Well boys, we made it to a year! We had our euphoric highs and our lousy lows, as parenting always does, but we became stronger dads with each passing day. Along the way, we questioned whether or not we did and said the right things as parents, whether we did a good job of building confidence, of being there for our kids when they needed us, of letting them learn on their own and become their own person. By virtue of asking those questions, we grew as dads and learned what it meant to love unconditionally.
Months went by and those midnight bottles grew into egg-and-toast breakfasts with family. Those clumsy baby rolls propelled into army crawls and stumbling steps. As we hit this momentous milestone in our journey, I have to ask—who grew more in the last 12 months, them or you?
Where Do We Go From Here?
As a dad of a now almost 3-year-old and a fresh 1-year-old, I can tell you it doesn’t slow down. If your 1-year-old hasn’t started walking, it’s coming faster than a runaway tricycle. Your princess is going to need a bigger dress, so I hope you listened when I said to savor every little moment. Prom will be here before you know it.
If you find yourself wishing that you spent a little bit more time hearing those first words, watching those first steps, or reading those first books, there’s still a chance. For a 1-year-old, life is full of firsts—the first time feeling sand squish between your toes, the first time splashing in a cool, glistening lake, the first time making a true friend, and the first time singing your favorite song is yet to come. So take a day off work and drive the family to the beach, or fishing, or to that cabin you’ve been dreaming of. There’s so many firsts left to share in.
That’s a Wrap
I’ve got to say this last entry is bittersweet. So much has changed over the last 12 months for me, as I’m sure it has for you. I’ve experienced heartbreak (on more than one occasion). I’ve worked my ass off as a newly single-dad. I’ve watched plans fail, gotten stronger, experienced new beginnings, planted gardens, nurtured my girls, and watched the world grow around me.
I like to think everything happens for a reason, and I’m thankful for the experiences, both joyful and sorrowful, that helped me grow, shook me to the core, and gave me new perspectives. I hope that no matter how these last 12 months have gone for you, both as a person and as a father, you come out of it feeling stronger, feeling thankful, and looking to grow.
Above all else, I want to thank you for including me on your journey through the first year of fatherhood. I hope at least one thing I’ve said struck a chord or helped you believe in yourself. Once more for the dads in the back—you are AWESOME! You have grown so damn much since day-1, and it’s amazing to see.
One More Song for the Road
Earlier today I put on our favorite oldies playlist, picked my girls up in my arms, and danced around the living room. Buffalo Springfield sang loud in the background and the three of us swayed back and forth like a swift tide, just the way they like it. My girls laughed on each side of me, and everything felt right. I think if I could capture a moment to live through eternity, that might be it. I couldn’t ask for much more out of life.
I’ll leave you with that—capture your moments, your seconds, your minutes, and hold onto them like there’s no tomorrow. They become the life you lead, the memories you make, and the future you build.
Missed the other months? If you’re new to fatherhood, there’s no judgment here. You can find the previous month here: