If you’re looking for a self-help book on “how to be a better dad,” with some kind of unique instruction guide, I want to save you the time and money. You’ve got the wrong book. And the wrong guy.
I’m not a psychiatrist. Or a talk show host. Or a celebrity. Or a priest. Or a motivational speaker.
I’m a dad. That’s it.
I had no idea going in how to be a good one – and I feel like I know even less now.
I’ve made thousands of mistakes raising my two girls so far, and I’m sure today will be no exception.
But I can tell you this. Having a kid took about 10 minutes; and that’s if you include brushing my teeth, turning on the music and kicking the dog off the bed.
Becoming a father is something I’ve been working at every single day for the past 18 years.
With an eighteen year-old senior in high school and a fifteen year-old sophomore, I’m hanging on for dear life to one of the most treasured, glorious, inspiring, rich roles in my journey here on this earth… Being a daddy.
And the day that ends is the day I drive my daughter to college, kiss her at the door – and walk away down that hall.
I’ll never again know the feeling of cradling her only minutes-old and welcoming her into the world. I’ll never know the joy of feeding her in her high chair, driving her with her helmet on the back of my bike, or reading to her tucked under my arms.
I’ll never see her sing again in a school recital, quiz her on place cards with her spelling words, or cheer for her on her sports teams. I’ll never see her charge down the stairs at Christmas.
I’ll never cuddle with her in her bed again. I’ll never hold her hand. And I’ll never be called the most beautiful single word in the world… The word that is a song in itself… The word that defines your relationship, your dependency… your love.
That word won’t be something I am – but something I was.
And, now, every night when I knock on the door to her room that looks just like her, I’m reminded that, with every passing day, I’m becoming more and more of a guest in her evolving life.
And in those moments, those beautiful moments, when she opens up and lets me peak into the window of her budding life; and feel the richness and complexity of her experiencing and struggling with friendships, responsibility, morality, spirituality – and love… I just listen. I just watch her. I can’t express in words the joy and reward of those moments.
So may this book remind you of those times, those moments, in your own journey.