When we first brought Zion home from the hospital a year ago, I experienced panic: suddenly, this tiny, loud and very dependent baby counted on me to do things right so he could survive.
Boy, was it a challenge.
No sleep, struggling through diapers and breastfeeding cycles, and being stuck in the house all day, all those things were tough to take on but soon became second nature.
And then suddenly last June 2, he turned one year old! (Where did all that time go?) We celebrated his birthday last Saturday with a party at the San Lorenzo Park Recreation Center, an indoor hall where we sat more than a hundred friends and family members and fed them the best take-out Filipino food we could order.
What is amazing to me – constantly a source of delight and joy – is looking at Zion while he’s laughing and thinking to myself: “This boy came from me and my wife by the grace of God, and now looks like me, acts like me, sounds like me even. Here’s someone who’s so much like me and yet contains so much more potential than I do. He has a clean slate ahead of him and it’s beautiful to witness his growth and be part of that process.”
It’s a blessing looking into his eyes and seeing him recognize me when I come home from work. It’s a joy seeing him laugh when I make funny sounds while we play. Even those times when he wants to have his way no matter what, it’s still a never-ending experience of thankfulness and grace and amazement that God has entrusted me and my wife with this boy’s life — to care for him for a short while, and see him grow and mature. What a responsibility!
Suddenly I appreciate my parents so much more now that I see some of the challenges they faced while raising us.
Some Things: No Control
Most of all the experience of fatherhood has taught me that there are things you totally have no control over.
Sure you can try to nurture and discipline the child and install all the babyproofing gear around your house — but you won’t be in the house all the time. You will have to eventually entrust your boy to someone else’s hands — whether it be a family member or a baby sitter — and you will have to trust in the Lord’s protection over your baby. It’s a test of faith and love.
Fatherhood has been amazing. As exhausting and as challenging as everyone said it would be but also so much more fulfilling than anything else I’ve done in my life.
Thank you, Lord for the chance to be a father to Zion.