This I Believe

Dale - White House, Tennessee
Entered on July 24, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

“I believe that parenting is the greatest adventure”

Dale Sadler

About three years ago my wife and I experienced several life-altering events. Within two months we found out we were expecting our first child, I changed careers, and we moved towns. Despite the career and house moves, nothing changed my concept of time, space, and personal values more than the birth of my son. Moving from a two person household to a three person household alters you like so much Jello in a microwave.

The first symbol of this change was the selling of the sports car and the buying of the SUV. I’m still suspicious as to whether or not you can change a diaper in a Mustang, but I’ll take my wife’s word for it.

Going in to this daddy thing I already had a graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. If anyone was prepared for fatherhood, it was me. Unfortunately, “Counseling Theories” did not translate well at 2am feedings, and “Parenting Techniques” was worthless until my son turned two. So, I had to learn some things the hard way.

Things like handling a child in a restaurant can only be learned through experience. When my son acts up, I can feel the leering eyes on me. The eyes that wonder impatiently, “When is he going to give that baby what he wants?”

I was once this person who only had to worry about whether or not my ribs were smoked or grilled. Now, as a father, I am on the battleground with millions of others who must continually remember, while my potato gets cold, that “He’s just a baby.”

When my son was born I learned that life wasn’t about me and it wasn’t about “us” being two. Life was about “us” being three and this three has to pack an assortment of snacks, toys, and tools; enough equipment sometimes to get us up and over the Himalayas.

As a married couple or single person without a child, you have lots of plans. In fact, according to my pre-baby time line, I should be biking over a hill in Ireland right now. My dreams of selling art in Italy and of breeding dachshunds on a farm called Weiner Acres would have to wait. It would have to wait because I have a human who, without me and my wife, could not survive. My son depends on us to supply him with everything from health care should he get sick to crackers for those long waits in grocery store lines.

The childless Me wanted adventure, but now that I have a child I see that there is no greater adventure than being with him when he sees his first duck. There is no greater joy than him asking me to go down a slide, and there is no greater warmth than seeing him hug his pa and granny.

I’m sure you feel the same about your son or daughter; the human you made and who you hope might change the world for the better.