I took a picture of Carrie standing beside a sign. She wasn't really happy about it. Would you be with a scheduled labor now 2 weeks overdue? We checked in, were all set up in the delivery room and Carrie was hooked up to monitors and tubes.
We waited. "Go get some lunch Tyson." "You sure?" "Yeah." We had been there all morning. So I did. There is no more sure fire way to start the delivery process than to have the husband and father step out of the room for a moment.
I ordered a turkey sandwich. Best turkey sandwich I've ever had. Carrie would agree with me, we used to go to the hospital cafeteria on dates. What? You do strange things too I'm sure. Don't judge me.
As I casually strolled back up to the delivery room my phone started to buzz... several missed calls were only now showing up. Uh oh. I got there and the contractions were coming. I had them start on the epidural. What seemed like a short time later (to me at least) we met our first child. I went with the nurse as she wiped our son down.
Word of advice, don't tell your wife your baby looks like Yoda. That won't earn you brownie points.
Baby Boy Gets A Name
I asked Carrie what we should call him. She let me decide. She wanted "Joshua". I wanted "Tyler". It was a tough decision. So I debated and debated inside. "What do YOU want to be called?" I asked the little guy as the nurse took us down to the nursery where Baby Boy received his first bath. He didn't like that. Not. One. Bit.
When we met up with Carrie back in the room where we would be staying we held Baby Boy. I was going to do the good husband thing and decide on Joshua. Then in that room and holding him I looked down at his face (he grew out of the Yoda stage real quick) and felt like he was a Tyler. Carrie asked and I told her. She just said okay.
Monkey See, Monkey Do
Tyler is 4 years old now. Lydia is 1 and both of them are so beautiful.
I just love my kids.
To get ready for the day I do what Tyler calls "scrumples up his hair". I rub product on my hands and then run it through my hair and finger-comb it into place.
One day Carrie goes up to the bathroom attached to Tyler's room. He has soap on his palms and his hair. His explanation, he was scrumpling up his hair.
I built a couple of raised gardens for raspberries. To level the ground I had to dig and move a lot of dirt. Tyler grabbed a little shovel and would chopped at the wet dirt with it. Every now and then he would sigh, look up at me and say, "We're working hard dada".
The day Lydia was blessed we went to visit our family in their hotel. My parents, Carrie's parents, Matthew and Kristen all stayed at the same place. At one point Tyler announced, "It's time for the prayer." He stood in the middle of everybody, held up a pretend microphone to his mouth and started to give a prayer. "... Amen"
When Tyler, my dad and I crossed the plains from SD to UT I called it our man adventure. Now Tyler and I will occasionally go on mini-man adventures.
One Saturday I took him on the train down to the Gateway and Salt Lake City. On Father's Day when asked about a special memory of his dad, that's what he talked about. "And the police man gave me a badge" "And Dada didn't know where he was driving" "We rode on the top of the train"
Another day I took him to the airplane museum attached to Hill Air Force Base. His favorite part: The toys.
Lydia is so beautiful. Most of her life I've been able to get her to go to sleep. She would just settle into my arms or on my shoulder and it would only be a matter of time. There were a lot of middle-of-the-nights or oh-it-is-so-early and then the my-back-is-killing-me days. But now we've sleep trained her and I honestly miss snuggling with her until she closed her eyes and looked like an angel lost in a world of peaceful dreams.
Now That It's Been 4 Years
I feel like I have an idea now of what fatherhood is. Not just making a baby, but fatherhood.
Change the sheets, change the diaper, change the blankets, change the pajamas. Fatherhood is waking up in the middle of the night to a very poopy diaper. Fatherhood is holding a sick child in your arms until you're so tired you want to cry like he is. It is about cleaning the poop off the wall. It is about standing outside a closed bedroom door listening to your two year old throw a tantrum inside. It is about being the bad guy, about telling your child what he can't do, about getting told "I don't like you."
Then, in quiet moments, it is about angelic voices softly saying, "I just love you Daddy."
Fatherhood is singing bedtime songs even when you don't want to. Telling "one more" bedtime story about Phineus "the most mischievous leprechaun in the world" at the end of an exhausting day. Fatherhood is making memories and sharing special moments not dictating orders and observing from afar. It is about answering question after question after question after question.
Fatherhood is about choice. It is about the choice to lose patience or to lead discovery. The choice to sit a child down on your lap and teach them what he did wrong or to yell at him over and over until he complies to your will. The choice to watch another football game or to play "builder worker man".
Fatherhood is about holding little hands struggling to walk. It is about setting limits and letting your child run free. It is about hard work. It is about patience. It is about giving not just time but yourself. Fatherhood is about love.
I'm grateful for my father, James Plastow, and what he has taught me. I'm grateful for my grandfather, Paul Rowe, and the stories he would tell me. I'm grateful for my father-in-law, Robert Hillier, and all the hard work he puts in. I'm grateful for my son, Tyler Plastow, and the kind of man he already is.
My little Lydia is a princess, my Ty Ty is a king. I love them both. Always have, always will.