Father Figures: Stepping Up

“I never had any daddy issues, my parents were always together when I was a kid, mostly happy, and still are. And my dad was my best bud, still is.

So I always told myself I’d be a good father, and I wanted that great family life that I grew up with. So when I was 21 and I found out my recent ex was pregnant – it was either mine or the guy she was currently seeing at the time’s baby – I felt like my life’s plans were going the tube.

Regardless, I knew the right thing was to support her no matter what. We didn’t get back together right then, because we didn’t want it to feel like it was just because she was pregnant, and maybe not even mine. Even though I was there for her every day, going for walks, talking to her belly, getting her the popsicles she craved and everything in between, we were still just good friends planning to be co-parents. She even told me often that if the test came back negative, I could be a role model, but she wasn’t about to let me just step up just because the other guy dropped off the face of the earth.

When she went into labour, she called me right away, and I went to the hospital. I spent 25 hours there with her, until Eden was born at 7:25 the next day. I’m so grateful I got to be there, when other dads in my position might’ve been told to stay away until a DNA test was done.

When I held my daughter for the first time I had this feeling of unconditional love that’s hard to describe to anyone not in my shoes… I knew she might not be, but my gut just said “This is my baby girl.” I knew then that I didn’t need a piece of paper to tell me so.

We got the test results back about 2-3 weeks later, after we had already begun co-parenting, and I had assured my ex that I was too emotionally attached already to just run. Well, when the test came back negative, I found out none of my promises had prepared me for the life decision I had to make.

I knew half the men out there would’ve hated their ex and moved on with their life. But something about this wonderful little person struck me in a way I still can’t put into words. From the moment she saw me for the first time, she grabbed my soul and hasn’t never let go.

I faced a lot of judgement for my decision to be her dad, even had family alienate and ostracize me for it, when in fact it wasn’t their decision, or their life. I ignored it and just told myself sometimes the best things in life are unplanned. Her mom and I got back together for a year but in the end admitted we were just different people. At that point she never questioned if I’d “stick around,” because I was simply Eden’s dad.

We never saw a courtroom, I just got a place with a room for her and started taking her 50/50, half of every week. And I’ve been blessed to watch her grow into a daddy’s girl who tells me she loves me 50 times a day. Now, three years later, she just turned four, and we had one party with parts of each family, my wonderful girlfriend, Eden’s soon to be stepdad, all of us came together to celebrate her life, and I couldn’t have been happier with how life has turned out. And I probably don’t thank her mom enough for letting me be the best dad I could be.

I only hope that some folks read this and know that there are good dads out there, blood or not.”

– Jordan Forget

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Son Surprises Ailing Dad With Tickets To College World Series

Father’s Day is a special time to celebrate your old man, and show him how much you appreciate the role he’s played in your life all these years. Especially since, as we get older, our dads do too, and they may not have many Father’s Days left.

Matt Lea recognized that this Father’s Day, and so went out of his way to make it a memorable one, for both him and his father, both former college baseball players who bonded over the game as Matt was growing up.

Matt’s father Billy suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, and the symptoms have been accruing rapidly. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for more memories, and Matt used the latest Father’s Day as an opportunity to do just that. The 36-year-old drove 12 hours, from Florida to Mississippi, and surprised his parents at their doorstep on Sunday.

He was bearing gifts as well, bringing his dad the jersey of his favorite baseball team, Mississippi State. But that wasn’t all. Matt brought tickets too, to see the College World Series in Omaha in person.

In video of the exchange that Matt posted on Twitter, his dad was clearly taken by surprise.

“I figured it’s probably not good enough just for us to watch the game here,” Matt says in the video as he produces the tickets. “How about we go to Omaha? Do you want to go up to Omaha and watch the College World Series together?”

“Golly,” an emotional Billy responds. “You’re gonna break my heart, here.”

Matt’s gift for his dad received a rapturous response from Twitter, where it’s been liked 46,000 times and retweeted 11,000 times.

Matt seemed as surprised by the response as his dad was by the gift, as everyone who celebrated Father’s Day yesterday knows, there’s nothing better than sharing meaningful memories with your dad, which is exactly what Matt did. An article on Omaha.com details Billy’s baseball past, the initial diagnosis of his Alzheimer’s, the VIP experience Matt treated him too over the weekend.

Matt’s Twitter account showcased the rest.

Happy Father’s Day!

Amazing Street Artist Uses Everyday Objects As His Canvas

(Twitter/tombobnyc)

Artist Tom Bob doesn’t see the world like other people. Where you and I might see sewer grates or metal pipes, he sees ghosts and saxophone players.

Check out some of the amazing ways he’s transforming parts of New York City into works of art.

(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)

Check out more of Tom Bob and his unique artwork here.

