When I first became a father, I was traumatized by the experience. There was part of me that rebelled in being tied down with such an awesome responsibility. I am thankful to God that he changed my heart and helped me accept the gift of fatherhood.
What I have discovered is that my greatest joys in life, bar none, relate to my children. Getting the right job, having an article published, making a book deal; none of those things compare to the exhilarating happiness I experience as a result of things my children do or say.
For example, I like to give my kids nicknames. My son Andrew can’t stand it. He is very strong on the rules. That means I can only call him Andrew. Not Bigstuff. Not Anderson. Not Handsome. Just Andrew. But little Grace, at age four, takes things a little more easily. We used to call her Baby Grace, then Baby G. Lately, I’ve taken to calling her Gracie-tot or Tabitha the Tot or little Tiger.
Yesterday, I picked her up in my arms and said, “I like to call you nicknames. Is that okay?”
She replied in the happiest little voice you ever heard, “Okay, Daddy. You can call me Pipsqueak. How about that?!!”
My heart melted in a pool of happiness at her goodwill, desire to please, and awesome overall cuteness.
Andrew, by the way, went to a new pediatrician with his mother yesterday. When the doctor asked Ruth whether Andrew was on a multi-vitamin, he precociously beat his mother to the punch by announcing, ” I have vitamins, but I never get to take them because Mom says I’m too late for school and I have to hurry.” He’s big on honesty.
For those of you who CHOOSE to be childless, think twice about it. It’s true you won’t enjoy restaurants as much and your time won’t be your own. But the emotional return on watching this little person, who really is part of you, grow up is impossible to duplicate with ski weekends or trips to Mexico.