Is Fatherhood Actually a Lifelong Roller Coaster Ride?

What’s it really like being a father? Deepak Menon, father to a 10-month-old, lists out the multitude of emotions he goes through on a daily basis and ends up realising that fatherhood is nothing short of a roller coaster ride – one that deserves celebrating.

“Is Father’s Day your birthday? Why do I have to say ‘Happy Father’s Day’ to you?”

A question that my 10-month old daughter isn’t able to articulate yet, but there will probably come a day when she does.  And I wonder – how would I reply? Wiki definition, Hallmark definition… what does it mean to me, to be a father?

Awe

The growing image at every scan; the sudden movements (could some of those actually be in response to my voice?); other fathers who seem to strike the perfect work-life balance; and finally at the delivery, suddenly, here you are-  so tiny and yet so big! This is what that little speck on the screen turned into?

And today, awe that I have a significant role to play in shaping the person you will grow up to be.

Wonder

Every single day, as I watch you learn to move, crawl, stand, eat, talk. The wonder I feel when you wake up each morning, excited just about being awake!

As I learn to see the world the way you do – the magic of the sunlight falling on the wall, the little bird sitting on the window ledge. The joy in a song, in turning a page of your book to see a pop-up dog. The surprise in a new taste. The hilarity of your mother making funny faces.

Worry

At every appointment with the gynaecologist, fiercely willing her to say “everything looks ok”. At the delivery, unable to stop thinking of all those “one chance in a million complications” that the book talks about!

Checking your breathing while you sleep. Laundry list of questions for the paediatrician. Nervously watching as that friend or relative carries you.

Always wondering – am I doing enough for you and your mother? Will I be able to spend enough time, make enough money? Can I protect you both from every conceivable harm?

Suddenly very aware of my own inadequacies. And my mortality – I want to be there for you, forever!

Joy

The first time you recognized me. When you learnt to call me.  Every time you smile at me, every time you come to me

But above all – gratitude. That you are a healthy, happy baby. That we are able to take care of your needs. That you have the love of so many wonderful people who are part of our lives.

Gratitude just that we have you.

And so, Nila, Father’s Day is not my birthday and neither is it yours. But we can have the cake and the decorations and even the candles. And we can both wish each other. Because it is a celebration of “us”.

Written by Deepak Menon

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