Diaper changes at 3 a.m.
Constant crying for unknown reasons.
The inability to carry an adult conversation without referring to something ‘cute’ that happened yesterday.
If any of this sounds familiar, chances are you’re a parent.
On June 8, 2009, I embarked on the amazing journey we call parenthood. Nancy and I welcomed our son, Jacob, into the world at 9:13 p.m. As usual, Nancy did most of the work, and I just kind of hung around for support.
Later that week, I found myself enjoying the benefits of my Father’s Day–fielding phone calls of well-wishes, being given the opportunity to relax, etc., and realized that from now on, once a year on a day besides my birthday, I’d be able to pull the ‘But it’s Father’s Day’ card. I was quite excited.
And then I had to change a diaper.
As you can tell by the date, Jacob recently turned 2-years-old. Lately he’s begun flexing the nickname that usually associates itself with 2-year-olds, but that’s a (lengthy) column for another day. As a first-time father, I can honestly say there’s no greater feeling–and responsibility–than raising a child.
Just like any parent, I have my tough times, but, as was promised to me by so many prior to Jacob’s arrival, the good outweighs the bad on any given day. Before working for Patch, I once had a colleague–a mother of three young adult males–who said to me, “God made them cute on purpose. This way you don’t kill them.”
While a 10-minute tantrum can make you want to pull your hair out–at least what’s left of it from the stress of parenthood–a single smile, giggle, or a ‘first’ of something flips the switch without a problem.
So, Nancy and I enjoyed this two-year journey so much, we’ve decided to double up on the joy. We’re expecting Koestenblatt baby No. 2 in November.
We’ve become so used to Jacob’s growth and independence that we find it hard–and scary–to head back to those 3 a.m. diaper changes and crying sessions this winter. But we know that simple smile and the baby smell–yep, it’s there, just like everyone said it would be–will help us keep the joys above the pains. And we’re excited for all of it.
So, next Father’s Day, I’ll have two reasons to celebrate. Chances are I’ll end up changing a diaper or playing tee-ball with Jacob (he’s crushing the ball about 10 feet right now, and I’m ecstatic). But, is there a better way to celebrate life’s most gratifying responsibility? I doubt it.
Even if it’s at 3 a.m.
And to all the fathers out there, whether you’re sitting on the couch, mowing the lawn, playing with the kids or working to provide for your family today, congratulations, and Happy Father’s Day.