The Glory Days of Fatherhood
It seems like just yesterday I was sitting in Room 117 with my college roommate, Karl. Chances are we were watching some movie for the 100th time, doing Econ homework, listening to music, chatting on Facebook, wondering what was going on this weekend, and if baseball practice was going to be rained out. The room looked like you’d expect for two 18-year-old ball players — two beds, a futon, dirty uniforms, baseball gloves, movie posters, an ATM sign we got from Goodwill (had to), and maybe a takeout box or two.
Fast forward thirteen years, and, I take a look around. Karl moved out. My college girlfriend is now my wife. The futon is long gone, but we added a crib, then another two, now another. Bats and gloves were replaced with LEGO pieces, Batman cars, and kids’ books. Instead of cleats, tiny shoes. And, piles of dirty uniforms gave way for piles of clean clothes for all of my three year old’s wardrobe changes. That ATM sign had to go, but now we have a Mickey Mouse Christmas blow-up in our living room because my son has a mild obsession.
I’m sure some guys from college think that the tradeoffs were a bad deal. That my best days are behind me – “If only we could go back to those college days.” I’ll admit, every time I pick up a sock that wouldn’t fit my big toe or a dozen Polly Pocket shoes and accessories, I can’t help but think – what the heck happened?
The answer is simple. Fatherhood, that’s what happened. And despite what our popular culture tells us, these are the Glory Days.
Every season of life presents its own challenges, but as a father of young kids, it’s hard to imagine a season where I’m needed more. As a provider, protector, spiritual leader, mentor, guide, teacher — being a dad requires the most of us. And, problems arise when men are afraid to step up to the plate. So many men are not only afraid to step up, they’re oblivious that the game’s being played.
The Devil often works by distraction. This has been a devastating tactic against men. We get caught up in problems a thousand miles away, blind to the issues in our own homes. We get more angry about new rules in Major League Baseball than the new rules in our kids’ schools. We are more passionate watching sports than we are when we are playing with our kids. We relive what we think are the glory days, and miss the new memories made every day.
We’re being distracted. Because the Devil knows a focused and disciplined man is dangerous. He’s a man on a mission. And for those of us called to fatherhood (which is every man in one way or another), this mission requires more of us than ever before. Fathering a child is easy. Being a Dad is the hardest thing you’ll ever do. Which means it’s probably the most worthwhile thing you’ll ever do.
God willing, my wife and I will grow old together, each new day better than the last. But, if there would be a time that old man Mark would go back to, I’m confident it would be right now. Back to long days and wakeful nights, back to diaper changes and scuffed knees, first days of school and “just one more time, Dad.” Even though they’re hard, these are the Glory Days.
Mark Quaranta is a Marketing Specialist at Exodus. He lives in Coopersburg, PA with his wife Meg and their four young children, pictured with him above.
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