Wednesday, June 15, 2016

They Changed Me More

Teaching my son about the clouds

I pulled up in the driveway and my wife gingerly was rushing to the car. She got inside and I asked her how she was doing "DRIIIIIIIIIIIVVVVVVVVVEE!" she screamed.

My wife didn't tell me the morning that I went off to work that she was experiencing labor pains. We'd had a few false alarms due to those pesky Braxton-Hicks contractions and had rushed off to the hospital twice before thinking the day had come only to return home to wait it out. The bad thing was, that I worked an hour away from home, so any real labor and I would be rushing like a maniac to get back to her. She'd been put on bed rest and wasn't allowed to drive so she worked from home while we waited.

That day, I went about teaching as normal and I was having a great day. It wasn't until the school called me over the intercom that I knew something was up. I went to the classroom phone. It was my wife "Why aren't you answering your phone? I AM GOING INTO LABOR!" I dropped everything and told my class "I'm leaving! My wife is going to have the baby!" and they cheered me on outside the windows of the classroom while I bolted to the parking lot.

I don't really remember how I got back home. I prepared my speech for any State Police I would have run into and envisioned an escort to the hospital if pulled over. Miraculously, I made it without hitting traffic which in Chicago, is unheard of. I pulled up in the driveway and my wife gingerly was rushing to the car.  She got inside and I asked her how she was doing.

"DRIIIIIIIIIIIVVVVVVVVVEE!" she screamed. I had never seen her in such pain. The 45 minute trip to the hospital was a blur of her in agony and me weaving in and out of traffic with sweaty palms. We made it to the hospital and up to the maternity ward while she squeezed the hell out of my hand. As the nurses attended to her and we waited, I began to get nervous. I was about to become a dad. It's  normal to feel that way right? Everything was about to change.

After lots of waiting for proper dilation, the baby was ready and he made his way out. My wife was amazing and there's no stronger admiration for someone than a husband has for his wife as she gives birth to his children. Before I heard my son's cries, I was just another guy, expectantly waiting to become a dad.

There is that moment when your children are born where you instantaneously change. Though I have never personally had one, I can only describe it as what I think an out of body experience would be like, where you see yourself from another perspective. You think: Is this really happening? Am I going to be a good dad? What if I mess this up?

And that's when you hear them cry. Their very first sound in the world is them letting you know that they are there and they need you. So you respond by attending to their needs. Parenting for the rest of their lives is figuring out what your kids need and helping them get that thing, find out what makes them happy, and encouraging them achieve their goals all the while loving them no matter what.

Me, my son, and his baby sister 

The first time I every changed a diaper was on my son in the hospital. It was one of those tiny Pampers Swaddler diapers that I can now fit in my pocket. I was so nervous that I was shaking. I was afraid that what I was doing was wrong and was afraid of making mistakes. Parenting is full of mistakes. Give yourself a break and realize that there isn't just one way to do this. Everyone learns how to be a parent while on the job.

As my son got older we began to miss the feeling that only a baby can provide. So we later were blessed with our daughters. Much like their fingerprints, each child has been so different not only in personality but with the unique challenges they face as an individual. When you become a parent each time a life is brought into this world, they change you too.

As kids get older their needs change but change is good. Just like when they were little, you'll spend most of your time trying to figure out what they need and do anything to help them reach it. Sometimes it is a warm embrace, a kiss on a boo-boo, or a snuggle on the couch. Soon it turns into help with homework, making friends, or dealing with a bully. The next thing you know, they will be driving your car and eventually graduating and trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives.  As they grow their needs will change and you will too, but always for the better.

Me and my second daughter

Becoming a dad, I've learned how to be less selfish and to be more humble. I've learned to laugh in the face of adversity and to never give up on your dreams. I've learned to be creative and resourceful when things don't go my way. Being a father means being an example that they can follow and look up to; they are the inspiration behind being the best parent I can be. As they grow and become their own person, I've marveled at how different each of them is. I've changed many diapers with my three children but they have changed me more as a dad.

In the same way that dads are there for their children, Pampers has always been there for our family. For over 50 years, moms and dads have trusted Pampers to care for their babies’ happy, healthy development. Pampers has diapers and wipes for every stage of their development as they grow and they made this great video for Father's Day in celebration of dads everywhere.

Please visit to learn more about Pampers products, join the Pampers Rewards program, and find ideas and information to help your baby get the most out of love, sleep and play.

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1 comment:

  1. Those first moments are special and do change you - so true.
    I'd like to think my children continue to change me for the better. I know I'm trying.