Being a Dad

Matt Orlando
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Matt Orlando

Matt is a 30 something year old runner/father/husband from New Jersey. Along with writing for TheRunnerDad.com, he occasionally writes articles for other blogs and websites. He is an IT guy by day, with a passion for running, traveling, and photography.
Matt Orlando
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Me and My Boy

“This is my most important role. If I fail at this, I fail at everything.”

-Mark Wahlberg

Every work day starts the same way.  I wake up groggy and disoriented, wondering how it could be morning already.  I pull my body, still heavy with sleep, up from the bed and trod down to the bathroom to take a shower.  I eat breakfast, iron my clothes, get dressed, pack my lunch, and kiss my wife goodbye.  I then head out the door to my car where I’ll spend the next half hour driving towards my day job.

But before I get there, before I get in my car, before I head out the door, there’s a brief time that I look forward to with anticipation and excitement.  Some mornings it’s only five minutes, others it’s longer.  Whatever the length of time, it’s my favorite part of the morning.  I head up the stairs, open the door, and there he is!  My main man, my favorite buddy, my first-born, my son!  Getting to see him light up as he sees me walk through his bedroom door brightens my mood each and every day.  I pick him up, give him a great big hug, and then see what surprises he might have left for me in his diaper!

Being a dad is both an amazing and scary thing.  The instant your child is born your life changes.  Things that seemed so important before take a back seat to what’s most important now…your child’s safety and well-being.  You eat better and exercise more because you want to be there for every life moment your child will experience.  You spend your free time crawling around on the floor with them rather than watching that TV show or playing that computer game.  You work hard to make them laugh, because in their happiness you find happiness…and there’s nothing better than your child’s laugh.  You hug them when they hurt themselves and sing them silly songs when they are sad.  At the end of the day, you both go to bed exhausted (hoping that he/she sleeps through the night), but you can’t wait to wake up the next day and do it all over again.

Umberto Eco, an Italian novelist, once said, “I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”  It is with that in mind that I try every day to be a better person not for myself, but so that I can teach my child to grow to be a great person.  Because, like Mark Wahlberg said, if I fail at this, I fail at everything.

I’ll leave you with the lyrics of one of my favorite songs about being a parent, “Watching You” by Rodney Atkins:

Written By: Rodney Atkins, Steve Dean, Brian White

Driving through town just my boy and me
With a happy meal in his booster seat
Knowing that he couldn’t have the toy
Till his nuggets were gone
A Green traffic light turned straight to red
I hit on my brakes and mumbled under my breath
As fries went a flying and his orange drink covered his lap
Well then my four year old said a four letter word
It started with “s” and I was concerned
So I said son now where’d you learn to talk like that

Chorus one

He said I’ve been watching you dad, ain’t that cool
I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you
And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are
We got cowboy boots and camo pants
Yeah we’re just alike, hey ain’t we dad
I wanna do everything you do
So I’ve been watching you

We got back home and I went to the barn
I bowed my head and I prayed real hard
Said Lord please help me help my stupid self
Then this side of bedtime later that night
Turning on my son’s scooby doo nightlight
He crawled out of bed and he got down on his knees
He closed his little eyes, folded his little hands
Spoke to God like he was talking to a friend
And I said son now where’d you learn to pray like that

Chorus two

He said I’ve been watching you dad, ain’t that cool
I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you
And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are
We like fixing things and holding mama’s hand
Yeah we’re just alike, hey ain’t we dad
I wanna do everything you do
So I’ve been watching you

Bridge

With tears in my eyes I wrapped him in a hug
Said my little bear is growing up
And he said but when I’m big I’ll still know what to do

Chorus three

Cause I’ve been watching you dad, ain’t that cool
I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you
And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are
Then I’ll be as strong as superman
We’ll be just alike, hey won’t we dad
When I can do everything you do

Because I’ve been watching you
Hey yeah.. uh huh

How has being a parent changed your life?  Leave it in the comments below!

15 Comments

  1. Eric

    Well put! My little one (2 year old) loves going for runs with us already (in the jogger)!

    Reply
    1. The Runner Dad (Post author)

      Yeah, my little guy loves the jogging stroller…he could spend all day in it if I had the energy to keep on running!

      Reply
      1. rustwordy

        I did a small run last week with my little guy (9 mths) in the stroller, and he seemed to like it as well.

        Reply
  2. Pete Olson

    Great post! My daughter is ten now, and reading your post brought me back to her earlier years. Thanks for that!

    Pete

    Reply
    1. The Runner Dad (Post author)

      No problem Pete. Glad you enjoyed!

      Reply
  3. Skip Lord

    Great post! Thanks for doing such a great job of reminding us of the importance of our role as Dads. As our children grow up, our role changes, but the importance doesn’t. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
    1. The Runner Dad (Post author)

      Thanks Skip. It’s good to be reminded every once and a while to keep us on the right path.

      Reply
  4. Cecil @ Dreadmill Drummer

    Such a great post. You have given me the inspiration to cry again today. My kids are my life. They are the reason that I try to live my life as best as possible. Thanks for the post!

    Reply
    1. The Runner Dad (Post author)

      It’s the hardest yet most reward job there is. Glad you enjoyed the post.

      Reply
  5. P.J. Murphy

    Without trying to sound overly simplistic – or paint with too broad a brush – becoming a dad to two young kids has changed everything for me. Literally every decision I make is funneled through what I feel is their best interest.

    I really enjoyed this post – thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. The Runner Dad (Post author)

      Thank you for checking out the blog! It’s amazing how your entire outlook on life changes once you become a parent.

      Reply
  6. lpaulick

    Really fine article here, Runner Dad! Passionate and beautifully finished.

    Reply
  7. Nicole @ Cookies on the Run

    Wonderful post! Having 2 kids has changed us in every way. Sometimes it’s hard, but ALWAYS worth it. And, I dare anyone to call me a slow eater now! 🙂
    You’re a good dad, Neil!

    Reply
    1. The Runner Dad (Post author)

      Who’s Neil?

      Reply
  8. Bill Bochnak

    Great post as always, no greater joy, no greater happiness, no greater accomplishment, than when i am with my two boys & wife, my family. Have a great holiday & all the best for 2014

    Reply

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