As my daughter continues to grow, my heart continues to expand.
I’m a tough guy, well, I might seem to be on the outside. I’m a trail runner, triathlete, and long distance mountain bike racer. I love pushing my body beyond the limits my silly little mind has set up for itself. But in the last few months my entire world has shifted. This Father’s Day, my first as a new dad, my first born child will turn 4 months young. Nothing could have prepared me for the journey thus far. And yes, I know, I know, there is more to come. I’m taking it one day at a time and enjoying every moment!
Many people told me what parenthood would be like, but nothing and no one can tell you that your life is about to be side swiped by a newborn. Life as you know it is about to be over… forever! The long sleepless nights, the uninterpretable screaming, the uncontrollable bowels (hers not mine), and who can forget the vomiting. I don’t understand why people don’t tell you all about these wonderful aspects of parenting. They always lead with the joy and the excitement and the happiness. All good times, I know!
In the beginning it was work, hard work. It was work to figure out which order I was supposed to shush, swaddle, put her on her side, shake, and giver her something to suck! Apparently our little girl is a “spirited” baby. Or as one doctor called her, she’s like nitro glycerin! Nitro Glycerin???!! She goes from 0 to 60 in a flash. Just wonderful for my calm meditating sensibility. But that same doctor asked my wife and I, are either of you passionate? Ha! Both of us, very much so. Well, that’s where she get’s it he told us.
I’m usually the one who puts our little girl down to bed for the night. My wife handles the feeding and most of the time with her during the day. I have to work, so I’m there when I can, but this evening time has become something truly special for me. It’s become one of my favorite parts of the day. At this age, things change very quickly. Last week she wouldn’t sleep with her arms out of the swaddle and now she won’t sleep with them in the swaddle. It’s hard to keep up with her, really.
One of the cutest things I’ve ever experienced happened just this week. Every night, as I rock her to sleep, I sing a song. It’s the same song every night and while my wife will tell you I’m tone deaf, I don’t think it matters to our baby. I sing U2’s MLK. The words go like this:
And may your dreams
If the thunder cloud
So let it rain
Rain down on him
So let it be
So let it be
I have her swaddled up in my arms and I bounce on an exercise ball. Being an athlete this usually isn’t a problem. Lately, however, as I sing, my beautiful daughter is finding her own voice. She’s cooing and aahhh-ing all while I sing. It’s the sweetest thing in the world. And as I sing the lines, “and may your dreams, be realized,” I think about this amazing little being in my arms. I think about her life and how she’s totally, 100% dependent on us at the moment. And I think about the fact that she’ll have dreams some day and deep down in my heart I hope that her dreams are realized (by the way, I’m usually wiping the tears off my face at this point). And if there is anything I can do, as her parent, I think it’s to provide an opportunity for her to go after her own dreams. It might sound simple, but that’s what I want for my daughter. I want her to be the best person she can be. I want her to explore the world. Of course, I’d love for her to be a peace warrior, an athlete, and a leader, but I don’t want to put my own desires on this pure being.
As you can see, my tough athlete side is completely melted when I’m around her. Thankfully that doesn’t happen in the pool or on the trails. But it’s an experience words truly cannot describe. An opening of the heart that can only be had by a parent and a child. I consider myself lucky to have this experience and I want to make sure I’m fully present for each day as this little being begins her journey through life. I’m just hoping she’s going to see the strength inside the tears.
Join the movement!
Ready to feel young and stay strong...forever?! Me too! Sign up to download my latest guide and join me as we redefine longevity!