Learning To Say I Do
Enjoying Marriage and Fatherhood
Justin: A little over a week ago, I had the opportunity to travel to an educational workshop. On the second day, I went out to lunch with several of the other participants. I had mentioned earlier that I had a young baby at home and my new friends began to ask questions about Gus.
One of them asked me, “How do you like being a dad?”
I told her, “I had my fears at first, but it is actually more fun than I could ever have imagined!”
Then she said something that really struck me. She smiled and said, “That’s good to hear. I have several friends who are young dads and they don’t like it.”
That conversation has caused me to reflect on how we view marriage and family as a culture. After all, this is not the first conversation of this kind I have had. In fact, I am surprised how often talk of marriage and family comes up as I go throughout my days.
I guess it comes with the territory of working with young people. I often like to use Sara and Gus as an example in class, and students often ask me about my family. While I am happy to say that I have never found anything more fulfilling than being a husband and father, I am often surprised by the negative attitude of many of my students.
Many make comments filled with distrust and apprehension toward spouses and significant others or comments which view children as an inconvenience to be avoided.
No doubt there are trials. In fact, all week long I have found myself struggling to remain patient with Gus. Just last night, I found myself in a foul mood (my favorite football team lost this weekend and I was a bit short on sleep from the previous couple of days), and Gus was fussy and in constant need of attention. Worse yet, nothing seemed to satisfy him.
I knew intellectually that it was not his fault, but I could not help being angry at him. After all, couldn’t he just give it a rest for while? The more he needed my attention, the less I wanted to give it!
While it was a tough night, by morning Gus was his happy usual self and my attitude had changed a great deal as well.
The experience has made me reflect on something I had heard earlier this week. The speaker said the things we love define us. They define how and with whom we spend our time as well as what we think and feel. More importantly, the things we love define the things that will captivate us.
Gus makes me experience this every day. I can spend long periods of time watching him do the simplest things. Watching him pick up a toy or rolling over fills me with pride. He makes me sing, talk nonsense, and even cheer. It is love which allows me to forget about myself, and frees me to say that through thick and thin, I truly love being a father.
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