Father Figures: Life Was Complete

“The day we got married we started trying to have a baby.

After a year of trying with no luck we went to a reproductive specialist in Atlanta. We found out my wife has PCOS (polycystic overian syndrome) which can cause reproductive issues in women, among many other things it does to their body. The doctor started her on chemical medicines trying to offset the PCOS.

For two years, we went through this cycle of timing ovulation and her taking shots of female hormones. We had two biochemical pregnancies that naturally terminated before development. Heart-crushing to say the least. After losing my mind because I wanted a baby so bad and leaving her for a month, followed by the doctor looking us in the eyes and telling us we would never get pregnant naturally, we decided to end all reproductive medicines and ovulation timing. We just started living life and having fun.

Then, almost exactly a year to the day after stopping the chemically induced medicines, we found out she was pregnant. It was a high-risk pregnancy due to the huge fibroid tumors in her uterus caused by the PCOS.

At birth, one of the tumors was the same size as our 6-pound daughter.

Our daughter came into the world via emergency c-section, kicking and screaming. We were bursting with emotion. Five months after her birth, my wife had another c-section to remove the huge fibroid tumors. A few months after that we got the green light to try and have another kid.

It took a solid year, but she got pregnant again. This time there were no tumors in the way, pulling nutrition and blood from the fetus, so we ended up with a 9-pound baby boy. Our life was complete.

Our take away from this whole experience is: ‘When man says no, God says yes.'”

– Chad Beaver

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Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

Father Figures: Video Games

“I’m the single father of two handsome boys and a beautiful girl, the boys with one mom and the girl with another.

We’re apart most of the time so we have to find ways to keep in contact. They say video games are bad for kids and that they need to get outside more but I think we keep missing all the good that they bring.

Me and my kiddos play video games together often – both when they’re with me and when they’re away. All 3 kids are growing up to be very intelligent, they make good decisions, and they are well behaved. Yes, they play video games often, they hop on their phones and they are well connected with all their gadgets… but so am I.

And we share our passions so that they’re not just my kids, but they are my favorite people to be around.

They get along well, they play online together, and when good grades come in, I don’t hesitate to take them to go get that new game.”

– Benjamin Salcedo

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Father Figures: A Little Bit of Validation

“We had Elliot’s first ever parent-teacher conference on Wednesday. I was mildly nervous about it even though I knew it would be fine. Elliot got absolutely glowing reviews. He’s ‘brilliant, kind, well-behaved, and the most hilarious student I’ve had in years.’

Even though I knew all of this, it’s so nice to hear this from someone else. A couple weeks ago at the Greek Festival a random guy complimented Elliot and Philip (age 3) on how well-behaved they were.

A lot of you out there with kids know that parenting takes a tremendous toll on your mental health. Even with the support of probably the Mother of the Century in my wife Amy, I’m constantly second-guessing myself. Did I handle that right? Was I too mean? Was I too lenient? Is he gonna need therapy? Did I just create a serial killer?

I’m kidding of course (kinda) but wondering if I’m doing the right thing is constantly in the back of my mind. I can only imagine that other parents live with this kind of constant anxiety and self-doubt. At the same time, I don’t want false feedback. If my kid is being a piece of shit, I want to know. It happens. Kids are self-absorbed people and they can’t help it. It’s my job to steer them the right way.

So for those of you out there that are involved in a child’s life in some way, even if you don’t necessarily have kids of your own, or even if you just see a randomly well-behaved kid at Costco, take a moment to praise the kid and his parents. Everybody is fighting a thousand little battles every day, and a little bit of validation that we’re doing the right thing goes a long way.”

– Michael Weir

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Father Figures: Without a Second Thought

“My husband stepped up without a second thought.

He became a dad when he didn’t have to, and loved this little boy instantly. He’s been there for all the sleepless nights, sick doctor visits, and all the milestones our little one has hit.

He’s done more than just love and support him. He’s helped him grow every step up of the way and helped mold him into the little boy he is now.

He’s blessed to have our son and we’re even more blessed to have him. Step-parent adoption is an amazing thing and I’m so happy my son gets the father he needs and deserves.”

– Sasha Boiteau

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Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

Father Figures: Veterans Day

“My husband Jeffrey Del Donno was recently deployed overseas for 7.5 months. He always puts his family first in everything he does and that didn’t change while he was serving.

He would wake up at 3am every other day when he had internet access to talk to our girls, send videos of him reading books so our kids could have a book read by him before bed, arrange his schedule to be able to sing Happy Birthday to our girls as they blew out their candles, and always checked in on our well-being whenever he had the chance, to let us know he cared.

He fulfilled his duties on deployment, working hard to make a name for himself while always putting us first. He’s a great husband and an amazing father and I would love to embarrass him by recognizing him for Father Figure on Veterans Day.”

– Monica Del Donno

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Father Figures: Daddy’s Girl

“My daughter came down with pneumonia about a week ago, and a possible return trip to the doctor was in the future. She had to overcome that illness and asthma to be with me that morning.

