The birth of my son Noah was hands down the most special day of my life.
For me there is no greater honour than being a father, and while most dad’s around the country enjoy cards of appreciation and breakfast in bed on Father’s Day, I want to take this opportunity to bask in gratitude for the lessons I’ve been lucky enough to learn from my little man in just 3 years, 8 months and 24 days and 7.5hrs.
I always wanted to be a dad. Always. There was a time when I thought it wasn’t going to be in this life then all that changed when I met my ex wife Kristen.
My parents separated when I was 6 months old so growing up without a father present, I wondered from a young age what the concept of a father was because I actually didn’t feel like I knew. I wanted one but I didn’t have one, everyone else had one but I didn’t. I even remember thinking maybe I did something wrong or didn’t deserve one. Kids imaginations can run wild.
But I also remember feeling torn about wanting a dad when I was young, because I had one friend who had what seemed like the greatest dad in the world with endless laughs, high fives and constant love and encouragement, and another friend who’s dad had a drinking problem and a penchant for severe beatings, real beatings and I witnessed my mate get the shit beat out of him on more than one occasion, and at age 7 that is something I should never had seen.
By about 13 or 14 I decided consciously that because I had no solid personal reference for a dad that I would one day become the father that I had always wanted as a kid myself. I was going to be a designer dad. I was going to develop myself into the dad I always wanted and dreamed about.
That was a big driver for me, and because I’ve been clucky since I can remember, I had a long time to think about it.
I wanted to be loving, present, fun, adventurous, kind, patient, generous, strong, disciplined and most of all have a healthy relationship with my kids. When the time came I knew how I wanted to show up but I was also shit scared of repeating the mistakes my parents made.
So guy meets girl, falls in love with girl and thinks he will spend the rest of his life with her and the next obvious move was kids. Noah was planned to a tee. I’m not joking. Kristen even had the date picked out when we would fall pregnant. I remember laughing at her and saying, “Honey it doesn’t work like that” – because it can take months and sometimes even years for some people.
But for us it happened super fast – like within a month of us trying just like Kris said it would!
I will never forget how Kris broke the news.
We had gone out to dinner to our local Japanese restaurant – I was pretty jovial and had downed a couple of sakes. My best mate Rowan joined us (I think it was just supposed to be just Kris and I – oopps), so Kris sat on the news through dinner.
On the way back to the house we had a bit of a tiff and when we got home Kris came to me in the bedroom and told me to sit down (and I’m thinking, fuck I’m in trouble).
So I sat down hesitantly, and watched as she presented something wrapped in tissue from behind her back. As soon as I clocked the tissue I knew exactly what it was. She was going to tell me she was pregnant!
She unveiled a positive pregnancy test and I went into overdrive! My life changed forever in a split second.
I literally started jumping up and down wailing in some feminine sounding dialect expressing pure unadulterated joy and happiness. I have never been so excited in my entire life. Ever. I ran around the house like a child high on sugar screaming my head off. I was so excited! I just kept hugging and kissing Kris’ belly.
It was one of the most memorable nights of my life. My life forever changed that night and has continued to change every day since in the most incredible and unpredictable ways.
From that moment on I felt like I didn’t miss a beat. I was already very effective and productive in my business but that’s when I went into super dooper over drive. I was a man possessed.
Because I knew that with a baby coming in nine months, my business lifestyle didn’t support me being the father I that I had designed and wanted to be. If I wanted to step back and spend quality time with my son, I would need to create more structure in the business and I would also need to scale to create freedom.
It’s interesting because when you look at the business over the last 10 years, the growth trajectory is consistent and steady, and then you look at it from about four years ago when we fell pregnant, and it’s since gone through the fucking roof in that time frame.
The growth was off the charts and I put it down to me valuing “my time” in a new way and putting a real intention and actual execution into changing my situation. I planned, prioritised, hired, trained, prepared, streamlined and redesigned my entire business model. I wanted to be ready and able to take the first month off and be completely present with my new family.
So…..the day we had all been waiting for finally arrived.
I don’t know that you’re ever truly prepared for parenthood, but boy was I as ready as I could have been. I was pumped to meet my son. Been talking to this guy and listening to his hiccups for 9 whole months, I was more than ready!
We planned a homebirth, the morning came and Kris woke up at 6am in early stages of labour before waking me not long after and I didn’t leave her side for 26 hours. I was her rock, I didn’t eat or sleep. I was at her side and was not leaving till we both got what we came for!
Unfortunately, when Kris’ waters broke there was meconium in the waters which meant we had to forfeit the home birth and go to the hospital.
We were both a little shattered but we knew safety was more important. We arrived at the hospital and were there for what seemed like eternity, she was given gas…. a lot of gas. I may have sampled the gas… Let’s just say I was passively gassing on second hand gas and there was A LOT! Kris was puff the magic dragon I tell you! Then came the syntocinon to bring on the labour, and eventually an epidural. At that point there was a high possibility she would have to have a C-section.
I could see in Kris’ eyes she was exhausted, so tired, she had worked so hard and her dreams of a natural birth were slipping away. We were both very emotional but there was still hope. The nurse left and said she would be back at 7:15am and if things hadn’t progressed we would be going down the C-path.
