For me, being a man is pretty equatable to being a father. So many of life’s lessons that teach you how to be a good man have come to me through caring for, worrying about, and being there for my children.
Everything about being a father scares me. I’m scared every day—for their health and safety, their happiness. It started the day my oldest, Amanda, was born. I was the first family member to meet her, and with her entrance into this world, she ushered a tremendous amount of new love into my life. Holy cow, I’m your dad. And then that love doubled and then tripled when I became a father two more times to Dustyn and Jessica.
All of that fear and love come with comic relief, a lot of it. My wife and I and the kids were enjoying our place in Maui a few years ago. We were there for a 10-day family vacation and on the second day, we went into town for a nice dinner. We stood outside the restaurant and a man, who looked quite a bit like Jesus, walked up to us. Judging by his appearance, it seemed as if life had roughed him up some. After he walked away, I mentioned to the kids, “You never know what someone has been through in their life,” and then I realized that I’d been pick-pocketed. I told the kids, “Jesus just pick-pocketed me!”
That’s been the magic for me, knowing how much richer every experience is because of them. They always remind me to not take life too seriously. It’s an ever-turning wheel of emotion, and one of the best parts of our family and being their father is hearing them say, “I love you, Dad,” after a phone call or when they leave the house.
Each of my children are on their own now, starting their lives, building their own nests. They’re the three best things I’ve ever done, aside from meeting my wife Mysta. Being a father has even made me appreciate my own parents and my in-laws much more, for they taught us and let us see what love and parenting are and how deep love can run. They taught us that it’s not the time a parent gives to their children in one day, but the continuous love they give throughout a lifetime.
On the good days, the tough days, and the how-am-I-ever-going-to-get-through-this days, I show up as a father. It’s who I am and it’s a journey that I’m proud to be on.