She told she had a surprise for me and asked that I wait in her room.

Two minutes later, she called for me to come to the living room. When I arrived, she set up a princess tea party for me.

Needless to say, she is Daddy’s girl.”

– Stephen Reyes

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Father Figures: Always and No Matter What

“October 4, 2017 at 9:13 am: you came into this world, Harper Rivers.

You took Katy & I and made us three. Parents. Created our family. Thank you. May you know God’s love & grace, may you embrace it, share it with those who need it, those you love and those you don’t, because that’s what it is.

Walk, run, dance, fall, stumble, and ALWAYS get back up one more time than you fall. We have your back.

Respect your mother. Be kind to your mother. Smile. Even when you don’t feel it. You’d be amazed how quickly “fakin’ it til you feel it” works. Give. Don’t be too damn proud to receive.

Love, baby girl, love. You will get hurt, but love again in spite & because of the pain. Live with freedom & confidence knowing you are loved forever, always & no matter what.

May you always clearly hear, and follow, the the beat of your own heart, and never confuse someone else’s beat for your own….until the day you hold your own child, and for the first time, you can’t tell the difference.

Never lose the irreverence to stick your tongue out at life ever once in a while.”

– Ike Lee

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Father Figures: The Right Thing

“Yesterday we stopped at Barnes & Noble on our way to the swimming pool so Norah (age 7) could pick out a book with her birthday money. Aspen (age 3) found a Peppa Pig backpack on the shelf (a toy she already had at home) and cradled it in her arms like it was her first born.

She chanted “Peppa” over and over while holding the stupid thing to her chest, swaying side to side, her face soft and sweet. It was the face kids are born with that make a parent melt.

I explained to her that she already had the same bag at home, but there was no reasoning. She was three. Sometimes it works, but in that moment It felt like I was reasoning with a goldfish.

Ultimately, she knew what was coming, same as I did.

I was faced with two decisions as a father. I could buy her a toy she already had, something impractical, but would save her melting down at the store. Or I could take the bag from her and risk an epic meltdown.

Aspen had a couple choices too. She could listen to her father, and put the thing back. That would be the adult thing to do. But she was three, and making those kinds of decisions was my job to teach her.

It was her job to be a turd about it.

In the end, we both ended up taking the second option.

I waited until my wife and kids were finished shopping, then I pried the toy out of her arms, her screaming like I actually removed a limb, me trying not to hurt her, the whole time wondering if she was actually Thor because of her freakishly strong grip.

I hauled Aspen out of the store underneath my arm, her screaming in a Peppa Pig swimming suit, her legs kicking, my swimming suit falling down, crack showing, but unable to pull it up because my hands were full.

I got her in the van. I got her calmed down. And once it was all said and done, I looked at her in the backseat, and wondered if I’d done the right thing.

I do this a lot as a father.

Before becoming a parent, I must have seen this scene played out a million and one times in a bazillion stores. But until I had children, I never realized how emotionally draining it is on a parent, nor did a realize that no mater what a parent does in a situation like this, there really is no way to win.

You are either going to create an expectation that if your child grabs something at the store, you will buy it for them, regardless.

This can be particularly difficult for a young child. 3-year-olds just want things.

Or you end up disrupting everyone in a 20 mile radius as you work to establish boundaries with your child.

Yesterday, I reinforced a boundary. I said,”no.” I disrupted a quiet bookstore to do it. I got a little embarrassed. But looking back now, I know I did what was best for Aspen’s overall development. It sucked. But I did it.

Parents make these decisions everyday. And it’s never easy. But if you are reading this, and you’ve faced something similar, I get it. We all do. It sucked, I’m sure. But you most likely did what was best for your child, and that’s a wonderful thing.”

– Clint Edwards, Author of “Silence is a Scary Sound

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Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

Father Figures: Happy and Scared

“We had our first daughter 10 years ago. Not trying, and not trying to stop it. Two years later, another daughter. All healthy no issues.

We waited four and a half years until we tried again. Not as easy as the first two, but eventually my wife told me she was pregnant. After multiple issues, and multiple stints on bed rest, our third daughter was born 5 weeks early, during game six of the World Series. Still no boy.

We tried and tried two years later for a boy. We got pregnant and told all our family. Two days later at an ultrasound there was no heartbeat. We were devastated.

A year later, my wife comes to me and says she’s pregnant. We were so hesitant to tell anyone. One day my wife texts me after an ultrasound appointment, my heart sank as I expected the worse. She told me they found two heart beats. We were happy and scared at the same time.

This pregnancy included extensive bed rest, multiple over nights in the hospital, and then at 28 weeks,my wife was told she would be hospitalized she delivered. At 30 weeks 6 days, via emergency C-section, my wife delivered a 2 pound 8 ounce baby boy, and a 3 pound 14 ounce baby girl.

