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Dads: Don't Do-Just Be

Author: Nick Miller

Picture: Public Domain Pictures

Dads: Don't Do-Just Be

Becoming a Dad presented Nick Miller with his toughest challenge yet- to be still and let go.

During a very average day at work in spring 2016, I received a somewhat unexpected phone call from my wife, who gave me the news that she was pregnant. Thankfully, I was not at my desk at this point, as I had taken the call outside.

If I had been sitting at my desk, my colleagues would have seen a strange mix of shock, joy, amazement, excitement and anxiety, which all immediately met me full on.

Thankfully I could process these emotions whilst standing outside. When they eventually subsided, I came to the realisation that I was now a Dad!

My life had changed forever.

"I simply did not know what to do!"

The pregnancy went well and we found ourselves nine months later in hospital for the birth. Now those that know me will testify to my inate desire to do-to clean, to cook, to fix, to run!

Therefore, for me, my wife’s labour was a very confusing time. I simply did not know what to do! I repeated the words 'you are doing so well' so many times that one more may have resulted in violent consequences. I felt quite helpless and frustrated as there was nothing I could do.

As I stood by the bed and held her hand, it soon dawned on me the importance of just being. What my wife needed in that moment was a husband to be by her side. The NHS had all the 'doers' we needed.

When the baby arrived and I held him in my arms, I realised what fatherhood may really all be about-the same need that my wife had for me during labour: the need to just be.

A Whirlwind of Anxiety and Love

It’s fair to say the whirlwind of anxiety and love that has overcome me in my fatherhood journey so far has meant I've easily forgotten this.

As a dad, weekends can just flit away in to dirty nappies, spilt milk, numerous story books and little silly games like stacking cups to just get knocked over again. Whole days can go by where you wonder: 'What have I done today, or achieved?'

Recently the big challenge for us is taking our son along to Sunday Mass. Whilst our parish is welcoming and full of children, it is not easy to take an 18 month old. One of us will end up taking him outside to run around or play with hymn books in the porch.

It can get really frustrating when you don't get to hear the readings or join in with the prayers as usual. It also makes me ask the question: how suited is the Mass to little children?

The Importance of Just BEING

These frustrations created something of a rift in my faith, but again I found God teaching me through my identity as a father the same lesson: the importance of just being. 

I realised that, through just being at church, we have built up a wider friendship group since having our baby-a group of parents who can relate to our struggles, be a listening ear and generally be there for us.

As a father, I constantly get caught up in the need to provide for my family and to be able to give my family a home. When I focus too much on what I can do, I forget the important message God is writing on my heart. We are created as human beings- not human doings.

He has given us everything we need to be what He has created us for.

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