked at her. I was a father. It was a strange thing. So what did I do shortly after 4:52 that morning? I called MY dad. I called him, woke him up, and the only thing I was really able to say before starting to cry was “Hey Grandpa…”
Unfortunately, those good times don’t last forever. That precious innocent little baby grew up (without my permission I might add) and before I knew it she was crawling, then walking, then talking and then talking back to us and running away from us. Testing us. Pushing the limits. Throwing tantrums. In the craziness of our everyday life it’s hard not to overlook the little blessings that you walk past.
It’s extremely hard to not take things for granted. It’s hard to cherish every moment with her because I don’t know what the future holds. It’s hard to forget about the little things she does to annoy me and it’s hard to remember that she’s only 3 years old and cannot really be reasoned with. I love playing with her. I love rough-housing with her. I love the little things like brushing her hair and watching her dance to any beat of music that she hears.
I’m a pretty reserved person. I’ve never ever been comfortable dancing or singing around other people. I’m very self concious but when it’s just me and my baby I can’t help but break down and boogie with her to whatever song may be on. When she sings along to songs and makes up her own songs it’s a very contagious attitude.
My point with all this is that for as many times as I have to give her time-outs, for as many times as I have to yell at her to not hit the cat, or not to talk back, to eat all her dinner, to not wet her pants (potty training is just OH SO much fun!) – you know you’re doing alright as a father when you tuck your daughter in to bed, after a long day at work and at home with her and she gives you a big hug and looks at you and says
“I wove you as my Daddy, Daddy”
Moments like that make me want to just squeeze her and never let go because that one sentence made my heart want to burst. It made all the crap in life go away and it made everything okay. It took all the stress of work and all the little things that I hold onto throughout the day evaporate and it literally brought tears to my eye.