Tomorrow will mark my son’s first birthday. One complete year filled with diapers and blow outs, late nights and early mornings, spit ups and spills. But we survived. As new parents my wife and I navigated through a world we didn’t fully understand and came out better for it. Looking back there are three specific ways I know my son has made me better.
My son has made me a better leader
Just last week I walked into my closet chasing after my son Dominic. He was full of energy and having a blast walking all around our bedroom. But when he walked into our closet he paused and looked down at a pair of my shoes he must have seen me wear earlier that day. Next thing you know he walks over to them and puts one foot in each shoe. Once he was satisfied with his placement, he looked back up and me and said, “Dada” with a huge grin on his face. This is just one of the many examples of how my son sees everything I do and has begun to mimic my actions. He’s watching and taking mental notes. He will learn to love and honor other women as I show him how I love and honor his Mom. A Father/Son relationship is so much more than just the rough and tumble play time and teaching him how to throw a ball. Everyday I am modeling the love of Jesus to him and as he sees it through me, he will pick up on it too. So I am trying to be the leader God expects of me in every aspect of my life, if not so much for me, but for Dominic, so he can become a better man that I ever was.
My son has made me a better husband
As guys, we can be selfish and I was a pretty selfish man for most of my life. I did the things that made ME feel good, I went to the places I wanted to go and generally looked out for MY best interests. Marriage helped to calm some of that down, but having my son was the nail in the coffin that buried “selfish Carlos” for good. He still pops up from time to time, I’m not perfect, but he doesn’t reign supreme in my life anymore. My level of attentiveness to my wife has skyrocketed because it needed to! Being a Dad isn’t a “when I am home I can help out” type of job. It’s a get up at 2am, come home early, skip out on the guys from time to time and be present 24/7 kinda job. I notice more and more the things around the house or with my son that can make my wife’s day a little easier. I take the time to listen to her, to really listen to her and how her day has been so I can find ways to make it easier. I love her more today with her hair in a bun and spit up stains on her shirt, than I ever did in that dress that first caught my attention. I love her better now because I am taking the time to notice her more and look at myself less.
My son has made me a better man
Having my son has made me a little softer, a little more patient, a little more attentive and a lot more prayerful. I don’t think I have ever prayed more in my life than I have for and over my son. Having him has brought me so much closer to God because I have never needed Him as much as I have during this first year of being a Dad. It’s funny to me how I never really understood the way God loves us as his children until I had a child of my own. Then it sorta just clicked and made all the sense in the world. I finally understood how He can forgive us they way He does, how He can keep loving us the way He does and how He will never leave us. Because I would do all those things for me son. I’ll never be perfect and I’ll never claim to be, but I am better and I have my son to thank for that.