My First Father’s Day

When I was growing up, I always imagined having a family in my mid 20s: the wife, the kids, the picket fence.  But like everyone else’s journey, things didn’t go the way I planned them when I was 14. And thank god. I met my wife in my late 30s when I was a fully formed adult with all of my good and bad qualities plainly displayed. Sarah, my wife, had already accomplished more than most people, so we figured marriage would be a different adventure for us. We discussed children and I think we came to the mutual understanding that if we had a child we would love him or her and be the best parents we could. If we weren’t able to have children for whatever reason, we would just accept our lives of disposable income and stress-free travel.  It was a win-win!

fathersdayFast forward to last April and the birth of our son, Julian. People gave me all kinds of advice — some useful and some not so much. I appreciate that advice is well meaning, so I took it all in with a grain of salt and my best “advice listening smile” affixed to my face. One thing that came up multiple times was that I wouldn’t know how deeply I could love until I met my son. Julian came into the world happy and healthy and a giant tiny man of a baby. I loved him at first sight. As I’m writing this, it’s been two months to the day that he’s been with us, and already all the time before him seems superfluous — like wasted time. And my friends were correct. I never knew I could love another person as much as I did until Julian was born. But the person I didn’t know I could love more is his mom.

This is an article about Father’s Day in general and my first father’s day specifically. I still have that “new dad smell” on me and I am here to tell you: Father’s Day is a scam. Yes, I like being appreciated, but having just witnessed my wife carry our son for 9 months and give birth to him, I can tell you with some certainty that I was not a very important part of the process. I come home from work now to see her miraculously feeding our son WITH HER BODY! She is all he needs. I am technically a parent, but it’s the same way Marlon was technically a member of the Jackson 5. I mean, sure, if he vanished the family might miss him, but no one going to a Jackson 5 show would look at the stage and ask, “Wait, where’s Marlon?”

The way Sarah has taken to motherhood is inspiring. It’s also a little intimidating. There’s no way I will ever be as good a dad to Julian as she is a mother to him already. And I know parenting should be about working together for the best interest of the child. But if we are teammates, then I am JR Smith to her LeBron, just running around with the ball while she dominates the game. I knew I was lucky to be married to her before fatherhood, but now I recognize that I managed to team up with an all-star.

I thank the Lord every day for the life I have. For being born in the United States, having a job I truly enjoy and now for my son. I can’t wait to show him as much as I can in hope that he loves his life, too. But none of it would be the same without Sarah. So what do I think about my first Father’s Day? I’ll eat the burger and wear the tie, but I know the word only applies to me because of the work my wife has done and will continue to do. After watching Sarah with my son, I am convinced the world would be a better place if we just let women run it. Happy Father’s Day to all my fellow dads doing their best. But let’s remember: Without women doing the heavy lifting, it’s just another day celebrating being a man.