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Fatherhood Demands More than You Can Give

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I’ve been feeling strange lately with regards to fatherhood, and I don’t have a great way to describe exactly what it is. Here’s how a typical day goes: I get home from work usually around five or six o’clock. Promptly, I’ll feed my dogs and then go next door to pick up my son, Lincoln, from my parents’ house where he spends a few hours each day after Ashley goes to work and before I get off work.

For the most part, the next two or three hours until bedtime we will spend playing, watching Elmo, eating snacks, having a bath and finally brushing our teeth while getting ready for bed. Lately, I’ll carry Lincoln up to his room at 8 o’clock sharp and I’ll hold him for a few minutes in the dark with his head on my chest while swaying back and forth — just spending a few minutes trying to wind down from the day.

Finally, I’ll put him in his crib, tell him I love him, and leave his room. He usually cries for 10 or 20 seconds or so before he’ll lay down and go to sleep. While I’m waiting for the baby monitors to go quiet, I’ll go ahead and pick up his toys and get myself ready for bed.

Once I lay down in bed, I find myself asking if I did enough for him today. Did I spend enough time with him? Did I teach him something? Were all his needs met? Did I do enough so that he knows how much I love him?

That last one sticks with me. Did I do enough so that he knows how much I love him? My answer to that question is always no. No matter how much I change up our routine, my feeling about that question remains the same. Frankly, I couldn’t even describe here what I think I’d need to do for that to change.

I stumbled onto a quote today I thought I would share:

Fatherhood demands more than you can give.

I don’t know who originally said it. Maybe it’s one of those things dads have been saying since the beginning of time, and thus really has no verifiable source. That one quote, though, describes my entire experience as a father so far. It doesn’t matter what I do, I always want to do more.

Perhaps that’s all I need to know for now.