I remember the first time I aspired to be a father. I was babysitting my neighbor’s kids, who at the time were around three and five years old. They had just moved into the neighborhood and we hit it off right away. I was around 14 and looking for some extra money. So when their mom hired me to babysit, it was the perfect fit to help support my Michael Jordan sneaker obsession.
We had a great year or two together until a new little guy entered the mix. Just after turning 15, I was responsible for a three-month-old baby and two young, crazy boys. I can hear you now. “A 15-year-old kid responsible for a baby?!” Now, I only watched them for a few hours at a time, and luckily my mom was right next door if I needed her to come and save me (and trust me, she saved me quite a few times!)
The day that little baby came into my life, he instantly made my job much harder. I accepted the challenge and became the most stellar babysitter on the block. I believe that experience is a large part of the reason I have grown into the father I am today.
I continued to watch the boys into my college years, and even after they moved to a neighboring city. I cheered them on at their football and basketball games and, when I was able, attended several of their important functions. I considered them an extension of my family and to this day, we still keep in touch like brothers.
Their mother is a hero to me for many reasons, and she is the only other person in the world that I refer to as “mom” besides my own mom. Today, that little baby who came into my life is the starting quarterback for a Division I college football team! (Not gonna mention his name so I don’t embarrass him, or violate any NCAA rules, but he will be in the NFL very soon and is one of the top-rated quarterbacks in the nation!)
I had a taste of what it was like to be a father figure, and I loved it! These little guys looked up to me. Sure they had their own parents, but they also relied on me to lead by example. They were always watching, no matter what. I realized that the way I treated or talked about my girlfriend, how I interacted with my own mother, how I treated them in public situations, and even the way I ate had an impact on them.
Above photo by Dynamite Studio, Inc.
Today, as a busy parent with three children of my own, I realize now more than ever how important it is to lead by example. I want my children to grow up seeing a father who not only respects and appreciates his wife and kids, but one who also makes his physical, emotional, and nutritional health a priority.
The days my children were born were the best days of my life. Next to my wedding day, these special days will live with me forever. When a baby is born, a dad is born. This Father’s Day, Pampers celebrates that incredible feeling little ones bring to the hearts of dads through unconditional love. What started when I was 14 years old, continues today by making me the luckiest dad around. I learn from them everyday. Their amazing ability to live in the moment is a constant reminder to put down my cell phone when I am with them. I will always be there for them. And whether they know it or not, they are there for me too. For that, I say #ThanksBaby to all of my three amazing kids.
For more than 50 years, moms and dads have trusted Pampers to care for their babies’ happy, healthy development. Pampers offers a complete range of diapers, wipes and training pants designed to provide protection and comfort for every stage. Visit www.pampers.com to learn more about Pampers products, join the Pampers Rewards program, and find ideas and information to help your baby get the most out of love, sleep and play.
What are you most thankful for as a parent? Please join me by tweeting why you are most thankful for when it comes to your baby by using the hashtag #ThanksBaby. Happy Father’s Day everyone!