It was June 13th, 2018 when Linda and I decided that we were both “ready” to start trying to have kids. At this point, Linda and I had been married for almost 6 years. This was a huge day for us.
I remember this date very vividly for two reasons: 1) we both came to an agreement about kiddos and 2) we were driving to Colorado to see our favorite band play at Red Rocks. The conversation was great the entire way up there. We talked about our past, present, and future. There was a lot of “remember when?” and a lot of “what does our future look like?”
Let me backtrack a little bit. Linda and I met in May 2009 at church. Just one week later we went on our first date. One week after that I told her I loved her and was going to marry her. For the next few years, we dated as she finished up at Texas Tech University and I finished up at Lubbock Christian University. I proposed in January 2012 and we were married on September 15th, 2012.
Our first several years of marriage were filled with focusing on our careers, traveling and just being the two of us (plus two blue heelers and one red heeler.) The baby conversation came up often but we generally agreed that it was best to wait. There were many times in which I became frustrated because I wanted a baby right then and there but we always talked through it. Part of this was my desire to be a dad. I have many influential and positive dads in my life and I wanted what they had and wanted to be able to instill the lessons in my child’s life that they instilled in me.
My great-granddad Gramps, my granddad Papa, my Uncle Weldie, and my stepdad Leffel Gray all have shown me how to be a great father and husband through their sacrificial love. Gramps and Papa have since passed on but they had a significant impact on my life.
On our drive up to Colorado, I pulled over and asked Linda to drive. I’d been driving for several hours and I was beat. I’ve never been one to have Linda drive on long trips but on this day it was different. I was tired and restless. I don’t remember who brought it up but our conversation quickly turned to our future with kids. I asked Linda, “Well, is now the time?” She quickly responded, “Yes, I think it is.” We were both excited because we knew that we were both on the same page even though we had NO idea what to expect when and if we became pregnant. Our trip was great and one of the best experiences that we’ve had. There was certainly a peace about the decision we had just made.
Just a short month later Linda surprised me with a scavenger hunt after I got back from a round of golf. The final clue led me to opening a box which had a little onesie in it that read “The Adventure Begins!” I immediately got teary-eyed and cried with Linda because our one hope was to bring a child into this world and the reality was right there in front of us.
The next 9 months went by fast (for me at least) and on March 8th, 2019 we welcomed our little girl Logan into the world. The moment that I got to see my girl for the first time was something I’ll never forget. Seeing my wife become a mother at that moment was incredibly powerful.
Linda was and is the perfect mom. She’s a natural. For the longest time, she was concerned about having a newborn and how we’d be able to cope with our new life but that was before Logan entered into our lives. She’s so sweet and caring and always pouring her heart into our baby. There’s nothing quite like seeing their bond and how it grows each and every day. I could not be the father I am today without having Linda by my side.
Being a dad has taught me many things. First of all, if I can do it anyone can. Secondly, I don’t have all the answers but that’s ok. My duty in life is to love my wife and baby with my whole heart and lead them. The sleepless nights aren’t fun but you get used to them… sorta. The dirty diapers aren’t fun either but they’re manageable. The love and joy that I get seeing my wife be a mother is something that words will never be able to describe. The happiness that I get when I see my daughter is unlike any other feeling.
I’m only three months into this thing called “fatherhood” and there’s certainly room for improvement. I pray each day for my wife and child. There’s no greater God-given responsibility than to take care of them and I gladly accept it.
For those dads out there that have been at it for a while, thank you for your example. For those new dads out there, you’ve got this. You’re doing fine. Love on your family each day. Lead them according to your convictions. For those men out there that want children but it hasn’t happened yet, you’ve always been on my heart and I will always lift you up.
I’ll leave you with one final piece of advice: be present. Be present during the pregnancy, be present during the birth, be present each and every day. I wish I could say that I aced this part of fatherhood but I can’t. I failed miserably. There’s one thing that your wife and child will need from you and that’s your attention. That’s the greatest gift you can give them and it’s also incredibly rewarding for you too. I promise.
Being a dad has been the greatest, toughest, incredible honors I have ever had and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My greatest accomplishment in life is being Linda’s husband and Lo’s dad.