My life changed on October 3, 1994 when Bryson, my oldest son, was born. The heavens did not part and choirs of angels did not sing, but I remember that moment as vividly as any other in my life. His middle name is William, to honor the memory of my father.
Due to some complications his mother had after he was born, I was thrust into the role of fatherhood and I loved it. Bryson and I got to know each other pretty well those first few weeks and months. The kid didn’t like to sleep so there were many nights of just he and I hanging out in the loft above our bedroom with me doing the “baby-dance” and him looking up at me with his saucer-size brown eyes.
For the next six years it was just the three of us. Bryson entertained us with his antics, frustrated us with his moods and kept us on the move with his activities. Those three things haven’t changed as he enters young adulthood.
Bryson and I have always shared a deep connection. However, over the past several years, we have developed a unique bond. It’s unspoken for the most part but he and I know what the other has experienced. He’s seen me at my worst and has loved me unconditionally through each and every day. Well, not completely unconditionally and I don’t blame him for that. He is his own man now and I recognize that I must treat him as such. I am so proud of him and the work he has done to accomplish his goals thus far. I have no doubt he can and will achieve whatever he wants in life.
On September 7, 2000 we welcomed Grant into this world. Because I was a one-time veteran of the experience, I was able to take it all in this time. The process of watching your child brought into the world is quite amazing. I know it was probably different from his mother’s perspective but I loved every minute of being there. We gave him the middle name of Stephen, after me of course, and that has proven to be quite prophetic.
Grant is a little me. From the physical characteristics we share to our asthma and allergies he is quite a carbon-copy of me. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and is a lover of people everywhere. He’s a thinker and prefers to process his every thought out loud to those around him. You want to know what Grant is thinking? Just listen and he will tell you. No guessing required.
It took me a little while to get to know Grant. Maybe it’s because we are so much alike. Or maybe it’s been because most of his life I’ve been trying to figure out who I am. Grant’s family life has been full of changes and much different over his first ten years than his brother experienced. But to Grant I’m still just his Dad and he seems quite content with that.
Grant enjoys just being around me not matter what we are doing. I think I take that for granted and should enjoy it more because that phase will be drawing to a close soon. I look forward to seeing Grant mature and experience life as he moves towards adulthood. For all of his emotions, he seems so very grounded. I am so proud of his ability to adapt and persevere through changes and adversity. Grant does many things well and I would give him the same advice my Dad gave to me, “Find that one thing you love and are most passionate about and focus on it.” I think that’s where Grant will experience the most happiness.
In 2006, I tattooed the initials “BWC” and “GSC” on my right and left triceps respectively. I did this about a year after the boys’ mother and I separated. It was important to physically have a reminder of them every day. They had become such an inspiration and strength to my life. They were an anchor that kept me from drifting when I was tempted to be selfish and act independently of what was most important for them. To this day and always they will be my “right and left arms”.
It’s an honor to be called Dad. If I have ever loved anyone with all of my heart and life it’s been my sons. This will never change.
Originally written Jan 2011.