I’m now 10 months into being a father. Nothing could have prepared me for the exhaustion and excitement that has come with the experience. Not that many people didn’t try. I’m gonna glaze right over the exhaustion part, because let’s be honest, we all know what that’s like. Let me instead share my top 5 favorite moments of being a dad so far.
5. Birth. Yes, this is a given, and it’s number 5 because it sets up the rest of this list. Some may put it as number one, and of course the birth of our little guy was the most amazing experience. Though now we get to be buddies, hang out and share all these amazing experiences together. To me, that’s the most exciting part.
4. First swim. I’m a former competitive swimmer, lifeguard, and swim instructor. I’ve grown up around water and spent my life loving it. Getting to share that passion with him was an incredible experience. It wasn’t swimming lessons (that starts next week) but just getting him into the water, getting him comfortable, and being able to be the one to give him that first taste of the water, was a moment I had been waiting for. When it happened, it created a memory I’ll carry with me for a long time.
3. Weekend getaway. There is a great vacation place about three hours from Portland called Sunriver. It’s a family’s paradise. Biking/walking trails for miles, summer water park, winter skiing, quaint town square, and more. I grew up spending family vacations there, and those are memories I still carry with me today. Getting to take my son to the same places I grew up going to and starting new memories with him has been a surprisingly emotional experience. We’ve been 3 times in 10 months and can’t wait to go back again.
2. Family. There’s nothing like a baby for grandparents. Our guy is my parents’ 7th grandchild, but the first to live in the same town as them. My brothers and their families live in far away lands like Southern California and Atlanta. Being within 20 minutes of a grandchild has been a dream come true for them. My normally collected father is reduced to silly voices, crazy arms, and pleas to hold him when we visit. My mother, a pre-school teacher for nearly 30 years, can’t wait to have him in class. For me, it’s been especially fun to watch them interact with their grandchild in a way they haven’t been able to before.
1. Hugs. Our guy isn’t quite speaking yet – though he is “saying” a lot. So to me, reaching out is his little way of saying “I love you.” Which is why when our little man reaches out for me and wraps his arms around my neck for hugs, I melt. Those moments, to date, are the most treasured and emotional I’ve felt as a dad. Each day there are new experiences, and hugs will soon fall (yet always remain) on my list as he reaches new incredible benchmarks. But for now, the feelings I get as a father when they happen are amazing.