We then commuted 35 minutes each way multiple times a day to the hospital and NICU for 40 days. We are so thankful for the nurses that kept us sane when we needed it, and our families for helping us when we needed to be with the babies.”

– Neil Pfoff

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Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

Father Figures: My Power

“God gave us a gift: my son.

He came after 5 years of marriage and 5 miscarriages. Since the day he got delivered, I’ve felt something different. I feel that I am living the rest of life just for him, to make him happy, to make him strong, to make him different, to make him a champion, and to make him proud of his father.

Every single moment in my life I am thinking about him. I became addicted to the gym to let him see me strong, I started my side business to increase my income to buy him all what he wants, I loved his mother more and more to let him grow in a warm environment.

So strange for me when I think about that, who is that tiny creator to change me completely like this, to give me the strength to do so many things perfectly like this, to give me all that happiness?

I discovered that although I am trying to be his power and backbone, he became my power instead.

Once I was supposed to give a presentation in front of 30 persons and most of them were in big positions in big organizations. It was a nightmare and I was feeling nausea two months before the presentation day, just thinking about it.

The day before the presentation I felt fragile, afraid that I wouldn’t say a word once I was on stage with everyone focusing on me. Then I decided to imagine that my son was sitting in the front row, looking at me and waiting to feel proud of his father.

When I took the mic and started the presentation, I didn’t see anyone but him looking at me and smiling, his voice in my head saying, “Go Daddy go, you can do it!” It went more than perfect and became one of the best presentations I’ve ever done. The audience clapped longer for me than for anyone else.

In the end I’d like to say that being father is the best thing that could happen to any man and whatever we give our kids, they give us more and more.”

– Mosafa Nassef

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Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

Father Figures: Somehow, Someway

“My wife and I tried for our “Bear” for almost 4 1/2 years. After countless doctors visits and a rather embarrassing appointment at a male fertility clinic, we thought we’d finally succeeded. My wife was ‘late’ one particular month and our hopes shot through the roof.

First doctor visit down, confirmation! I was through the roof! Next visit, ultrasound, there he/she was! “OMG, it’s really happening!’ Weeks went by, names chosen, nursery planning… but always caution. We’d tried too long to get overconfident.

Then the worst. The words in the middle of the night still echo in my head:’Babe, something just doesn’t feel right.’

I’d hurt before, and we thought we’d mentally prepared for the possibility, but you can’t prepare enough.

The loss was one thing, but the pain and sadness in my wife’s face…the pain and sadness I could not take away, I couldn’t fix, and which I somehow felt responsible for. We gave up. We couldn’t survive that again. Our relationship had reached its breaking point and somehow we held on to each other.

‘We’ll move on. No more trying.’

Well ‘Little Bear’ didn’t give a damn about our plans. Somehow, someway, about a year later the most perfect, healthy, beautiful 9-pound wonder completed our family.

I thought I knew happiness in the past, but nothing will ever equal the level of happy my l’il girl brings into my life everyday.”

– Joe Gonzales

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Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

Father Figures: Single Dad

“Being a single dad is never what I set out to do or ever wanted to be but it’s been the biggest blessing of my life.

My two daughters have taught me as much as I’ve taught them. Watching how resilient they were through the divorce, living in two separate homes, all while doing very well in school and home has been nothing short of incredible.

We do all kinds of activities together such as hiking, fishing, cooking at home, helping me with my photography business and watching the Buffalo Bills on Sundays.

Has it always been easy? Absolutely not. But I wouldn’t trade the time I have with them for anything.

I’m so blessed and honored to be their Dad and I’m looking forward to making more memories and having more adventures with them in future.”

– Joshua Lafferty

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Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

Father Figures: Double of Everything

“My and my wife tried naturally to have a baby for about twp years. Just as we had lost almost all hope, we found out my wife was pregnant while overseas on holidays. Unfortunately only about 6 days later it turned out to be ectopic and caused a lot of complications for my wife.

We went down the route of IVF, but unfortunately did not have any viable embryos from the first round.

We decided to have another go, and were lucky enough to have a viable embryo to transfer. A pregnancy test about a week later confirmed my wife was pregnant, and we were overjoyed. About a month after that, my father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly from a brain hemorrhage. Not long after that my wife miscarried our little baby.

After a break of a few months to try and get back on our feet, we decided to have one last try at IVF. We were lucky to have a viable embryo from this round, and even luckier that it held and my wife became pregnant.

At the 6 week scan we received some incredible news. There was double of everything on the scan; it was twins!

Later in the pregnancy when the scans were able to reveal the gender, we received some even more incredible news. We were having a little boy and a little girl. Since only a single embryo was transferred in the IVF cycle, that meant one of the babies was conceived naturally!

On the 2nd Feb 2018 our beautiful little babies were born, George and Eleni. It has been one hell of a ride since then, with sleep deprivation, sickness, frustration, etc, but each time I look in their eyes and get a big smile from them it makes it all worthwhile.

Thanks very much for reading. I’ll attach some pics of the little kids.”

– Jeff McGuire

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Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.