My experience as a father is different that what most fathers have. However it is clear to me that some things about being a father are universal. There is a mix of fear, joy, heatrbreak, pride, excitement, regret, questioning, learning and passion that makes fatherhood different than anthing else in life that a man can experience, and through it all runs a thread of love. All of the other emtions are merely offshoots of that love. A part of who you are is outside your body and beyond your control.
It takes more than contributing DNA to be a father. There are many people, who have fathered children, but are not fathers. There are also many people who are fathers to people who have no biological relation to them. Fatherhood is a decision and a comittment.
Today, I want to thank all of the people who have taught me how to be a father. These people are teachers, friends, fathers-of-friends, authors, and even TV personalities (like Mr. Rogers!). But, of course, there are two people who taught me more about being a father than all the others put together. One is my son Aiden Thomas who taught me more in 5 days than I have learned in almost thirty years about life, love, joy and pain.
The other is my own father. He became a father young, and like ever father, had to learn as he went. And as with anyone doing anything, he made mistakes along the way. He probably thinks he made more than he actually did. But he learned from those mistakes, and taught me to learn from those mistakes and my own as well. He taught me well, although some of the lessons took me a bit longer to learn than he might have liked. I'm proud of him, and whenever I do one of those questionaires that includes "Who is your hero?" I can answer without hesitation: "My Dad."
I'm not a country fan... but sometimes, they get it right.
There were times I thought he was being just a little bit hard on me
But now I understand he was making me become the man he knew that I could be
In everything he ever did he always did with love
And I'm proud today to say I'm his son
When somebody says I hope I get to meet your dad I just smile and say you already have