Being married for nine years, with a 6-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter, I can say that I have pretty much lived and experienced being a father to toddlers. They say that the teenage years are more challenging, so I’ll tell you more when I get to that stage.
So far, life as a father to young kids has been one great ride. Have you ever been blasted by liquid poop at 100kph? Or get a black eye from a headbutt while tying their shoelaces? “Ouch!” would be mostly the reaction, but these come with the job of being a father. And I’m happy where I am right now.
If you’re a dad like me, you’d get it right away. It’s a strange kind of feeling, this stage that we’re in. Because even if I don’t get to do all the fun things I used to do when I was single, I am actually having the best time of my life being a child again for the second time.
Whenever I go to a bookstore and see a nice Frozen or Cars book, I would get excited and would rather buy that than my usual selections of fine reading like a guitar magazine or a music-related book.
Despite the daily chaos of being a dad, or rather being THE referee (Oh the bickering, the constant bickering, please someone make them stop!), I still wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
If I were to sit down for a minute and look back at the past six years of my life, it is packed the best moments of my life! Even more than all the other years of my life combined. Here are some of those simple and heartwarming moments that make up fatherhood:
The bedtime kissing competition
My children love going to bed. I think it’s the time they feel like they have a captive audience. My wife and I are able to give them our fullest attention with no way of escaping since we all share the same bed. And that’s when it starts, talking about random things and fooling around, until my son starts to say I love you to each one of us, and gives us the sweetest kisses. He showers all of us, starting with mom, then dad, and ending with his little sister. The cycle begins again with little sister showering us with kisses, then mom, then dad. No matter how good or bad the day went, my son would always say that he loves us and showers us with kisses. It makes me feel it’s all worth it, and my tiredness from that day fades away.
Becoming a better person
I mentioned earlier that I’ve been squirted with poop. That’s nothing compared to hearing my children say they don’t like me anymore. I’m sure most of you have experienced these and more. They may seem tragic and sad (and they are on the surface), but these moments have taught me what unconditional love and sacrifice means. To literally set aside my pride and to put another human being more important than myself. It’s something I can never have picked up in any superhero movie. I had to go through it, all the gamut of emotions, until I reached the end of it. And I found that God gifted me with a heart that can grow infinitely, and saw a glimpse of how unconditional God must love me as I do for my kids.
Inspiring my children
There was a time when I brought my son to one of my talks on fatherhood. When we got home that night, he asked me, “Dad, why did you mention me at your talk to the other dads?” I was caught off guard, but I was able to explain to him that this is because I wanted fathers to say sorry to their sons when they make them feel unloved, so that they would have a good relationship all the time. He paused for what seemed like an eternity, and to my astonishment said, “Dad, can I also speak in front like you next time? Because I want to help them, too.” I was floored and almost moved to tears. All this time I thought I was helping the other fathers, but in fact, God was also working in his heart to want to help others.
I am not a perfect dad by any stretch of the imagination. I get upset, raise my voice at times, and say and do hurtful things. I try my best to be a good dad, and when I mess up, I apologize and make sure my kids know I love them. The amazing thing is that after each time, my kids are always ready to forgive and ask to play with me. I used to play guitar in a band, with dreams of making it big and touring the world. I thought it was the best time of my life, I was at my creative peak and we were slated to play in Saguijo. But as dreams make way for plans, the band broke up and I got married, and that’s when my life really began. The best music to my ears nowadays is hearing “Daddy” each time I get home.
About the writer: Arnold Ang, fondly called Arner by his friends, is a master trainer, board member, and speaker of the Philippine chapter of The World Needs a Father. It’s a global movement focused on fatherhood. He is a loving husband to Melissa and father to Remy and Kenzi, and a furdad to Cody.