My First Father’s Day

First Father's Day - ZenParent

That I’m finally aware that 21st of June is Father’s Day, and not just the summer solstice, marks some sort of a dawning of a new age. Growing up, I always thought it was some marketing maven at Archies or Hallmark who had dreamed up a succession of days that they could make cards for, while the rest of the world didn’t care. Well, not anymore – this Father’s Day is my first as a father and I can’t even begin to describe the entire gamut of emotions I’ve felt thus far.

Today, and for a few days now, I shall reflect on what’s been a whirlwind few months of fatherhood, and wonder why we ever over-thought life this much. You know the drift – career priorities, work life balance, affording the best for your child, being good parents, etc. Why, oh why, didn’t anyone tell my wife and I, that the unconditional love coming our way (for a few months atleast) makes all the imponderables seem silly? Riaan, our adorable 3-month old tyke has become the centre of my life and grins like he’s aware of it – a first step on his own path to world domination. It’s impossible to leave for work if he’s flashing those gummy smiles, and my day turns rather mundane if I don’t get whatsapped his pic every hour.

I’ve taken to this fatherhood lark quite easily I think. It’s helped me prioritise, and I can finally say goodbye to my own inner child (you know, the kind that still wants to do shots at bars and stay up late). Time spent with him has to be maximised, and time spent without him has to come as close to zero as possible. There’s really no greater joy than spending time with Riaan, and whoop at every little milestone he goes past. My nights now are a maze of diapers, nappy rash cream, soft comfort toys and hand puppets. If on my watch, Riaan sticks to his pattern of feed, burp, sleep, repeat, and pees on me just twice, it’s an accomplishment.

It’s about now that the apprehension should start setting in, right? What if he hurts himself while he tries to roll over? What if we’re not reading his cries correctly? Or later, what if there’s something bad likely to happen to him when we’re not with him? I have no answer to all of that. But what I can do is to ensure that Riaan gets all the love and affection that would make him a happy child and able to cope with every misstep that will inevitably come his way. That doesn’t involve gadgets, gizmos or the latest fancy toy that every ecommerce company seems hell-bent on pushing my way (sigh, that’s another story). It just means spending time with him, talking to him, listening to him and setting him up for every little step that he’ll take, while laughing our pants off together.

This father’s day then, is the symbolic start of two journeys, Riaan’s childhood and my fatherhood. Both intertwined inseparably and symbiotic. And ultimately, infinitely rewarding.

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