It's my second Father’s Day.
And I am not with my daughter.
I’m on the road again. I’ve actually been away from her for a week and a half now, and won’t see her for another five days after today because of work.
Although it's not ideal, I understand it more and more as I grow older and mature. As a parent, you realize that there are so many different sacrifices that you have to make in order to give your children a life you never had, or a life in which you want to give them more than you ever had.
Every parent's sacrifice comes in a different form. For me, as a professional basketball player, I will miss moments that I want to celebrate with my child(ren), and wife, because I have away games. Now I can easily quit playing basketball, get a job that will allow me to be there on the days that I want to be present with my family, but then I will give up things like being financially free, the ability to travel around the world with my family, or even have the joy of hearing my wife and daughter cheer my name at my games.
No parent’s situation is perfect, but what we must do for ourselves, and for our child(ren) is find the balance between sacrifices and happiness.
As I approach my second Father’s Day, I reflect on where I am mentally and emotionally, in comparison to my first.
Wow, have things changed, but in a good way.
My daughter was around two months old when we celebrated our first Father’s Day together and let me tell you, the journey from that day to now has been a memorable one.
It starts with my wife and I. The relationship that we have continued to build between one another has been tremendous. It has evolved in so many ways.
For a few reasons.
First off, we have shared the weight of being a parent together. We have come to an early understanding that this is not a “it's your day” or “I watched her for an hour it's your turn” type of parenting relationship. It's more of a “do you need help with anything?” or “let me get her for a bit, you take a little time to relax” type of parenting relationship. We are so in sync with each other when it comes to each other's parenting/spouse needs while also attending to the needs of our daughter.
Secondly, we have argued.
Yes I said it, we have argued.
Don’t think it's possible right? Because parenting is supposed to be perfect right? Because you're never supposed to disagree with the one you love and have a baby with right? Wrong. Although we don’t argue much at all, we have while being parents. And because of this, we have been able to understand each other better than we did before the argument. Not only as spouses, but also as parents. Understanding more on how the other feels in certain situations, or how a certain type language you used or tone came across the wrong way. As we continue to understand each other better, we continue to become better people for ourselves, for each other, and for our daughter.
As we grow as parents, in that process I simultaneously grow as a father.
Showing my daughter all the love I can, and making her laugh, smile, and create happiness for her is the easy part in parenting; for me personally. What has been the hard parent, and will continue to be a challenge as she grows are two things. The first being, teaching her discipline. And the second, enjoying every moment now and not worrying about her future as much as I do.
Speaking on the discipline aspect first, I want to say Amiyah is an amazing baby. She is very well behaved. Although she has her times of “being a baby”, she is a baby so that is understandable. Yet, overall she’s great. But the reason why I said teaching her discipline is and will be a challenge is because I want her to enjoy her childhood as much as she can. Being free. Being messy. Being wild. However, at the same time, I want her to know that there is a time and a place for it all. And yes, I know she is not even a two year old, but I’ve seen badly behaved kids at her age and I just don’t want her to create bad habits from now. I believe my wife and I do a great job in giving her the freedom she needs to be inquisitive and creative with things, yet we know when the line has to be drawn to teach her lessons on behavior, even at her young age.
And by reading this, I think you can tell who will be the bad cop with our kids through the years. But that’s fine with me. As long as they grow up to be respectful and responsible adults, we can say we did our job.
The second challenge I am working on as a father is to stay present and not worry about the future too much with our child. When I am playing with her whether it be at home, in the park, or even just walking with her in the stroller, I give her my undivided attention. That is not what I mean when I say I need to stay present. What I mean by this remark is that I have to enjoy each and every stage of her now and as she grows and not worry about things I don’t have control over.
Call me crazy, but I sometimes find myself worrying about the boys she will meet when she’s older. Yes, I know she’s a one year old now, but she will be a teenager tomorrow, and an adult with a husband the day after that!
Okay maybe not, but you know what I mean.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be around amazing women in my life. From my mother, to my wife, to my sisters, to my mother/sister in law. They’re all beautiful women who are with amazing men, living a great life! However, I have had conversations with them, and they have all gone through heartbreak and not so great relationships to find the one that makes them more happy than anybody in the world.
That’s life, that’s how things happen. You live and you learn.
But does my daughter have to go through heartbreak? Because I will do some years in prison if I have too.
Although I am serious in the fact that I will do anything in this world for my daughter no matter the consequences, I also am fully understanding that it will happen, and it will teach her the lessons of life that we all have to face in order to be better people and really find our true selves.
Even though, this is only being one example of my futuristic worries for my daughter, it only comes from a place in which all of us parents have. We don’t want to see our child(ren) hurt. We don’t want to see them sad. We don’t want them to fail. But at the same time, we all did, and we know that it made us into the people we are today.
As a father I continue to tell myself that, as long as myself, and my wife, teach our daughter the necessary tools to be a good person, to stand up for herself when needed, and to treat people the way in which she would like to be treated, then we did our job. And we have to trust that she will use those tools to navigate through life and find her true happiness no matter what that looks like.
All and all, I am a man who is working on becoming a better father and husband everyday. And as each Father’s Day passes, if I can say, I have improved even a little more than where I was the year prior, that means I am doing my job.
Lastly, I would like to say Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there. The ones who dedicate themselves to teach, nurture, and love their child(ren) each and every day.
And to the mother’s that have to play both parents as well. This day is also for you!
Get the best dad stories, straight to your inbox