Here we are in the month of June, and this month is typically recognized as a time to appreciate the hard work and effort that goes along with being a dad. May I be one of the first to ‘thank you’ dads for all that you do—and this even goes to the single moms out there, but I will save my thoughts about being raised by a single mom for another column.
I have a confession to make: Being a dad was not something I thought about ever wanting in my life, along with getting married. My parents divorced when I was five and as I watched the marriage crumble in front of my young eyes, I could not imagine wanting to emulate that—I believed any marriage would automatically end in divorce. Marriage and fatherhood, I thought, were not in the cards—and yes, as you have guessed, I was wrong…but not on everything.
Being a dad was not something I thought about ever wanting in my life
My life changed the day my then-wife told me she was pregnant. We both agreed on the name Nicholas. I was that goofy dad only seen in “chick flicks” where I would talk to her belly to Nicholas. I was becoming the total opposite of how I pictured my life, and for that moment in time even you would have thought this truly was my goal: to be married and a father.
for that moment in time even you would have thought this truly was my goal: to be married and a father.
The ultrasound technician was as shocked as we were when the screen was not showing that our “baby”—who was no bigger than a peanut—was not developing at all. Just like that, we were told that to ensure my wife’s health, we would need to essentially abort the baby.
After the grieving process, though, we tried again, and on March 11, 2003 at 5:03 AM MST, Connor George Maloney was born into the world—and holy crap! I’m a dad! When my son was born, I called my dad to let him know that he was a grandfather for the first time. The conversation turned to a quick life lesson: My dad asked me, “Do you know what your main job is, being a father?”
I offered my best response: “Um, to love him?”
Dad being my dad said, “Nope—to do your best messing him up as best you can.”
I knew my dad’s dry sense of humor but no matter what, I was now a dad (did I mention the holy crap part?). I wanted to be more than a dad and that came to fruition as a SAHD—a Stay at Home Dad.
From time to time when I am posting on Facebook about Connor, I will use the hash tag and just put it out there: #ilovebeingadad—and I truly mean that. Getting to post pictures of Connor and sharing his accomplishments makes me such a proud daddy who had never wanted to be a dad…ever.
I did follow my parents and was divorced in 2008 after a six-year marriage; however, now I am not only blessed to have Connor but two awesome “bonus” daughters I inherited through my marriage with my current wife. In the backyard, there is the hammock and a fire pit that the “kids” got me for past Father’s Days. I have to smile because, come on, as a guy, fire and a place to sleep are the coolest things ever to have.
I want to not only give you advice, dads, but also want to beg that you do not ever take your kids for granted. I look back to the tragedies of Nicholas and my divorce. I thought my first marriage was going to last forever, meaning I would see Connor every day, but I was way wrong. The divorce meant I was not in the house anymore; I was not going to see Connor every day. I took my time for granted with Connor. However, I learned very quickly that all I had was time, so I needed to create special memories with him.
#ilovebeingadad and I can not tell you how cool it is to be a dad to three incredible kids—even if two of them are not biologically mine; I love them just the same. My wish is for those dads who have in the past left their kids realize the major mistake and make every effort to rekindle those relationships. To those dads who have lost a child, I am very sorry. I had some dark times during the divorce and without Connor, my life would not exist. If you ever feel down or headed toward a dark place, simply pretend that it is Father’s Day, break out the hash tag, and let the world know: #ilovebeingadad.
#ilovebeingadad and I can not tell you how cool it is to be a dad to three incredible kids—even if two of them are not biologically mine; I love them just the same.