Thank You for Making Me Your Papa

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September 22, 2013, was a pretty special day.

For those of you unacquainted with that particular day over two years ago, it was the day Isabel was born. It was the day Mama and I officially became Mama and Papa, and the day that our lives changed forever. And while we both have a ton to thank Isabel for, with Father’s Day around the corner, I am going take the mic for a bit.

Thank you for teaching me the true meaning of patience. I don’t remember the exact moment, but I learned very early on that you were in control and that fighting this phenomenon was futile. Your complete dependence on me for protection, guidance, and love, made the need to be patient all the more necessary – despite my best efforts to fight it. And while you and Mama consistently remind me that trying to assert my control is  useless, you’ve nevertheless enabled me to find a new level of tolerance for someone screaming in my face, ignoring my requests to do anything, and disregarding my need for sleep.

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Thank you for conditioning my body to function on less sleep. I don’t know if this is necessarily a good thing, but it’s true. I was never able to pull an all-nighter in college, and I’m sure I still can’t (although one of those nights in the hospital was close). But I am now able to consistently operate on less sleep, which enables me to squeeze more from each day (*wink*wink*). Oh, and it also helps pay for your day care.

Thank you for making me appreciate coffee. I was never one that needed coffee or energy drinks to keep me going. In fact, I remember fairly recently telling folks that I was fine drinking decaf, simply because I liked the taste and didn’t need the caffeine. Who the hell was I kidding?!? Even if I still don’t need the caffeine, coffee is so freaking good. Heck, who really needs it in the middle of the day if not for a mental placebo to help me survive trips to Target?

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Thank you for making me spend less on myself. People love to tell you that kids are expensive. And sure, maybe I’ll be singing a different tune in several years. But minus daycare, their expenses aren’t all that much higher than ours. The money that I might have spent on myself before Isabel is now saved, for whatever.

Thank you for refocusing me at the end of the day. I remember when my “golden hour” with Isabel was the little time between arriving home and her going to sleep. That time was special then and it’s still special, but now it’s different. No longer is she simply mesmerized by my presence and the fact that someone else is holding her. Now, she needs me to be fully present to build LEGO or listen to her stories (or to be patient through her tired chrining). The phone is put away and she becomes the focus for the rest of the evening.

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Thank you for keeping me on my toes. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to ignore the book you shoved in my face, drown out your pleas to play LEGO, or suggest something other than pushing you on the swing; but you’re persistent. I’m glad that you want me to read with you, build with you, and play outside with you. Your constant desire to stay active (either that or it’s your short toddler attention span) forces me to keep you engaged, even when I don’t want to. I will never say that having a baby is easy, especially for a new parent, but at least when you were a baby you were easier to entertain. At least then, we could simply lay on the ground if I was exhausted. Now, it’s as though you know when I’m running on fumes and you decide that you need to go the park.

Thank you for making me appreciate the small stuff. Life in general can suck sometimes. So when you add in the challenge of raising kids, it can sometimes feel like nothing is going right. But as a dad, I definitely appreciate when thing are going well more than I did in the past. Little victories, like Isabel trying to go potty more than once in a day after refusing for three days, are celebrated. When we survive another weekend without a major tantrum or whinefest, Mama and I breathe a sigh of relief and share in a symbolic high-five. And even with our current challenge of transitioning Isabel into a big-girl bed, if the crying lasts for even a minute or two less than the prior night, we consider it progress.

#ThanksBaby, for for making me your Papa.

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