Once the journey has begun, it will never end. The journey is long, the journey is difficult, the journey is beautiful……….
I remember it very clearly. It was an absolute rush to the hospital. I was 22 years old and in an absolute panic. I’ve never done anything like this before. I have never experienced anything like this before. I don’t think I’m ready. We got to the hospital and things became a blur. Doctors were in and out. Nurses were at the ready as if they were in a war room. And to some degree, they were. Monitors were beeping, the room was abuzz with activity. Soon things were ready, the doctor came into the room and said “its time” There was an uptick in even the chaotic temperament of the room. The was screaming and yelling…………and then there was silence.
The silence lasted for only a heartbeat, but to me it felt as if an hour had past. I thought back on my life. About my father, how he would take me out into the garage to help him with the classic 1972 Pontiac Trans-am. How he would take me to the basement to shovel the ash out of the stove so we could keep the fire going. How he would take me into our garden to tend plants and pull weeds. Where he showed me how to defend myself against those who would try to hurt me. How he would take the time to teach me what he knew….. Could I ever be able to live up to that? But there was no more time for fear, no more time for indecision, it was time.
There was a tiny gasp, then the tiny gasp turned into a healthy little cry of my newborn baby. They wrapped the baby in a blanket and said “Congratulations dad, would you like to hold your baby girl?” I was in shock, I was afraid to hold that tiny little life in my hands. I gathered my strength, took the little bundle of blanket and looked down at the tiny little face of my newborn baby. In that tiny little face was a combination of events that lead to this day. It was the day I met her mother, it was the day I found out the news I would be a father. It was the smile on my parents faces when they found out they would be grandparents. The tiny face had remnants of family members long gone. That tiny face had parts of her mother, and that face had a little bit of my ugly mug as well. That tiny little face was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. At that moment, I changed from a boy………..to a father.
It was this moment while looking at my tiny little child. A tiny little life wrapped in a blanket. Completely helpless, and unable to survive . Unable to survive without me. “Without me” I realized. I had apparently said this out loud because I got some odd looks from the nurses. This however did not change the impact on my life. The realization that another life needs you. That this life is yours to teach, it is yours love, it is yours to protect. Then looking at that beautiful little face, I realized how my father was able to do it. I looked into my child’s face and knew that I will be the father to my child that I hope she will be proud of. The man she will judge all other men by.
I will always try to be the man that my child will look up to. I will try to live my life as an example to my child. Until the day comes that age takes me to place I am no longer able.
But once the journey begins, it never ends…….