“When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.” -John 16:21 (ESV)
While I attended graduate school at Auburn University, I had a close friend express to me that the only thing he ever wanted in life was to be a father. This conversation occurred over ten years ago. I am sad to say that his disclosed wish has yet to happen, however I pray that this specific dream does come true much sooner rather than later in his life.
For several years, I thought professional goals, success, and accomplishments, including an advanced degree (combined with incredible income), would bring me ultimate happiness. Please know I do not mean to overlook or understate these milestones; however I have learned that contentment comes in a variety of forms. Unfortunately, professional avenues have rarely fulfilled me to the level that my wife, Lisa, and my daughter, Annabelle, do. Their smiles, including the grins of our precious baby, touch my heart in a satisfying way that professional achievements rarely bring forth. If you personally know me as an individual, you know I accomplish plenty without the need to push my inner self any further. Yet my family still seems to bring the best warm and fuzzy feelings of fulfillment that I have longed for.
This will be the first official year that Lisa and I will recognize Mother’s Day and Father’s Day for ourselves, meaning since the inception of our first child, Annabelle, approximately ten months ago. Through the years, as I tried to honor my Mom and Dad with each of these respective occasions, I thought these calendar-marked days were meant to cherish and appreciate parents, however as Father’s Day approaches, the day really has nothing to do with me specifically. My attention still focuses on Annabelle, not myself, because I am realizing now more than ever that it is a privilege and honor to have children and even more so a blessing to be able to raise them.
Like a corny Valentine’s Day, sometimes I think marketers and large stores create these holidays simply to make profits on all the junk gifts made and sold to those who actually buy them. Father’s Day is not about what special gifts my kids and/or wife get me. I really do not need more junk for Father’s Day to put in a box and eventually give away to Goodwill. I simply choose to remember the many good fortunes Annabelle brings to the celebration of fatherhood. All I really need is her smile. Eventually, her craft-made treasures, given as presents, will mean much more to me than expensive material possessions.
The rest of life’s worries seem inconsequential at this point in comparison to the significance of having children. Until you have kids of your own, you will probably read my words with sincerity and perhaps even esteem for these expressed feelings, however you will still not comprehend the inner vastness of contentment that parenthood brings.
The only way to experience this burst of butterfly joy in your heart is to have a kid through natural birth or adoption. Until then, you might be missing out on the best that life has to offer through the eyes of your very own child.
These photographs were recently taken by the talented Jack Horsley. Thank you, Jack, for a great session, capturing more memories with my beautiful family!
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