Father Figures: Heroes

“On February 2, 2011, my daughter was born. The whole thing started pretty normally about 2:30 am or so, my wife woke me up and said, ‘Honey, it is time to go,’ so we went to the hospital in a snowstorm.

That was the easy part.

When they put the belly monitor on her they noticed that the babies heart rate would drop to low whenever my wife would have a contraction. She needed emergency C-section, but the doctor could not make it due to the storm, and when he finally arrived it was rush rush rush!
Well when my daughter Emily did arrive, she had internal bleeding throughout her body, which included two grade 4 brain bleeds. We could not touch her because she would bruise and start bleeding.
They had to life-flight her to the university, where she spent 5 1/2 weeks in the NICU, which left her (you may want to sit down) deaf/blind, with hydrocephalus, a shunt, cerebral palsy, and seizures (at age 6, she needed a baclofen pump because her CP got too bad to handle without it). She is doing great today. She is happy, loves life, and everyone who meets her says that she makes their day and she is beautiful.
To pay back our little community, I became a first responder, mostly a firefighter, but I did help with EMS. Never got my certification, but that is where I found out that in the U.S. we do not have any training for first responders to deal with children with special needs.
I have made it my personal mission to teach first responders about kids with special needs.
I have taken to Emily to every EMS/Fire station in the five counties around me. I have taken her to the police and sheriff’s departments to train them, and now I have a waiting list to get trained.
I don’t know if I am the hero here, but I needed to tell the story.”

– Mike Kuyper

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Low Cost Cosplay Guy Makes The World A Better Place

(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)

Anucha “Cha” Saengchart, the genius behind “Low Cost Cosplay,” has amassed millions of followers with his incredible reimaginings of famous fictional characters.

Whether you’re planning on portraying your favorite anime character or a Marvel superhero, this guy can show you how to do it effectively and on a string budget.

(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)

Can’t get enough? Check out more creative cosplay on his Facebook page.

Dad Turns Photos Of Daughter Into Kickass Album Covers

(Instagram/rfosterdesign)

When graphic designer Ryan Foster spotted a somber, black and white photo of his daughter, Harper Lou, it instantly reminded him of a blues album cover. He couldn’t help but throw some graphics onto the image to create her first “album” cover himself.

This has led to a series of album covers featuring Harper Lou, many of which look pretty damn legit. She may not be making actual records yet, but her dad will definitely be ready when she does.

(Instagram/rfosterdesign)
(Instagram/rfosterdesign)
(Instagram/rfosterdesign)
(Instagram/rfosterdesign)
(Instagram/rfosterdesign)
(Instagram/rfosterdesign)
(Instagram/rfosterdesign)
(Instagram/rfosterdesign)
(Instagram/rfosterdesign)

You can find more awesome album covers as well as other design projects by Ryan on his Instagram.

The 5 Hottest Father’s Day Tech Gifts Your Dad Will Ask To See The Receipt For

(Getty)

Mother’s Day is in the rearview and our annual celebration of everything Dad is fast approaching. Sure, he loved those grilling tongs and Three Stooges boxsets you got him last year. But if there’s one things all dads love, it’s being assured that they’ve genetically passed on their cheapness. Here are 5 Father’s Day gadgets your dad is definitely going to demand the receipt for.

1. A smart speaker

Image result for amazon alexa
Source: Amazon

These have become relatively expensive in recent years. This, of course, isn’t going to stop your dad from assuming it set you back several thousand dollars. Your dad just figured out how to make a Facebook profile. He’s gonna need a minute on talking AI servants.

2. A streaming stick

Image result for roku stick
Source: Roku

“So yeah, you just plug this Roku stick into the TV and you can pretty much watch anything you want.” That’s you. That’s you telling your dad you just spent a boatload of money on a piece of technology. “Instant access to every movie ever made” is your dad’s cue to ask you to retrieve the Best Buy receipt crammed in the console’s cupholder.

3. A dashcam

Image result for dashcam
Source: Amazon

These are great to have in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, your dad is still under the impression it’s 1999 and all digital cameras cost ten million dollars. Be sure to keep this receipt in your wallet, because this thing’s going right back to the store if it ran you how much he thinks it ran you.

4. An e-reader

Image result for e reader
Source: Amazon

What a lovely thought. Your dad, sitting up in bed, every book he could possibly want at his fingertips. What will he read first? A book about World War II? The biography of Henry Ford? The answer is, of course, the receipt for this fancy reading tablet that probably set you back three mortgage payments.

5. A yearly-subscription to a music streaming service

Image result for spotify
Source: Spotify

You just want him to be able to listen to the Doobie Brothers whenever he wants. But by his math, if buying a single song on iTunes costs $1, and Spotifly, as he calls it, gives you access to over four million songs, you’ve essentially just bankrupted your family. Good job. Be sure to keep that receipt handy to prove to him that he can still see his grandkids attend college one day.