This afternoon on the phone:
“Hello Daddy…. Good morning.”
“Good morning Little Man, I missed you yesterday.”
“I know Daddy, I ran to the phone but then you were gone.”
“It is okay precious…. Yesterday was a special day for Daddies in Australia.”
“Oh…. What is it?!”
“You know, special day for fathers.”
“Oh Daddy, Happppppy Father’s Day!!!”
Yesterday was Father’s Day in Australia. I was really not expecting anything because International Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June but Down Under we celebrate it on the first Sunday of September. I have a 9-year old son who lives in Edinburgh with his Mum and every weekend, I ring him up for a catch up. I am not complaining about this differing dates because I get to hear “Happy Father’s Day” twice a year.
I think being a Father is one of the noblest duties Mother Nature had entrusted us Men with. It is one way of ensuring our genes continue on which sounds selfish but true, sort of in the path of immortality. I am not going to write about logic here but I am going to write about the Joy of being a responsible or being a devoted Father.
I remember when I became a Father because it was one of the scariest events in my life. I am saying this not because I was not fully ready but because Patrick’s had arrived in this world with unnecessary complications. His mum was in labour for more than 12hours (including false labour). Her water broke at around 8pm and I drove her straight to the private wing of Westmead Hospital in Paramatta, NSW. His mum was initially given some gas but it did not really help. An anesthetist came at around midnight to give her epidural and injected some drugs into her. Throughout the course of the night, she had two more injections through her epidural but she was still in so much agony and our private doctor was nowhere in sight because my little boy was not yet ready to come out, as we were told…. To cut this gruesome story short, Patrick was born in the morning the following day and in the process of childbirth, his umbilical chord was wrapped around his neck and it stopped him from breathing for seven seconds. For a newborn those crucial seven seconds of oxygen deprivation (hypoxia or anoxia) or lack of oxygen supplied to the brain could potentially equate to either cerebral palsy or permanent brain damage. At the moment of delivery, there were 7 doctors who rushed in the emergency room where we were after a nurse was asked to pressed a button. There were 13 medical staff altogether, and there somewhat like a bubble which someone had brought in whilst Patrick’s head was being pulled using forceps. When he came out he did not cry – my heart sank to the floor. He was smacked twice then this shriek bursted out into the corridors… I felt alive! He was placed on his mum’s tummy for a brief second then placed on a separate bed where all these cables came out of nowhere and then he was transferred into a bubble… He was having brain seizures so they took him away. I did not see him again for another 3 hours which seemed like an eternity, as I was needed to be at the side of a very exhausted but very brave mum. When the chaos of the event and the glory of the moment subsided, that was when I realised I just became a Dad and with it I have learnt the value of Life, I have learnt the essence of what it is to be Needed by someone and most importantly I have felt what perhaps generations upon generations of men in my family had felt and that was the outmost instantaneous pride and feeling that nothing on this planet really mattered. I became unafraid, because I knew I will be loved, remembered and cherished and that immortality is just a heartbeat away.
Yes, I really love my son and he is doing fine. I have been devotionally crossing the world to see him and will do so for as long as I can…. I love being a Father and a big fat "YES" to being a Dad. I’d do it all over again.
I end this note with one of the most powerful lines sung by Tony Benett and Stevie Wonder (link here):
“For once, I can say, this is mine, you can't take it
As long as I know I have love, I can make it
For once in my life, I have someone who needs me”
Happy Father’s Day to all the loving Fathers out there. We are not alone... and we will never be.