As the countdown to iRide4Shiloh nears, I find myself sitting back reflecting on the joys of parenthood, the pain of loss and the border that sits between the two. Someone once told me that the best way to change for the better is when you are forced to better yourself. I didn’t believe it then, and I don’t believe it now. There are always options, alternatives, 2 directions on any given path. What I do believe is that either consciously or subconsciously, directly or indirectly, we choose who we become.
I’ve always lived a very balanced life and responsibility has never bothered me. But I felt a different type of responsibility when my son was born. In my estimation, there are two types of people, those who do things because they’re told to do it a certain way or for a certain reason, and those who follow his or her own way. I fell into the latter, which isn’t to say one way is better, it’s simply different. The truth of the matter is that When you become responsible for a life, everything changes, the world slows down, priorities become crystal clear and you make decisions that you may not see the result of for 10, 15, or 20 years. My motto for life was never get too close to someone or something…it’s a sure way to let emotion control you.
I think it’s fair to say “society” is interested in telling us what to love and not necessarily allow us to discover the essence of love. It’s a strange odyssey that produces strange illusions, but we go through life accumulating distractions. Fatherhood changed all of that for me. I’ve never been a “needs” person, but instead always tried to look at the significance of living and why I live. Becoming a father definitely narrowed my focus, and I discovered quickly that my sacrifices become my Shiloh’s gain. But more than anything I came to the conclusion that the only thing that matters is how my kids view me. My need becomes evolving into that person I want my children to see.
At times, every father will get lost in the responsibility of being a good provider, a protector, or more simply the “head of the household”. The one thing that drives me, wakes me, and brings me peace is knowing that an authentic character and integrity that’s real, will help decide my child’s future. I will never forget when we were at the hospital and the first time my son looked at me and I knew he recognized dad and I told him everything would be okay, that I’m walking with him every step of the way. He looked at me with a sense of pride and belief; it was as though he was saying, I’m happy you’re my dad. I could only reply, I’m happy you’re my son, and I will never let you down.