Daddy Blogger, Ryan Costello, shares the five things he has loved most about his first year as a dad.
I can't quite believe that I've surpassed the 12-month mark on this parenting journey, remain relatively unscathed and able to tell the story! Time really does travel fast. If I've learnt one thing about fatherhood, it's that it's something entirely impossible to understand until you actually become a Dad yourself. It changes your outlook on life, your emotional make up, your priorities... it alters everything. I love being a Dad. I'm aware that I'm only a year in, and I know it will change and change again, but I know enough to know that I love it. Here're a few of my favourite things about being a Dad based on my first year:
Laughing with your child is the most magical thing. A baby’s laugh is my favourite sound, but my own baby’s laugh is the most special sound in the whole world. That all encompassing, mouth open and sometimes soundless-but-help-I-can't-breathe laugh is the holy grail of holy grails in life... and it's even better when you've made it happen.
TWO: FEELING LOVED
There are those unavoidable horrendous days that we all have from time to time. When you've had a terrible day at work and you feel like the whole world is out to get you. Most normal people just go to bed early, or reach for a bottle of their favourite drink.
Being a Dad is awesome on days like those. Coming home, opening the door and watching your son stop what he's doing and break into a smile because he's so genuinely happy to see you disperses all of those storm clouds and makes the day sunny again.
We've finally got Clayton fully sleep trained and now every morning starts with one of those 'Oh my goodness, I haven’t seen you for 10 whole hours, where have you been?' moments. He stands in his cot and jumps up and down in excitement, just because you've walked in the room. What beats feeling loved by someone you love with all of your being?
I feel extremely privileged to be able to rediscover this world in which we live through the eyes of my child. Everything is new to him and needs exploring and I love guiding him and encouraging him on his journey of discovery. Watching Clayton’s reactions as he sees, touches, experiences and learns about things for the first time brings me an unprecedented amount of happiness. As he grows more and more curious and his senses develop, there is an adventure to be had at every corner and I'm grateful that Clayton allows me to join his expeditions from time to time.
Having a child gives you the licence to be a child yourself whenever it takes your fancy (so long as your child is there of course! I don’t mean you can just break out the lego in the middle of a work meeting). Playing with toys, acting silly, pulling faces and singing songs is my new favourite hobby and why not? The reaction you get from the giggling mini version of yourself makes the game twice as much fun as it was last time you played it.
I could already see signs of it during my wife’s pregnancy, but since becoming a Father my heart has been softened. I'm much more emotional and happier for it. Since being able to call myself a Dad a lot of things that used to matter, don't anymore and I love that. It doesn't matter what your passion is, how tied up you are in your career or own ego... fatherhood literally melts your heart, makes you cry, smile, breaks you into pieces and puts you together again as a different being.
I'm thankful for everything that has happened during the last 12 months and excited for the discoveries, challenges and bumps along the road ahead. The person I have started to develop into since becoming a Dad is one that I like the look of and am relishing continuing the evolution.
I can honestly say that I have no idea how I filled my time before Clayton came along and wouldn't swap Fatherhood for my old life for all the money in the world. It's not always easy (and I like that sometimes) but this first year has taught me that parenting is the most rewarding, privileged job out there. I hope to continue to grow with my children and to do the challenge of fatherhood at least 'some' justice.
---Photo: Dad Creek
In the run up to launch of the film Down Dog on 14 February, insideMAN is running a series of articles about fatherhood and we'd love you to get involved. You can join the conversation on twitter by using the hashtag #MenBehavingDADly; leave a comment in the section below or email us with your thoughts and ideas for articles to insideMANeditor@gmail.com.
For more information about the film see www.downdogfilm.com