Father's Day Reflections, and How a PSA Left an Indelible Mark on My Family

“What at the time was incredibly painful, has become a cherished memory.”

Reuben & Baby G'
Reuben & Baby G’

Another Father’s Day. Another year, reflecting on the many that have preceded it. I’ve been a dad now for 20 years…

My first interaction with my son outside the womb was cutting the umbilical cord. Moments later he was laying on his back on a table getting pricked and prodded by the medical staff to ensure he was okay (he was a preemie and there was good reason for concern). Crying loudly, and unhappy, I started talking to him; the moment he heard my voice he became silent; it was something that would leave an impression on me for life.

My son knew my voice. And it must have been a good familiar sound to him too. That’s pretty dope; nothing more honest than that.

That day in the delivery room turned into a stressful almost harrowing situation later on as my wife reeled from serious life threatening complications from the delivery; my young son on my mind I became immediately aware of what fatherhood entails - the good, the bad and the down right scary.

Everything worked out okay for my wife and our new child. He grew into a precocious, amazing, curious, crazy smart young little kid into a pre-teen, then full fledged teenager and now young adult. Life with him has been a blessing and a huge joy. I can’t imagine my life without him. There would be a huge gaping hole if he weren’t here; and I guess that’s what our kids tend to do to us. We give them a part of ourselves and they forever have a hold on that.

That hold carries us through when things aren’t so rosy, and they won’t always be rosy either. When they break something; when they misbehave for the millionth time, when they’re talking back at us in an attempt to assert that need for independence; all of these things can def try a parents patience and be exasperating even too. But, that hold, that hold can be the thing that sees us through it all.

When our son was an infant he had the croup, he cried insistently on this one occasion for what ended up being hours, without let up, at the top of his lungs screaming. My wife and I took turns soothing him, calling our parents, talking with the doctor, handing him back and forth to one another to avoid letting the stress, fear, frustration and exhaustion build up too high. It’s not easy. That was the moment we began practicing the slogan from that TV PSA “Never Shake a Baby.”. Sherri and I would be saying that slogan out loud back and forth to one another in order to sooth ourselves; him and each other - this too shall pass. It worked. He finally calmed. The doctor said it was croup. Nothing they could do. Nothing any of us could do but sooth him; love him; stay calm; be patient and wait it out.

That was NOT an easy night. But it was worth it. What at the time was incredibly painful, has become a cherished memory in a way; something of the many things that binds our small family even more tightly together.

Sherri and I joke about “Never Shake A Baby.” still to this day. We don’t have any little ones running around, but in that time, it saved us all some sanity. Thank you to whomever created that campaign, cause that stuff worked wonders for us.

These days the challenges Sherri & I encounter as parents look nothing like the ones we did when he was a toddler or a pre-teen; but there will always be some new thing and as a father and husband, and together as a couple and a family we’ll roll with whatever comes our way.

So for Father’s Day, I wanna thank my ride or die Sherri for being the ideal partner on this journey. I want to thank G’ for being an amazing person; a great son; and a young man we’re both so proud of. I hope I’m blessed enough to be here for another 20 years and to be able to be in a situation to watch him continue to grow and evolve as a man on a journey of his own.

Happy Father’s Day Fam

Reuben

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