Do you ever wonder about the greatest calling a man can have or how to best fulfill that? For me, it's the extraordinary journey of being a father. Join me as I share my story of transformation, sacrifice, and the adventure of being a father.
Being a father is one of the most important things to me. My wife, Becca, and I have been blessed with an amazing son, who recently turned 11, that means the world to us. People say that when you become a father “you change”. I don’t believe that is true for me. I knew before Becca was ever pregnant that if we were blessed with children, I wanted to be a present and good father. I’m continually growing as a person but what was important to me then, still is today. I didn’t change, but a lot of other things did.
Prior to my son being born, I had spent most of my time on active duty as a Green Beret. After my time in the military, I moved into supporting Special Operations as a contractor still deploying. After being in North Carolina for almost a decade, Becca and I had both very much established ourselves in our careers and as adults there. When we each first arrived in North Carolina, neither one of us was even old enough to buy alcohol. 10 years later we had built very successful careers and we really had established ourselves as adults.
When I was a contractor for the military is when Becca became pregnant with our son. I knew it was time for me to do something where I could be at home more and be there as a father. I have very good friends who are fathers and now have double-digit deployments. Some as many as 20 deployments. No exaggeration. I have an immense amount of respect for their sacrifice and service to our country and I’m forever grateful for these men. I also have just as much respect for the wives who are taking care of the family while these guys are deployed. Having spent years overseas, serving our country in some of the most demanding environments, I knew the sacrifices and hardships that came with that life. But as Becca’s pregnancy progressed, I knew it was time for a different kind of mission – to be there for my growing family.
During the pregnancy, we sold our home, vehicles, and many other things to move back to Texas. This move would allow our son to grow up around our extended family and it would hopefully allow me to be at home more. In the spring of 2012, our son was born. I was supposed to be deployed at the time, but I was able to stay back for the birth. Shortly thereafter I was back in Afghanistan in what would be my seventh and last deployment.
When I came home from that deployment, less than two months later, I had my family and I moved back to Texas. We had no idea how hard it was going to be after this move. In one aspect I had left behind an entire world that I knew so much about and would never return to. In addition to that, our return to Texas was met with so many unexpected obstacles. I pushed forward with so much change in our life in order to create the best home life for our son. I can’t overstate the difficulty of this transition. I wouldn’t want to relive that time, but I am thankful for being able to bounce back from it and thankful for the growth that came from then.
A Life of Adventure And Love
Some could say that I gave up so much so that I could be there for our son. Some would say that when you have children you lose that ability to see the world, travel, and experience different cultures. I can remember when my son was still an infant and discussing with my wife when we would be able to first take him camping. At three years old, our son was out hiking with us in snowshoes in the mountains above 12,000 feet elevation. When he was ten, we had taken him to 10 different countries. We’ve been very fortunate to be able to experience so much with him. My life is just as filled with adventure but with even more love. I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to be there as our son grows into a young man. I would give up that previous life a million times over to have what I have now. As a good friend of mine has said “being a (good) father is one the greatest callings a man can have.”
Spare No Arrows
I’ve heard “You don’t know if you’re doing a good job as a parent when your kids are young. You may catch glimmers here and there, but you don’t know that you’ve done a good job until your kids are grown.” I don’t know if that’s true, but I do believe that there’s another check along the way that can let you know if you’re doing a good job as a father. That is taking care of yourself. Sounds selfish but it’s not. You’re honoring yourself by making yourself the best man you can be. That can be through exercise, eating healthy, healing past traumas, reading, cleaning up what you're putting on your body, etc. When you’re the best version of yourself, that is only going to carry over into other areas of your life including being a father. Elevate yourself and create a lasting legacy for your family. It’s so important to not hold back on this. So Spare No Arrows and get KLĒNR. For yourself and for your family.
Written by CT, ~Father's Day 2023