As previously talked about before in another post, I have been learning more about myself as a man and father through my current experience of fatherhood with Lily but also through the very few men I had around in my life. Fatherhood has been a real journey that has forced me to confront all aspects of myself as a man, husband and now as a father. I’m also dealing with how to be a good example of a godly man too. Internally, I am battling all of these factors and trying to come out smelling of roses, all whilst being positive and smiling through it all. There are times where I want to give up or just have a week or a month where I can just be selfish and not care. However, I use triggers from my life that remind me not to be that guy and to be the best that I can be, even when I don’t feel like it. I suppose my degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies did help me more than I thought it would after all!
One aspect that has made fatherhood challenging at times is that I had no real example in my household of what a good father is and can be. What does a father and a male role model do? I’ve technically been going into this blindly. Luckily, I’ve had positive examples of that outside of my family, with inspiring friends and external family.
Now that I’ve been here living in Houston for a year (yes, it’s been that long haha), I have naturally found a father figure and male role model in my father in law. Even though I knew I was missing that in my life, I never knew it was something I needed until now. It’s something I’m embracing and holding tight too. I’m so grateful to have male influence in my life. A life that was spent being surrounded by female influences and a world where men weren’t necessarily either talked a lot about, or weren’t talked about in a positive manner.
With my dad in law, I’m learning man things and taking more responsibility in terms of men duties (mowing the lawn, washing the car, driving my dad in law around, doing any tasks he needs me to do, lifting things etc) and I’m honestly loving it. I’m soaking up this time with him like a sponge. I’m enjoying all the nuggets of man advice and tricks of the trade he’s giving me. It’s like I’ve regressed back to a child-like state whenever I’m around him because I want to learn from him and be as good as him. I’m fully enjoying this new male role model of mine. It’s like I’m mentally taking notes and my eyes have lightened up. It’s like I’m starting again in my childhood, because my dad wasn’t able to be around then – so I’m living it again! Seriously, my life would be made if my dad in law said “let’s play catch” or “let’s play football/soccer”. For me, it would fulfil the clichés that I never had the opportunity of having.
So my experience of fatherhood isn’t just about Lily, it’s about me and the male influences I have for myself too. I’m just glad that God has given me time with my dad in law to truly bond with him and learn from him. And that has enriched my bond in general with men, my bond with him, made me appreciate even more the bond I have with my grandfather in London (I speak to him every month and we always have a laugh), my bond with my male friends (especially the dads), and my bond with Lily. And I’m so grateful to see the way that my dad in law plays and bonds with Lily – it’s a beautiful sight to see.
But most of all, I’m glad that my father in law is open towards me, has accepted me into his family, is very trusting of me, and in his own way of showing it – loves me too. He’s a cool character, a very good man with principles and a big heart – and I love him for the true embodiment of the man he represents.