Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Tales of a new dad

Published:Monday | June 12, 2017 | 6:00 AMKrysta Anderson
Mark Telfer and daughter, Mayuri.
Linval McKenzie
Andrew Astwood and daughter, Kate.
Stephen Watson and daughter, Emma.
Brian Cuff and daughter, Bree’ah-marie.
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When fathers step up to the plate and play an active role in the lives of their children, they win home runs in hearts everywhere! But sometimes, the journey of being a dad is not only rewarding, but shocking and downright amusing, too. Today, for our Father's Day Edition, we share the tales of five new dads who are still proudly cruising on the road of fatherhood.

- According to Linval McKenzie, he was surprised and elated when he found out that he was going to become a father, noting it was one goal he had always wanted to achieve. "My son has taught me unconditional love and the need to give it," he added. Since becoming a dad, he has become more loving to his wife and has had a greater respect and admiration for her, too. "I have also become more caring and selfless, as well as I've learned the art of putting other people's needs before my own," he told Flair.

"One day I came home and was in tremendous pain. I began hopping up and down and noticed that he was crying to come to me. When he did, he gave me the biggest hug and rested his head on my shoulder, as if he were feeling the pain. I could do nothing but hold him and cry."

Aside from the love that he receives from his son, what brings him most joy about being a father, the smile and laughter he shares with only his dad is something he definitely looks forward to. But of course, it's not always sunny in their skies. One thing he was never prepared for was the lack of sleep he would experience. "Mommy is only there for breastfeeding and comfort for him to go to sleep, but Daddy is here for entertainment and everything else. I was just not ready to lose sleep, despite the many advice I received."

- Andrew Aston was happy to learn that he was going to be a father, but confessed that he panicked a bit, too, when he realised that his life was about to change. His panic later transitioned to curiosity and excitement when he thought about the journey that awaited him. "I've learnt that you have to get over yourself. Your world no longer revolves around you when you have a child. I've become more focused and driven with my work. And I've become a fan of Dora The Explorer."

He shared that his daughter doesn't really do any crazy stuff. She does, however, enjoy when Dad holds her upside down by her feet. "Some people think it's crazy when they see it, but she enjoys it." And he loves that his daughter is cautious around strangers in a room and runs to him for protection. "It makes me feel like I have the privilege of her affection that others want. And it's also very cute when she does it. People always say 'She's a Daddy's girl'," he added.

Similar to McKenzie, sleeping poses a problem for his little angel. "I didn't know it would be so hard to get her to sleep. 'Baby you are clearly tired, just close your eyes and sleep'!"

- Mark Telfer, whose first thought after hearing that he would be a father was "I'm not ready" with a big grin on his face, said that having a child is a humbling experience. "There are different types of love, but there is none like the one for your child." Being a dad, he says, is more about being there than anything else, as no matter the big plans, brands or presents, your child is just happy to be with you.

What brings Telfer the most joy about being a dad is his daughter's ability to change his worst moods. It also helps that Daddy was her first word. But his star gave the family quite a scare at age one, when she mimicked the other guests who were staying at a hotel they were vacationing at by trying to dive into a pool. "Not sure our mom's and pop's hearts have fully gone back in place since the incident."

And while he wasn't prepared for the sleepless nights, kicks in the face, courtesy of his bad-sleeping princess, the diaper duty, which can be very potent, he didn't expect his heart to melt every time she hears the grille open and goes to warmly greet him.

- Overcome with emotion, Stephen Watson asserted that he was happy, excited and scared when he discovered he was going to be a father, but he was ready for this new phase of his life. Since her birth, his daughter has changed his overall view on life. "My goals, dreams and aspirations became that much more important as I want to be able to give her the best of everything."

Despite knowing that time can never be recaptured, seeing how fast Emma has grown over the past few months has made him realise that you have to live in the moment and be present. And while he wouldn't consider it crazy, he's still most surprised that she looks just like him and smiles the same way he does.

Coming home and seeing his family at the end of each day has been the best feeling in the world. And what he was not prepared for was just how much he would love her. "It's remarkable how much this little human enters your world and changes everything; for the better, of course!"

- Brian Cuffe, who eventually felt nervous and excited at the same time after hearing news that he would become a dad, initially thought his wife, Basillia, was pulling his leg. "We are far from being conventional, so her method of revealing it to me was quite cute. She gave me a teddy adorned in a bib saying 'I Love Daddy'." The surprised daddy-to-be embraced his wife and together they prayed.

His biggest concern came about in not wanting to be a failure as a dad, but his wife was confident in his paternal skills. So he embraced this new challenge and equipped himself with knowledge he garnered from reading.

From a practical standpoint, he has learned that there's a difference being a dad and being a great dad, which he tries to be - it's a continuous learning curve. "I've also had to remind myself, there is no set way on fathering. It is like a big melting pot, taking bits and pieces of different role models and also adding pieces of my own style as well."

His obsessive compulsive habits of cleanliness and neatness have been put to the test when it comes to his little one, who finds creative ways of spilling and marking up on things for the fun of it. "I've had to suppress the urges and tendencies to keep everything neat as soon as she pulls them up."

But he takes great joy in just watching her. "I've experienced joy on another level. I've had eight godchildren so I pretty much had a lot of experience. But nothing could prepare me for the joy fatherhood really brings, thinking that my wife and I were offered this opportunity by God to have this awesome little human. Just watching her walk, talk, run, smile, giving us hugs and kisses. The whole experience is a joy."

However, during her early weeks and months, her waking every two hours definitely took some getting used to - nobody could prepare you for that.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com