Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m a dad. It’s can be so easy on my good days to float through a day just like I used to, playing with the dogs or watching a movie with Cassy. The house is still (mostly) quiet in the mornings and we’re free to go about our routine before heading off to work, just like normal. The nursery is still set up, just like it’s been for the last two years… but it’s still empty.
These are the types of mornings that I pull out our album of Jonah so I can look at him again and remember him coming into this world. The days that I really appreciate having his heart beat on my arm so that I can feel him with me. Nothing in this world is as hard for me right now as loving a child that I will never be able to hold again, but nothing will ever be as easy as having pride in being his father. Be it maturation or experience, the drive in my life has shifted over the years from accomplishment at work to completeness as a family, and we never could have started this journey if it weren’t for our children. So what am I now?
Above all, I am Dad. I’m also a husband who fights for his wife, not fights with his wife. I’m a brother who does his best to be an example worth following. I’m a son who works to honor the way I was raised. I’m a friend who can be relied on to be both a voice of reason and one of accountability. I am these things and others because of the my experiences in these 31 (almost 32, by the way) years. In a conversation yesterday with a chosen family member, a point that was made was that experiences shape opinions but facts determine decisions. Jonah was both for me. So many families who have been on the Trisomy journey or one of many other types of diagnoses and have struggled throughout the process, and those experiences shape whatever they felt about doctors, medical facilities, people surrounding them… memories. And for all of the outcomes, the result is the same – we are still Moms and Dads, and nothing can take that away from us. An almost fatherhood is a painful one, but I’d much rather fight for the memories of my children than have no fatherhood to begin with.
Friends, our outlook is the one thing we can control in this world. We have so many blessings to be thankful for but forsake them at the drop of a hat. Keep perspective as you work through your day and realize all of the things you have in your life that make you who you are, and chart a course to move forward from here. It’s your choice, every single day. In times of pain I chose who recognize the fact that I became a father, and allowed that to define me moving forward. I. Am. Dad.
Who are you?