Contributed by: Andrew Lyke, Arusi Network
I’ve been a father for almost 28 years. Entering into fatherhood was perhaps the most stabilizing event in my adulthood. Prior to becoming a father I was married to someone I adored and enjoyed being with. But there remained in me a nagging sense that there is something more out there for me. The prospects for me remaining married were good for the short run. Yet, “forever” seemed too much for me to grasp. I could promise Terri tomorrow, next week and maybe next year. But I really couldn’t promise forever.
After about five years our daughter entered our life and changed just about everything. It’s not an outlandish notion that we raise our children into adulthood. However, the truth is that our children raise us into adulthood. I wasn’t grown – not really – until I became a father. After cutting the umbilical cord I took her in my arms and bathed her. She then opened her eyes for the first time and seemed to look deeply into my soul. And my whole life at that moment became anchored. It was the most stabilizing moment of my life – a moment that resolved in me so much of what I would do and what I would not do in my life. It was in that moment that I became. It was a defining moment that shaped and directed me. From that moment I knew who I wanted to be and with whom I would live my life. All lingering doubts about Terri and me receded, if not vanished. For I knew that the greatest gift I will ever give my daughter is to love her mother and anchor our family with a healthy marriage.
Now in the empty nest stage of family life, we are bracing ourselves for grandparenthood. Our son and his wife will give birth to a baby girl in early March. I marvel at my son’s enthusiasm and revel in his precipitous maturation as a husband and soon-to-be father. Like it did for me, fatherhood is raising him into adulthood. Perhaps the baby girl he will hold in his arms in a few weeks will give him the anchoring that fatherhood gave me. And the beat goes on.