9 months ago I became a dad!
Since then I’ve naturally experienced a wide range of new joys, fears, wishes, and worries. These three new emotions in particular have caught my eye since this energetic wide-eyed little Margo entered my life.
1. “Dad-level” Protectiveness
I’m a nice guy. I’ve never been violent towards anyone, and I dare say that nobody has ever even seen me raise my voice. I’m even-tempered, always choosing logic over rash action. However, now that I have a daughter I’ve at times envisioned getting very…protective…against anyone who messes with her. There has never been a time in my life where I thought about hurting anyone. But all of a sudden movies like “Taken” where the dad goes psycho to find his daughter don’t seem so crazy :). There is such an intense, natural force inside of parents to protect their children at all costs, and it has been interesting experiencing it for the first time. I haven’t had to go all Liam Neeson on anyone yet, but all of a sudden I know that I would if Margo were in trouble.
2. Social Responsibility
Growing up and even into early adulthood I never took much stock of all the adages about “making the world a better place for our kids”, or “the children are the future”, and so on. But then I became a dad. And all of a sudden I have started paying much more attention to social issues. I care about the disappearing ozone because global warming will affect Margo a lot more than me. The “Me Too” movement and unequal pay for women in particular have struck a chord. I’ve witnessed the news of school shootings my whole life, but now that I have a kid who will go to school in just a few years, the emotion and the fear towards those issues has become more real than ever before. All of a sudden putting a face (Margo’s face) to those issues hits home to me how totally important these things are. It’s not like I was a scumbag who didn’t care about anything before, I just feel like now I’m actually going to do something about them.
3. A Renewed Fire to Fulfill my Own Potential
There is nothing like watching the world through a new baby’s eyes. I get to watch Margo learn about grass and snow and bugs and toys and sound and light and everything else. I will also get to watch Margo learn how to dream, and I, like any parent I know, will do my best to fuel those dreams. I’ll tell her that anything is possible. I’ll tell her that she should follow her passions and be an active player in the game of life. I’ll teach her about all the cool things that she can do with her incredible brain and body. But if I don’t show her as well, my words will be hollow. How could I put her on my lap and say these things and then waste my life watching Netflix for 5 hours? How can I tell her to follow her passions, when I haven’t done much to pursue mine since college? I can’t just show her pictures of things I did “when I was your age,” or she might get the impression that life ends when you become an adult. I want to show her that life, and her potential, is a limitless experience.