Archive for Sunday, June 15, 2003

Falling in love with fatherhood

June 15, 2003

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It gets easier once you realize you are no longer in control of your own life.

That's my casual answer to a pretty serious question: What do you think of being a father? I get that one a lot these days because my son, Colby, is only 11 weeks old.

Journal-World business editor Chad Lawhorn with his 11-week-old
son, Colby.

Journal-World business editor Chad Lawhorn with his 11-week-old son, Colby.

With Father's Day upon us, that question might dance once or twice through the heads of dads everywhere today (probably in between gifts of brightly colored ties or child-made statues that they mistook for ashtrays.)

It is a question worth pondering, even though almost every father has the same answer: We love it.

But when did we come to love it? How did we come to love it? When did we know we were truly fathers?

Like so many other things in this experience, I haven't the foggiest clue. But I'm willing to bet it was sometime when my son was crying. I don't know what your 11-week-old son's favorite hobby is, but mine's is impersonating a badly broken police siren.

I tell him all the time that he doesn't have anything to cry about right now. Life will get much tougher for him, as it does for us all. Maybe I became a dad when that thought made me want to cry, too.

Or as much as I hate the crying, perhaps in an unexpected twist (there aren't many of those in parenting, right? Right??), I may have become a dad during one of those rare times he wasn't crying. You know, those times they sleep so quietly or lay so still that your heart nearly stops because you think something is wrong with them.

Or maybe it was the day I quit wishing for all the material things and decided I would walk away perfectly happy if I could provide him as good a life as my parents provided me. (Clarification: That's not to say I still wouldn't take a '55 T-bird if one happened to be left in my driveway.)






Heck, it could have been any number of times. Like when I decided instead of living my life through him, I would live my life for him. Or maybe it was when I was no longer ashamed to sing, in tenor no less, in front of a roomful of people just to make him smile. Or maybe it's every day I see the woman I fell in love with give him more love than even I knew she had to give.

Geez, maybe it was when I agreed to pick up a pen and write all this sappy sounding stuff just to get my son's picture in the paper. (I write business stories for crying out loud. As the regular readers of the business page will quickly tell you, Shakespeare I'm not.)

All I know is that every day I rest him in my arms, and I realize I'm holding enough responsibility to scare me to death. But it never does.

Wait! I do know when we come to really love it. It just hit me. It's ... oh, sorry. I have to go. I think he needs changing. Like I said, I no longer control my own life.

But, oh, what a life it is.

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