This I Believe

Dermot - Dublin, Ireland
Entered on May 9, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: parenthood
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Title: “I believe that I AM a Dad”

I now believe that even though our son is not with us, I am still a Dad.

Late in 2005, my wife Ann became pregnant. Correction, we became pregnant. Obviously, Ann was carrying the baby, but it was actually a brilliant time for us both and we hugely enjoyed the pregnancy. For example, we read that babies often recognise music they first hear in the womb, so every day we listened to “The Swell Session” by an Irish artist called Glen Hansard.

Tragically, our joy was short-lived – our beautiful baby son Tim was born sleeping on the 31st of July last year. We were (and still are) heartbroken, he was our first child and we had waited many many years for his arrival.

However, we much prefer to experience what we did than never at all – if that makes any sense. We had the joy of meeting Tim, holding his hand, taking photos and spending two very happy days with him. We also took great care in planning his funeral and played “Sleeping” from “The Swell Session”. It just felt right.

I know I am biased, but he really was absolutely perfect from head to toe. Oddly, for some reason I am fixated about his knuckles. I know it sounds silly, but I am amazed that our bodies sent all the right instructions – two arms, legs, a heart, mouth, button nose – oh, and don’t forget 10 perfect knuckles too.

Remembering Tim is hugely important to us. We have a box in our TV room with the clothes he wore, photos, cards and lots of other memorabilia. We also named a Star after him, planted a Tree in a local park, and think of him every time we see a butterfly.

For a number of months I did not believe I was a Dad. I know I have a son because I met him, held his hand, stroked his cheek and whispered in his ear that I loved him. But I struggled to see how I was a Dad. It is not a title I can award myself, only Tim can do that – and he is not here. Also, a Dad is somebody who teaches his son how to kick a football, shave for the first time, drive a car, or tell a funny story. I am never going to do that for Tim, so how I could be a Dad?

However, more recently, I have thought about my own Dad and in particular what makes him great. He is always there for his kids, has absolute pride in them, loves them with all his heart and never ever forgets them. So, I started to think – I do all of this for Tim, so maybe…….

I am very apprehensive about my first Father’s Day in June, but I am becoming more and more convinced that I deserve the day. I believe that I AM a Dad.