What it means to be a dad

Christmas Day and birthdays used to be the ones I longed for and loved during the past 30 years. Not any more, I assure you.

While they are special, the one day I cannot wait to arrive in 2010 is Father’s Day. My first as a dad.

The reason? I love every second of being a parent.

When my wife was pregnant, I went through every emotion there is, from excitement to fear, as I awaited the arrived of our first born. I was so excited I wrote a book about it!

I was relishing fatherhood but you always hear those scare stories of when your baby arrives, things can start to crumble, get the better of you. Not a chance.

Yes, there are fewer hours to lie in bed and your responsibilities change, life is different. However, it has been enhanced.

At the moment, my daughter Gracie is just four months old but so much has happened, she has changed and grown so much. For me, I never wanted to miss a second. Knowing the smile you will receive when you walk into her nursery in a morning is enough to make anybody get up, no matter what the hour.

Children are so innocent, so full of life and to see Gracie smiling all day every day makes me feel I must be doing something right.

Knowing she is mine and seeing her develop her own personality is fantastic. Trust me, she will let us know if it has gone past 7pm. She wants to be in bed.

Gracie is yet to walk or talk, crawl even. But to help a little person develop 24/7 – and see the effort pay off – is amazing.

You can put a price on most things, especially material items. You can’t put a price on unconditional love.

In the future, she will have dreams and goals in life that I will help her try and achieve. For now, her simply being on this planet is seeing me realise my dreams.

I am sure there are downs, if you want to be picky. I suppose ‘me’ time goes out of the window as you have a responsibility on your shoulders that far outweighs your own needs. But that is what being a dad is about.

Being a father is everything I hoped for – and more.

I am sure there will be plenty of times I am made to think otherwise. However, that little, loving smile will soon eradicate any negative vibes.

That is why I am looking forward to Father’s Day so much. Not to be pampered or receive presents. Just to be able to celebrate finally becoming a dad. There is no other feeling like it.

Stevie Roden – Author of Dad’ll Do Nicely: A Father’s Pregnancy