Paynesville Press - June 19, 2002
New son gives meaning to Father's DayBy Steve Venenga
Sunday was my first Father's Day. Not the first one I've ever remembered, but the first one I've ever celebrated as a father.
God blessed us with a son on April 16 of this year, our first child. I have never really appreciated the true meaning of Father's Day until this one.
One reason for my Father's Day apathy has been my dad's attitude about it. His motto regarding the holiday has always been: "That's nice boys. Just make sure you don't forget Mother's Day."
And I think the bigger reason is that I did not, and still do not, have a full appreciation for what being a father entails.
I've only been a dad for about two months now, but I tell you it took less than 24 hours for me to figure out that I have absolutely no clue about being a dad. My wife, Kimber, and my son, Jacob, and I were in the hospital room on day one when we came to the realization that junior needed his pants changed. (The fact he had poop running down his leg out of his diaper was my first clue.)
Kim wasn't exactly jumping out of bed to take care of it, claiming the Caesarean section was slowing her up, so it was dad to the rescue.
Wow! Did I make a mess! Using my vast knowledge of children and diaper changing (zippo), in a mere 20 minutes we had everything back under control. Of course, Jake needed new linens on his little crib, I needed a shower, and he needed a bath and a change of clothes.
Since then, I've managed to nearly give him hypothermia in his first bath, nick one of his fingers trying to clip his little fingernails, and forget to cover the firehose during a diaper change or two. And all the while this is happening, I'm learning about the belly button part that crinkles up and falls off. Holy cow! That's only two month's worth!
Amazing, isn't it? Here I grew up all along thinking my father knew everything. What a scam! He was as clueless as I am! He just made it all up as he went along. And I thought that all the "dad" stuff just magically appeared. Getting this fatherhood thing figured out might take a while.
It has been one adventure after another since bringing Jacob home: nearly putting him up for auction on E-Bay following the screamfest on his first night home (he's been an angel ever since then), teaching him some new words while putting his toys together, and playing "Pass the Jake" when friends and relatives visit.
Our home will never be the same.
Father's Day now has new meaning for me. I understand the commitment involved in raising a child and am starting to appreciate the thought and effort it takes.
And it's not just for fathers. I hope that my son is fortunate enough to run into the same types of people who have provided me with fatherly advice. From the guy at work who hired me out of college and took personal interest in teaching me how to be successful in the working world to the family in town that has nearly adopted us, these are people who I also think of on Father's Day.
Many people have an influence on shaping a person's life.
I've heard many people use the phrase, "If I turn out to be half the man my dad is, I'll be doing great." I'll add myself to that list.
My father is a good man who always kept his priorities straight when it came to his family. He has taught me right from wrong and kept balance in his life.
I believe I've got a head start on figuring out fatherhood; my dad has already shown me how.
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