You Can’t Be A Great Father Without First Being A Great Man to Her

Demez White | 6/15/2018, 9:57 a.m.
I didn’t grow up with a father. I had a grandfather and knew some amazing men but never a father ...

I didn’t grow up with a father. I had a grandfather and knew some amazing men but never a father so most of my life I’ve had this idea in my head of what I would be like as a dad. I’m a writer so I knew I would read him books and tell him bedtime stories. Sit in the backyard while it’s raining and tell him about what life was like growing up. All the things I never had.

Then I remembered a conversation my woman and I had, we were talking about parenthood and she told me that there’s a difference between a good man and a good father. “How can you be a good father when you’re setting a bad example?” Of course, I took offense to this because I don’t cheat or lie. I work every day and take care of home but in the middle of defending myself, I understood what she was saying.

All the things I was naming made me a good man but they wouldn’t be traits my son would understand when he was a child. What he would understand though is how I treat his mother. Do I hug her, do I smile at her, do I tickle her when she walks by and he’s laughing. Does my energy and effort when it comes to making her happy set an example for him that I never had? You can be this amazing man that people respect and admire but you can’t be an amazing father unless you treat that child’s mother with a love and energy that’s unmatched.

I feel like I already give my woman, the mother of my unborn son, that type of love and energy. And now that she is actually pregnant I go overboard. Although my son can’t see the ways I love on his mom, maybe he can feel it through the emotions I evoke from her. And just maybe that will bring him a sense of calm knowing what kind of good man and father he has waiting on him.

It was a little after Christmas when she came home from work and told me she was pregnant. I didn’t feel nervousness or stress or fear, I felt no emotion other than pure joy. At that moment I saw my future and it was a future that warmed my heart. All the doubts and worries I had about bringing a child into this world full of hate and war and pollution went out the window, replaced by the need to protect that child.

As her belly grew and winter turned to spring and spring to summer she started showing more and I remember the night I first felt him kick. She called me over and I placed my hand towards the bottom of my stomach and I must have stood there for twenty minutes, maybe it was more like two, and finally, I felt the faintest of kicks. It’s a feeling unlike anything I’ve ever felt before.

The next day I just remembered being nervous for the first time, being anxious for the first time, feeling stressed for the first time. The worries that didn’t exist all of sudden flooded my mind. Do I make enough money? Have I saved enough money? Is the house big enough? Should she stop working now? Question after question scrolled down my head like an excel spreadsheet. And just like the first time, there was a calm after that storm also. A calm in which I looked at her and knew she would be a great mother and I would be a great man to her and with that formula, we would be okay.

So do I still worry? Of course, he’s going to be a baby, but do I believe that everything will work out. Yes. Yes, I do. Because I know that I am a good man for the influence good men before me had on my life. I know I am a good man for how I love my son’s mother. Finally, I know I am a good man that will be a good father.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads, the soon-to-be Dads, and the good men mentoring those coming up.