My dad left us when I was around 6 years old. I remember waking up one morning and finding a note taped to the inside of our front door, it was from him. I don’t recall what was written, just that I gave it to my mom to read. I wasn’t sad or upset that he had left. There was never a close connection between us and to be honest I don’t think I can conjure up even one positive memory about him. His exiting our life was probably for the best in my opinion. Not having a dad was hard, but having a malicious dad would have been far worse. My mom worked very hard to pick up the slack by herself. She pulled 8 hours in an office every day and attended college classes at night. She continually strove to better our lives. Though financially we must have been very tight for a long time, I can’t recall ever feeling poor. She sacrificed a lot to make sure I had what I needed (and more).
Growing up I did have some male role models in my life. Baseball coaches, friends dads, and my grandfather to name a few. But even though I liked and trusted all of them I was very critical of the choices they made in regards to fathering their kids. I didn’t want to follow in their footsteps. While I did not have a dad that I could point to and say “that is what I want to be for my kids” I was able to easily identify what was lacking in my life. Instead of trying to emulate a role model I simply decided that I would provide my kids with all the things I wished my dad had given me. My mom raised me to be a good person and gave me examples of what a good parent should be, but when it came to figuring out exactly what a good dad looks like I was on my own. Now with my being on the precipice of becoming a father I find that I am spending more time dwelling on what I missed as a child and what I now hope to give and to be for my little girl.
- Unconditional and undeniable love and affection – because being loved by your mom is awesome, but having two people love each other and you is even more than twice as good
- A good example of how women should be treated – my daughter (and future kids) are going to see me treating their mom with respect, caring, and love and they will know that anything less than that is unacceptable
- A fierce protector that is always there for them – no matter what the circumstance I will always be there to help and protect my little one
- Constant promoter of a healthy and positive self image – I will be teaching them that they are special and unique and that no one has the right to make them feel otherwise
- A patient and understanding teacher – always willing to take the time to answer the myriad of questions that runs through their minds and explain as best I can the complexities of the world we live in (for math related questions I will defer to their teacher or Google – lol)
I probably invest an inordinate amount of time sifting through my thoughts on fatherhood but one of my greatest fears has always been to end up like my dad. A man who for whatever reason lost the desire to keep of one of the most rewarding and important jobs a person can have. By keeping my mind on what I aspire to be for my family and aiming high I hope that I can at the very least be an “average” dad and with any luck become an exceptional one.