During my twenties kids and fatherhood were a very distant thought and even further ambition. I viewed fatherhood as a leash and a responsibility that was only going to prevent me from seeing the next horizon or the next adventure.
Pounding down the 4 lane blacktop, soaring to 35000 feet or on the high seas throwing the bow of her Navy's finest towards the heavens only to catch her thundering hull a second later. Far away lands and distant towns calling me forth. It's what drives a young man. But fatherhood and full time responsibility were never am calling I aspired to.
I recognized in myself a faltering piece that was unable to both dedicate and to appreciate what it would take to raise kids. Because the biggest part of being a father is the total giving over of yourself for your kids.
As I moved into my 30's I began to realize I had no real home or permanent tera forma that held me in place. Late night bars and solitary life on the road started to take its toll and I gave real consideration that life as a husband and father had perhaps passed me by.
The true test of a man is the nurturing and raising of your kids. The understanding that now as you move through life, everything you do is for them. Who you are is a reflection of who they will become and how they themselves will navigate the world.
I have 4 kids. Two girls and two boys. For my girls I am constantly aware of how I treat my wife is the kind of man I would want them to be with and for the boys I want them to see how you should treat a woman. And to mold them into good solid young men.
My dad never raised a hand to my mother or my brother and I. I've never seen him drunk or out of control. I learned from him how to be a man and a responsible father.
For a man's fatherhood is a concept or a theory. It's anything but reality until she gives birth and you hold your child for the very first time.
I remember the first time I saw each of my kids for the first time and what's more is the instant attachment that overtook me. The overwhelming love and affection for each one was born in an instant and grows like a wild fire every time I get to see them and love them.
The satisfaction of watching the world come alive in each of them as they see things for the first time and the heartbreaking sadness of seeing them fail.
In order to make a marriage work it takes both of you working every day making it work. But being a parent bares more responsibility and takes more energy and thought than you ever thought. And in the throws of difficulty it only gets harder.
For me parenthood is a like Harry Chapin's "Cats in the cradle". Since the day they were born, I have had to cram a weeks worth of time into just a few precious day at a time. There is a lot of guilt amassed in me for not having the time to spend with them every day. I fear there will a day when then weeks and months spent on the road will come to roost in my heart for all of the time I have spent away from them.
But as I come through the door and I hear the squeals of laughter and joy, my fears slough off I hear "daddy's home" and the sound of driving feet headed for the door I am whole again.