Last year on Father’s Day I was a single guy. I slept in, went to Mass, and did whatever I wanted.
This year is a bit different because my wife is four days away from our first child’s due date.
I like to joke that I just got used to the idea of being engaged and even though I’m still getting used to married life, ready or not (9-months after our wedding) I’m going to be a Dad!
So instead of leisurely, doing whatever I want to do on Father’s Day, I am trying to complete a “before baby comes” to-do list that just keep getting longer and longer.
As I reflect on my transition from being single to married life, I realize that marriage is not necessarily a break from behavior but a change in focus. In this first year of marriage I have focused on my mate and her happiness and good. Now I will do the same with our child.
Refocusing my attention, care, and compassion does not diminish the love for my wife, but only strengthens it—as if now there is more capacity to love. My devotion still involves selflessness and a love of others.
There is a different set of circumstances now. When I was a single it was a “me vs you” mentality when it came to challenges or difficulties that were presented in my life.
When I got married I became teammates with my wife. This sense of cooperation is even more solidified by becoming parents. Our focus is not just on our relationship, but for the better good of our child.
Preparing to be a father definitely develops the capacity for love, but I admit, there is also the fear of the unknown.
My wife and I will have to learn the proper care for newborns, just as we had to learn the proper care of husbands and wives.
I remember before we were married, my wife and I would study the different personality traits
in order to understand how people responded to challenging circumstances. I have begrudgingly read The 5 Love Languages
and … maybe I’ll admit it was helpful to building better communication in marriage and learning to work through any issues.
Figuring out how to work through the difficult times made our relationship more resilient and strengthening our bond of marriage will only make us better parents.
I know there will be times of difficulty, especially since newborns often cry and you don’t know why (at least that’s what I’ve gleaned from my experience as an uncle of 28 nieces and nephews). But my wife and I are a team and even though caring for children is intimidating, we will work together and do our best to raise this child of God.
So maybe I didn’t get the Father’s Day I’m “supposed” to get of watching sports and being waited on. But when I’m done with my list of things to-do and see the smile it puts on my very pregnant wife’s face, I will know that I spent Father’s Day exactly how I should have—and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.