27 years ago today I became a father for the first time. I remember it being a crazy day, family and friends coming in and out of the cold and cramped hospital room. Questions, and forms, Nurses, and Doctors and then all of a sudden it was just me, my wife and this tiny creature all alone.
I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night but I remember everything about that day. What the weather was like. What day she was born, the time. How my lovely wife looked. How nervous I was, how cool she was and she did all the work. Things happened fast and then stood still and silent.
A friend of mine told me that the full brunt of what had just occurred wouldn’t hit me until I went home, by myself, opened a beer and sat on the deck. He was right. My initial reaction sitting in my backyard with a frosty pop and my dog was joy but then a wave of fear gripped me, “Oh shit, what do I do now?”. Knowing me, I probably cried as well. I sat on that deck for several hours, through several beers, and well past my dogs bedtime.
At 30 years old I wasn’t ready but here I sat, a father ready or not. There were no take backs. This was real, more real than getting married. You can end a marriage, I would always be this girls father. I would always be responsible for her. “Oh shit, what do I do now?”
27 years later I have hugged her, I have loved her. I have yelled at her, I have dried her tears. I have feed her, clothed her and watched her drive away. I have stayed up late waiting on her and pretended to be asleep when she got home. I have educated her, and watched her grow into a woman. I have walked her down the aisle and I have let her go. Let her go. I have never let her go, we never let them go. We simply share them with someone else.
I can proudly say she turned out okay despite the efforts and the skills of her father. I wasn’t ready 27 years ago, your never ready. Nothing will ever prepare you for being a parent. But being the father of her and her sister has been the best job in the world, a job I would gladly do all over again. Happy Birthday baby!