When our son laughs, it is for real. He does not laugh because he wants to make someone think their joke is funny. He does not laugh because he is in an uncomfortable situation. His laugh is as pure as can be. He smiles and laughs because whatever is going on at the time truly entertains him. It can be a funny face. It can be a funny sound. It can be putting a tooth brush in his daddy's mouth. The what does not matter. Our son's laugh is what matters. It is his telltale sign that he is happy and that is what makes his parents happy. All we ever want is to hear more laughs.
Are places you never would have dreamed of going before. Some are familiar and some are expected - supermarket, doctor, playground. Others, not so much - Chuck E. Cheese, dance class. That does not mean, however, that I do not have a great time when I am there with my family. We have watched our son develop tremendously from the first class to now. (As an aside, the class is designed for kids to learn and socialize but parents do all the work). And he loves every minute of class. He hears new sounds, plays with new instruments, meets new people. It is one of the best experiences we can provide for him. Never in a million years would I have pictured myself dancing around to children's songs early on a Saturday morning. I do not care how tired I get carrying our son around and dancing with him in my arms, I would not trade it for the world. I am not a clairvoyant, but I am confident that making time with my son now will reap rewards in the future. This is just one of the fun ways I get to do it.
In a previous post I touched on the importance of making time to be with your family. In our house, I have a standing boys time with our son - bath time. While bath time in and of itself may not seem like a big deal, it is more than that. I know everyday that I will spend that time with my son while he gets clean and plays in the tub. As all children do, his baths started in the kitchen sink. He absolutely loved his tub and it worked perfectly for our needs. Then we transitioned him into a regular bathtub and used his little blue tub until he was big enough to sit up on his own in a regular bathtub. He has more fun now because he can splash around, play with more toys, read his waterproof books, and laugh with daddy. While he has fun, I get to watch him grow and explore his surroundings. I teach him important things like saying "I love you, mommy." Though he has not quite grasped it yet, he blows a kiss in response smiles. It is as much fun for him as it is for me. Time is a commodity that we do not have enough of - spending it with our son during bath time is one of the best ways I can think of to use it.
Raising your child is a huge responsibility. A dad's role is not over after conception. A dad's role is not over because he supports the family financially. I work countless hours every week but my schedule revolves around our child. I get up for work early just to be home to give him a bath, feed him dinner, and put him to bed. I am not looking for credit - I am simply saying where there is a will there is a way. Then I have a quiet dinner with my wife. Then more times then not I will do more work after dinner while we relax in bed. I love spending time with our son and my wife. There are not enough hours in the day to do what I need to do. But I make time for the most important thing - my family. I do not want to miss his "firsts." I may be considered boring by some, but taking my son to a museum, to a park, or to just about anywhere is more fun than sitting at a bar and drinking the afternoon away. There is no greater reward then seeing my son smile. But I have to be there to see it.
No matter how much you read, talk to people or try and learn about what life will be like after your son or daughter is born you will never learn enough. Each child is different. Each parent is different. And that makes each family unique and exciting. Though I built my life and career on being prepared, the birth of our son is something I could never fully prepare for. But is also something that I would never change. I would not take back or change a moment from the moment we were expecting until today. Our son is a game changer and a welcomed one at that.