Becoming a Dad Changes Everything
Prior to becoming a dad, my days were ‘filled’ with what I thought was important to me. Most weekdays I would put in an 8 hour day, then return home to my wife, play video games, watch sports and of course eat my face off. The weekend was different; I would sleep in until 10:00 am, watch sports, do housework, and lounge the day away. Sundays were always dedicated to football when I would watch the NFL Network from 10:00 AM until the 8 o’clock game wrapped up. Then back at it on Monday.
In the summer of 2016, my wife, Lindsey, and I returned home from a weeks’ vacation in northern Ontario. After we got in the door, I went into unpacking mode. Our roommate and best friend, Mitch, helped me with the laundry, cleaning the dishes, and tidying the house so that the next day would be easier on all of us. My wife was upstairs for at least 20 minutes before dashing down the stairs. Her eyes were big and locked on mine. I was confused and said, “Are you okay, what’s wrong?” It turned out nothing at all was wrong, and everything was right. From behind her back, she whipped out a positive pregnancy test, ran to me shrieking, and hugged me. I was in disbelief.
Both Mitch and I said, “No, no way!”.
I remember how crazy the news felt as the excitement built. It is insane how many thoughts and feelings rush through your mind as you see a positive test result. After a couple of minutes of letting it sink in, I realized that I had no idea how to be a father. I had never even held a baby under one-year-old for longer than two minutes. I’d had nieces and nephews who I wouldn’t even pick up until they could hold up their heads on their own.
This was going to be different though. This was MY baby! I was going to learn! How do you change a diaper? What do you feed them? Car seats, high chairs? And what is this thing called a diaper genie? My world, our world, was about to change. Having Lindsey right there made me feel like we could accomplish anything.
My daily life began to change over the next months. Weekdays were still work filled but that was the only thing that stayed the same. Mitch moved out on his own. We began baby proofing the house as the baby stuff started coming in. Cribs, highchairs, change tables, dressers, clothes, toys, and so much more filled the house. I struggled with all these changes but watching my wife’s belly grow with our child safe inside over those nine months brought so much excitement.
The baby’s due date had come and gone, so the doctors scheduled Lindsey to be induced on March 30, 2017. It was the day we had waited for, but we did not realize how long this day would last. We arrived at the hospital, both nervous yet ready to meet our new little one.
Lindsey was ready to give birth. The hours dragged on with not as much progress as we would have hoped. The doctor finally brought up the idea of having the birth by C-section. After a lot of discussions, we decided that it was best for Lindsey and the baby.
She was wheeled down the hall and taken away from me. I was asked to step into a side room and put on a hospital gown. I entered the operating room through a back door to see my wife laying down with a sheet blocking the lower half of her body. I sat down on the stool next to her, grabbed her hand, and said, “This is it.”
Lindsey squeezed my hand. We sat in silence as the doctors and nurses did their job. And then I heard it, the sound of my son’s first squeal as he was brought over to me. The nurse placed him in my arms as my wife looked over. We were a family now. Three of us. It felt like everyone else in the room had disappeared. At that moment I could feel the love that was forming between us three. I leaned in and kissed Mason. I whispered, “you are going to do great things, buddy.”
We had done it, I was a father and Lindsey was a mother.
I never thought in a million years I would love and cherish someone so much. I felt different– like I had a purpose. I knew I would need to be the best me so that my family could keep moving forward. I vowed to work harder than I did yesterday and always be there for my family. Looking at my son, in that instant, I fell in love with everything about him. We named him Mason Mitchell and, because of him, my world continues to change for the better every day.
I never thought I would be able to match the feelings that having Mason brought to me. I was wrong. Rowan Alexander came into our family in 2019, and he showed me that the things that are important in my life now are where love comes from.