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Obligations that come with fatherhood

Tully Talk

June 19, 2010|Jeff Tully

I discovered very early on that obligations are an integral part of being a father.

And when I mean early, I mean literally minutes after becoming a father.

In the hospital when my daughter Shannon was born in 2001, they cleaned her up and brought her to the recovery room. I was basking in the joy of the birth of my first child, holding her and welcoming her into the world.

In the midst of my bonding, I felt Shannon let loose with a mighty bodily function in her tiny-tiny diaper. I was thinking what a cute moment, as I attempted to hand Shannon off to one of the nurses to get changed.

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But instead of taking care of what felt like a massive deposit, the nurse looked at me and said. "Daddy gets the chance to change his first diaper."

Now, I have nieces and nephews, along with quite a few friends who've had babies, and this wasn't going to be my first poop roundup. So, I happily made my way to the changing table, eager to show that this new daddy could handle the situation.

However, when I opened Shannon's diaper I was overwhelmed with a mess that looked like something from a horror movie. I don't know what was worse, the look of the stuff or the smell of it. It was sticky, black goo that reminded me of something that is found the La Brea Tar Pits. And the smell almost knocked me over.

I had no idea that newborn infants store up waste in their systems and evacuate it shortly after birth. It's called Meconium, and it is the most vile, gag-reflex-inducing stuff on earth.

Needless to say, I survived my first fatherly duty, which was only one of many to come. It was then that I realized that my obligations as a dad were just beginning.

Along with Shannon, who will be 9 next month, my wife and I also have a son, Grant, who is 6. Throughout my years as a father, they have provided me with more joy than I could have imagined.

In the sports realm, both seem to enjoy being active. Grant tried his hand at soccer recently, and has switched to tennis, a sport Shannon has played for years. In addition, both take swim lessons, and Shannon is a regular Aquawoman.

One of my obligations as a father is to try and attend as many as their sporting events as possible. That is one of what I call the "regular" obligations. But there are other responsibilities that I've discovered also come with being a father.

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