I always dreamed about being a dad, but I didn’t think it was going to involve a custody battle or becoming a single father. My story of becoming a father isn’t from a fairytale. From the time I heard his mother say that she was pregnant, I had to fight for his life.
From fighting her from getting an abortion, not knowing if I was the dad or not, to her extracurricular activities for the next nine months were not anything I had envisioned. My faith was definitely tested. I wasn’t sure to be frustrated, angry or sad.
Fast forward to when I received full custody of him was one of the happiest days of my life. After my last lawyer’s (now a friend) appointment, he wanted to double check about issuing a paternity test and I declined knowing in my heart that he was mine. This traumatic experience was one of my worst periods of my adult life, but I was grateful.
The experience of fighting for my beliefs wasn’t as easy as I thought. During the multitude of humiliating dramatic events of dealing with his mom’s pursuit of making me look like the bad guy and I was working towards establishing that I was a responsible parent, doubt set in and I questioned the very purpose of this quest. To be completely honest, fear took over and I didn’t see a way out.
Without creating a whole blog perpetuating drama and negativity, I wanted to get out a couple of key points. These key points have really brought a different perspective to my life. In addition, these points are not my vacuum. I have found that any good parent embodies these key points.
- Parenthood is a New Life – the cliché is absolutely true, “… once that baby comes out, everything changes.” I didn’t see how when I first heard this, but when you see this little ‘mini-me’ birthed into this world so fragile and innocent, nothing at that point mattered except to provide and protect them. At that moment, that is probably one of the biggest responsibilities that I gladly accepted. I can go on and on, but know your life will never be the same both good and bad.
a. EXAMPLE– No one told me that newborn babies wake up every 2 hours. I was a walking zombie for my daughter. She had the lungs of Patti LaBelle. Her cry pierced my eardrum to where I couldn’t go back to sleep until she was sleep.
- Parenting is Hard – as someone once told me and was (and still) hysterical, “kids are the worst/best thing that will ever happen to you.” Since I’ve had the privilege to be married and single, parenting is really hard. It’s a 24/7, 365 days, including holidays, everyday job. They’ll make you feel every emotion that’s possible.
a. EXAMPLE– My firstborn liked to push the envelope. He did so with lots of things. My favorite moment is when we had to call the fire department and remove his head from the bar. This bunk bed was not cheap, and once they used their “Jaws of Life” the bed would not be functional. As I still chuckle at the moment, my bank account wept.
- We Undervalue the Need of Healthy Community – I sorely undervalued why having a backyard was important. In some respects, to have a backyard meant that you had a neighborhood. A neighborhood meant that you had houses, parks, communities and friendly neighbors. In my opinion, a healthy community had all these amenities and provided a safe canvas for a child to be a child.
a. EXAMPLE– When my dad brought his brand new fishing boat, he installed a carport and fence to our neighbors. My parents really weren’t that close with them, but my sister and I always loved going over to their yard and picking fruit off their trees and bushes. Since we had permission to do it anytime we wanted, they built a metal hinged gate to allow us kids access to their backyard. But when I went back after the house had new owners, the gate had a padlock on it.
My faith has shown me how precious and sacred my childhood was to me. Without being a parent, I couldn’t fathom life being any different. The fight for my son at all stages of his life was undeniably one of the greatest decisions of my life. Even though I don’t have the perfect kids, my ideal house, cool toys, and etc, I don’t have any regrets. God’s grace and mercy blessed me to be a father- and for that, I’m grateful. Sincerely, a grateful dad!
I write this because my business is personal. My struggles are for your gain. No strings attached.
Nathan A. Webster, MBA