My Old Man
My father was the most humble and hardest working man I have ever known. I was able to work hand in hand with him on our farm and learned many life lessons. While I was in college he unexpectedly died at the young age of 54 due to a heart attack. It has been the most devastating moment of my life thus far. Growing up I took a lot of moments we had together for granted. Always assuming he’d grow old into his 80s or 90s and spend countless hours with his grandchildren. However, life always has a way of changing our direction just as soon as we think we have it all figured out. This was a life changing moment for me and set in course events that would lead me to where I am today.
As a husband and father today, I see a lot of traits in myself that I have to thank my old man for. Putting faith, family and friends first was a cornerstone in my dad’s life. If you ask my wife I am certain she would tell you the same about me. She would also tell you that I did pick up some annoying habits from him as well. Such as rolling my dirty socks up and tossing them in the laundry basket or picking my toenails instead of clipping them, just to name a couple habits!! Growing up I also watched how he treated my mother and made sure he worked hard to provide for her and our family so our needs were met. I’d like to say that I am not perfect but I do strive each day to make sure that my family’s needs are met and provided for. Of course when necessary, I also make sure to spoil my wife and daughter because they deserve it.
Learning On The Fly
Regardless of how much I learned growing up with my dad, still many lessons I learned through trial and error. The most useful skill I developed was diaper changing. Up until our daughters birth in 2012, these hands had never handled a nuclear bomb in a diaper. I remember the first occurrence of this quite well. It was shortly after Fin was born and our first night at the hospital. Jess was fast asleep after being a rockstar through the delivery. Yours truly was not able to sleep in the room’s torture device aka the recliner. Then the moment happened. Finley started crying. The room mostly dark. I looked to my left. No one there. I looked to my right. No one there. THE TIME HAD COME. I walked over to Finley’s bed and grabbed a clean diaper. (at this moment I was really kicking myself for not paying more attention the nurse just hours before). I methodically opened up the diaper, making sure to hold Finley’s legs up so a bigger mess didn’t happen. Quickly I swiped a wet wipe….positioned it for a clean swipe and WHOOOSHHH. Clean butt, wipe dropped into the diaper, diaper tabs criss-crossed and tossed into the trash. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!
As I raised my hands in victory and then began to rock Finley back to sleep, I could of swore I felt a hand pat on my back and it wasn’t Finley. I believe my old man had been watching (and I’m sure laughing hysterically) through the whole episode. It was then and there he realized I had conquered the diaper change and that he had already set me up to be the father he always knew I would be from that moment forward.
Dad With A Daughter
Outside of the first diaper change, there have been many firsts for me already in just the first four years of Finley’s life. Making ponytails, buns, braids and picking out the right colored hair clips to match outfits are a daily adventure. One of the best ideas I’ve come up with is to allow my toenails to be painted once a week during football season. I’ve found that letting Fin paint my toe nails on a Sunday afternoon allows me to watch the Chiefs uninterrupted, at least for 5-10 minutes! It’s a win-win situation for both of us.
Everyday there seems to be something new I learn as a father and as a husband. Just as I took for granted the time I had with my father, I instead try to make the most of every single moment I have with Finley. She is too young to realize the importance of each day I am able to spend with her. However, I hope and pray that she will some day look back and realize her father helped set in motion the values, morals and events that will make her successful in life both as an individual and as a wife and mother to a very lucky man (years down the road of course!!)