Nineteen months ago, my world changed. Nineteen months ago, I became a dad. My world revolves around a tiny human who’s made big changes in my world.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My daughter has brought a sense of accomplishment to my life. She makes every day special. And she has taught me valuable lessons about life.
My daughter has awakened in me joy and wonder.
Her smiles and her giggles light up my world. When she builds with her blocks — tiny hands clicking the bricks together, her face wearing an earnest look of concentration--I am amazed. When I peek in on her at day care, I marvel at how she claps along with the silly songs.
My daughter has taught me what it means to be a dad.
As a kid, I never really thought about what it means to be a dad. I never understood what it feels like to worry about your child. I never understood what it feels like to hold a tiny, defenseless infant in your arms. I never understood what it feels like to look at a little human and feel unconditional love. Now I do. And it’s thanks to my daughter.
My daughter has made me a better son.
I’m more grateful than I have ever been to my mom and dad. They raised me and my sister. They did a great job. They were patient and kind, even when I stressed them out. They were fair and just, teaching me right from wrong. They endured worry and heartache, pride and joy, and every emotion in between. And they will forever be my parents.
And now I know those feelings, too. I remember the first time I fed a bottle to my daughter. I felt joy. Happiness. And gratitude. What I was doing for my daughter, my parents had done for me. Every step of life I went through, my parents witnessed it. Now, as a dad, I’ll witness my daughter’s life.
My daughter has made me a better husband.
I am blessed with a wife who is an amazing mother. I love my wife even more now I’m a dad and we share a daughter. I marvel at how my wife is raising our daughter, her kindness and strength. I respect my wife more than ever, having witnessed her give birth to our daughter. My daughter also has taught me to be more patient, kind, and loving to my wife.
My daughter has made life more fun.
I love how she sits on my lap Saturday mornings and tries to steal my toast. I love how she giggles as I chase her through the house, her legs and feet stomping fast. I love going shopping with her. We conspire together in the ice cream aisle, deciding which flavor mom will like best and forgive us the most for bringing home. We wander the toy aisle, mesmerized by building blocks and stuffed animals, balls and gadgets.
My daughter made me a dad.
Before my daughter was born, I didn’t understand what it means to be a dad. Now I do. Every time my daughter smiles at me, my heart melts. Every time my daughter holds my hand, my heart melts. Every time she gives me a hug, my heart melts. Even when she throws a tantrum, I love her.
I love my daughter. She made big changes in my life, making my heart grow and making me a better person. She’s only been with me for 19 months. I can’t wait to see what the next 19 years and beyond bring.
Larson is chief of public communications for Fort Stewart and a former Coastal Courier staffer.