Reflecting on My First Father’s Day As a Dad
I’m happy to finally be an official member of the Father’s Day club. I’ve learned much from the way my own family raised me. It’s an uphill battle raising our daughter Cittie with the occasional bleed dragging me down. But seeing her mature so quickly makes it all easier.
As I write, I’m suffering from a bleed on my wrist that makes it difficult to carry our baby girl. During the crucial leap periods, babies begin to identify their primary caregivers. I hope she grows up to see me as her father even if I’m sometimes absent. In fact, I’m fearful of what might happen if it turns out that I can’t be there for her enough. Fathers are traditionally known as the providers and protectors of the family and that pressure can easily make us feel inadequate, insecure, and even worthless.
I’m extremely lucky to have fathered a beautiful and loving baby girl. She’s given us nothing but kindness and smiles and I pray that never goes away. People say that babies naturally show unconditional love. Babies also very easily forgive. But Cittie won’t be a baby forever. And I worry that, eventually, I may not be enough to make her feel that she’s daddy’s little angel.
It will break my heart if I ever see a gap between us, but I would understand. My illnesses will demand attention and care and it will force me to be absent at times. I may not always be there for significant moments of her life.
I may even have to ask her someday to seriously consider the risks of having a child. My wife, Cza, and I have discussed this at length. Typically, fathers pass the gene to their daughters, thus making them carriers of the illness. I dread the day this topic comes up over the dinner table.
I don’t know how I will break it to her. It’s risky for her to have a child, especially if it’s a boy. Deep in my heart, I don’t want her to struggle with what my loved ones had to face. Hearing myself thinking about these things makes me sound selfish. But I believe that it’s the protective side of me talking.
By then, she’ll be a mature woman who I hope I will have raised to be strong and independent. Whatever she decides when that day comes will be hers, and hers alone. I can always reassure her that I’ll guide her with my experience of being chronically ill. I hope that with my knowledge, I can help her soldier through the experience with ease.
Being a father with hemophilia and epilepsy can be taxing. I have to worry about bleeds, seizures, and things such as my genetic line. I hope it doesn’t affect my being a good dad to my little girl. Now that Father’s Day has passed, I’ve had a chance to reflect. I have taken the time to think about the meaning of fatherhood for the chronically ill. We will probably have it harder compared to others, but it’s no reason to complain or feel hopeless. I know I’ll stumble and I’m sure there will be days that my effort won’t be enough. I just want baby Cittie to know that I did my best.
At the end of the day, I know I won’t be perfect and I will screw up a lot. But knowing that my daughter thinks I’m enough is enough to make me happy. If ever she thinks that I have excelled at being a father, then that will be a blessing. And I’d be forever grateful.
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