Mometrix June 2019

Memo

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JUNE 2019

BEINGA FATHER

My dad passed away in August 2017, just before Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. Since then, Father’s Day has taken on a bit of a new meaning. It’s strange not having him around, but I instead look to my kids and cherish the time I have with them that much more. I became a father in 2006. When my son Benjamin was born, I noticed a difference in who I was right away. In the movie “Paddington,” there is a character who is portrayed as very adventurous. Then, this character becomes a father. He goes from being something of a wild guy to being super overprotective of his child. His entire mindset changes. While this isn’t exactly me, there’s a lot of truth there. When the reality set in that I was a father, I felt an obligation to be more responsible than I had ever been before. It’s a special responsibility to raise a child. When I got married, I felt I became a more responsible person: I filled the role of a husband. But when I became a father and filled that new role, I realized I had this new person who truly depended on me. My perception changed. Along those same lines, I think that when you have a child, you reach a level of maturity you can’t reach any other way. When you decide to get married, that’s one level of maturity. You love your spouse and you live your vows and you care for them deeply. But when you hold your child for the very first time, something clicks — you realize you will do anything for this child. Today, my three kids are 12, 8, and 5, and it’s such an honor to be their father. It’s an honor to be an influence in their lives. They watch and learn from me and their mom. It took a while for it to really sink in how much influence I had as their father. Our kids value what we say and do, and they mirror us to an extent. It blows me away that I am often their entire world and I need to set a great example for them. The fact that they look up to me is just so magical. And I think that is one word that has largely defined fatherhood for me: magical. From when they took their first steps, to when they said “I love you” for the first time — it’s all magical. It’s the impromptu tickle parties or dance parties.

Recently, my youngest daughter, who is 5, got all dressed up and wanted to dance around. She told me, “Daddy, this is our wedding!” and asked Alexa to play wedding music. My heart just melted as we danced around the living room. I think about my older daughter who recently turned 8. Just yesterday it seemed like we were bringing her home from the hospital. I blinked, and now she’s into ballet and coming into her own. She’s become so graceful, and I feel fortunate that I have the opportunity to watch her grow. And Benjamin, who’s 12, is one of the most confident, self-assured people I know. He doesn’t limit his mindset because he’s in a wheelchair. He gets up on stage and performs with more poise and confidence than I’ve seen in any other 12-year-old boy. When I see him out there, I know I must be doing something right as a father. It’s the same when I see any of my kids out there doing what they love. At times, it’s hard to escape doubt — am I really doing everything I can as a father? But my kids constantly remind me in their own ways that, yes, I am doing exactly what I need to do to be the person they need. As any parent knows, it’s hard, very hard, but at the end of the day, there is nothing more fulfilling than coming home knowing your kids are waiting there to tell you all about their day.

–Ja y Willi s

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