7:15am arrived and the nurse came running in to examine Kris. I remember her doing an internal examination, then she stared me dead in the eye and said, “Looks like we’re having a baby”. The wave of emotion that came over me was intense (shit got so real). And after that it was action stations.
I looked down at one point to see Noah’s little head starting to crown and I couldn’t contain myself, I spontaneously combusted into tears. It was magic – I was overwhelmed with happiness and the purest joy I had ever felt in my life. It was so pure.
He quickly came out with the umbilical cord around his neck and started to turn blue. The medical team unwrapped the cord and put him straight into the nest for suction and looked at me to do the honours.
So, there’s me absolutely mesmerised, suctioning out all of the fluids from his mouth and nose and I just kept staring and this gorgeous tiny baby boy. I said, “Hey buddy, we are so grateful to finally meet you. I’m your dad. I’m the guy that’s been talking to you for the last nine months. I’m your daddy, it’s so nice to meet you” with tears rolling down my face and a smile the size of a family size pizza.
It was so very special. Very, very special. The greatest day of my life second to none!
Life kicked in and things moved fast, people aren’t joking when they say kids grow up fast. It just flies by.
Noah has taught me so much in our short time together, more than seven near death experiences and 20 years as an entrepreneur ever has.
Especially when it comes to time. Before my son came along I really didn’t value time, and now I have layers and layers of appreciation for it. I’m so much more conscious of how and where I spend my time because when the really important things in my life show up, you start to question everything. And suddenly time becomes a precious commodity.
I can always make another dollar but I am very conscious of the fact that life is short and everyday single day without fail I consciously wonder if this will be my last or his (7 near deaths does that to you) and it is that question that drives me to drop everything when he is in my presence.
Through being a father I’ve learnt not only to appreciate and respect time, but I’ve also learnt about the right type of discipline that I believe is required for a healthy child to flourish and still have a healthy respect for boundaries and the right kind of structure.
I, like many others was brought up being smacked and have had my share butt beatings, which I honestly thought was perfectly normal.
I remember about 10 years ago sharing a post to Facebook which said something like, ‘I was brought up being spanked and I now suffer the condition called respect for my elders’.
It didn’t go down well with a few people, but I replied saying that I stood by the fact that sometimes a smack is healthy as I turned out alright.
And then Noah was born and I remember one day looking at him and thinking about all of the things that was used to discipline me and I started to visualise myself doing that to Noah and I burst into tears. I literally just broke down and sobbed.
I don’t wish for a different childhood, mine was actually really great, I have the best memories growing up and my mum did the very best she knew how and she did a very fine job, I turned out alright and owe a lot to her love and constant belief in my potential. I just started to realise that there are healthier and more effective ways to discipline, so he taught me a respect for that, and also reinforced the importance of structure and boundaries.
But one of the biggest things Noah has helped me with, is to build upon my ability to love unconditionally, which as a human being is such a powerful gift.
Because here’s this little bean that by design is here to push almost all of the buttons that you have, but I still look at him and still love him without hesitation or question. Noah graduated me into a higher level of conscious and unconditional love. Because even now, he’ll be doing things that I don’t want him to do, and sometimes I just have to laugh, because he’s just being a kid and it is ok to be a kid. No matter what he does or doesn’t do I will always love him to bits.
Noah is a ball of energy, love and kindness – he gives back in droves and has enriched my life beyond what words can describe.
The other night we were having dinner and he put his hand on my shoulder and turned to me and goes, “Dad, I’m never going to leave you”.
And I just burst into tears. My wife and I had only recently separated and he was feeling it.
And he was like, “Daddy, why are you crying did I hurt you?”
I was like, “No buddy you made me so happy”.
For a kid of his age, Noah’s awareness, his sincerity and kindness blows me away. He is just so generous with his love, there is always more to give in his world, his love is abundant.
Every parent wants to have a good relationship with their child and I am just so happy that Noah and I have a bond like no other. And strangely since my wife and I separated it has got even stronger. Even though he’s only 3 years, 8 months and 24 days old, I really get him. I just feel I know exactly what he needs. Some of it is instinct but a lot of it is just observation – because I watch and see a lot of me in him.
Someone asked me the other day, what kind of man do I think Noah will become, and I know it sounds cliché but I just want him to be happy. My hope for Noah is that he’s happy and healthy and pursuing something greater than just making money.
I would like to think he will be a man who is comfortable in his own skin. And that he does the things that he loves, and stands up for things that are important to him.
And of course, without attachment, I would love nothing more than to pass over my legacy and hand Noah the baton– that would be amazing.
So, this Father’s Day I take my hat off to all the kids out there who have helped us become better dads, better men and better parents. The sacred role of fatherhood is one of growth, self discovery and pure unconditional love.
And to my son Noah, thank you little buddy for all of the incredible things you’ve taught me along the way, and all the lessons that are still to come. But most of all I thank you for giving me the greatest gift of all, the gift of being your dad as I have been preparing my whole life for this role and to be able to show up every day with you as my son is my greatest joy in life.
I love you more than the sun, the moon, the stars and everything inbetween. I love you in all ways always and forever and no matter what you do or do not do you will always be worthy of my love.
You are strong, you are wise, you are kind, you are humble, you are brave, you are compassionate, you are Noah.
Love Dad xx
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