Posted by Walter B.
Fatherhood has its rewards and costs, privileges and penance, wins and losses. When the first child is born, a father is stuck between the cigar-giving rock and the "don't like smelly diaper" hard place. It starts with the drive home from the hospital when a man that could remodel a bathroom was so nervous that strapping in a baby's car seat seemed to take an hour. The half-mile drive home was nerve wracking and the new car could not seem to accelerate to over 25 mph.
Pulling safely into the driveway that day seemed like winning a marathon. The unforgettable feeling of being physically and emotionally drained that day has yet to escape me.
Being a first-time father is like God's own version of the "Shock and Awe" bombing campaigns in Baghdad. Shock set in quickly as I got out of the car and started to walk in to the house only to hear "honey, aren't you forgetting something?" I quickly searched for my keys, my wallet and my cell phone. All were accounted for except for….the baby! Whoops. It was time to scurry and mutter something brilliant like "just wanted to see if you were paying attention, dear." Of course, helping my labor-worn wife from the front seat was first. After all, someone had to figure out how to get the baby carrier out of the contraption.
Once the baby's cockpit was released from the space-aged base, trying to carry the baby in this thing without whacking everything, including both of my knees and still look like a cool dude was totally out of the question. The "Awe" part of a father's "Shock and Awe" experience came the first time I held my daughter in my arms at home that day. I was lost in staring into that sweet, tiny face. How was I going to do this raising-a-child thing?
That was more than 14 years and five children ago. Now here is the update: I have been officially informed that I have some annoying traits. Go figure! My sweet and lovable high school daughter and my soon to be 11-year-old son have both proclaimed today that I am annoying. It seems that imparting fatherly wisdom these days is just so annoying! Sorry kids, dads don't care about being annoying. We just care about our kids. In this humble opinion, as long as kids notice that dads care enough to lovingly annoy them by being a part of their lives, then all that "Shock and Awe" was well worth it.