My Connection to My Father Changed When I Became a Dad

Father Son Mathew Lajoie

When a child is born, a father is born.

I remember the day our son arrived. My wife courageously carried and delivered a nearly eight pound bundle of crying, screaming perfection. I was awestruck, and knew at that moment that everything had changed: my outlook on the universe, my sense of unconditional love, and my place in this life. Just as my son was experiencing his first breathes in a new world, so was I.

Fast forward through the next five years. Now a stay-at-home dad, our son is the centre of my days. While some spend much of their waking hours pursuing careers, providing their families with financial support, I am offering support of a different kind at home. I am the mover of many parts in our household and provide balance to the needs of my family.

I am proud of my role and reap rewards too numerous to list.

[My Insecurities As a Stay-at-Home Dad]

Like many, becoming a parent shuffled the dynamics of relationships in my life. Being “dad” and a husband are a big part of who I am and who I want to be. My immediate family takes precedent regardless of the circumstances. This is my commitment to them.

When I became a father many of my friendships were put to the wayside. This was not out of malice but out of the need to allocate my time differently. Responsibilities were added to my life. Priorities shifted. Life is fluid. Over the past month I realized another relationship in my life was altered. The connection with my own father, one that I hold close to me, had transitioned into something different when my son was born and he became a grandfather.

The time between my father and I became in large part about my son. Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying as something negative. It’s not. I cherish how close they are and love my father unconditionally. However, through all of this life change and parenting excitement I forgot something essential to my own life. Because of my changing role I forgot what it was like to be fathered.

[WATCH: Dads Open Up to Their Kids & Everybody Cries. You Will Too]

Recently that changed. After years of planning and re-planning my wife and I decided to build our dream home. To put it mildly, it has been a complex but joyous undertaking. In a fashion true to my father, he offered to lead in preparing our property with his time and the machinery he owns through his contracting business.

I was to be his aid.

For the past two months we have been working side by side: sweating, laughing and occasionally bickering. In this short time I have learned the nuances of excavation, how to be an arborist, and intricacies of operating an excavator.

I went from being a mentor and a father, to simply being a son again.

There are no second chances in life. This is an adage I’ve heard many times. We grow and have experiences with the rare opportunity to turn back. But in my experience, I have been one of the fortunate ones to get a second chance: a second chance to take a back seat to learn and be mentored by my dad, and feel that what I didn’t know mattered to someone I love.

[Read Maria Shriver’s latest ‘I’ve Been Thinking’ essay]

Just because you become a father, it doesn’t mean you stop being a son. I know this to be true. Through my second chance I was re-born. And so was my father.

Happy Father’s Day to the fathers of the world;

Happy Father’s Day to the fathers who live on in our memories;

Happy Father’s Day, dad.

 


{Image credit: Pixabay}

 

About the Author

author image

Mathew Lajoie is a writer and stay-at-home-dad. He is the creator of the parenting website YOUAREdadTOme.com which aims to generate a true narrative about modern fatherhood. Mathew holds honors degrees in both English Literature and Education and has shared his views about parenting in publications across the world. Mathew currently lives in Toronto, Ontario with his wife and son. Like his page on Facebook or follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

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