The Parent Voice for Father’s Day

June 15, 2020, Shirley Rubio Blake

The important role of fathers in our lives, from baby to adult, is something we all know and understand. We at Pollywog decided to ask fathers about the role of children in their lives, and the results are absolutely heartwarming. Get your tissues ready!

In honor of Father’s Day, we are welcoming the Parent Voices of fathers, including one of our coworkers and three of our spouses. They are Jose Hernandez-Rosales, Family Connections Consultant for Lincoln County; Joshua Cain, husband to Pollywog blogger Hailey Cain; Kody Blake, husband to Pollywog blogger Shirley Blake; and Terry Trask, husband to LeAnne Trask, Pollywog Coordinator.

Jose Hernandez-Rosales and daughter Jade Rose

Jose, dad to Jade Rose, 8 months old

From the day my daughter, Jade Rose, was born, I worked a normal work week, Monday through Friday, only seeing my daughter in the late evenings. Never did I imagine that something as big as COVID-19 would be the reason I get to stay home and find my new normal, juggling a very rambunctious 8-month-old with finding ways to get my work done.

My daughter’s mother is an essential worker as well so finding a balance that works for both us hasn’t been easy. When my daughter’s mother works evenings, I find some time to get things done. But, when mom leaves that’s when I have to get creative. While working from home, her schedule has become mine. Naps are my phone call and meetings hours, even if that meant some late nights for me.

During this time at home I’ve witnessed some incredible milestones that I would have missed if I were in the office five days a week. I have heard my daughter say her first syllables and first words, and hearing her say “Dada” for the first time was so enjoyable. And I worked with her to help her crawl, and watched the hesitation and the frustration that comes with all of that until the day she finally mastered it (May 6th 2020).

But from all this I’ve seen my daughter go from cooing to saying dada. I’ve learned if a toy doesn’t make a noise, she’s on to the one. It’s not a paper-back book she can chew on, she’s on the next one. And I’ve shared more snuggles than I would have ever imagined.

On September 7, 2019, I held my daughter for the first time. As I watched her take her first breath, she opened her eyes slowly and looked up at me with a small grin. It was the most remarkable thing I have ever witnessed. And in that moment, as I saw her change color from purple to a light peach that was a sign of life, I was the happiest man alive.

From that day forward, I learned so much about parenthood. I now know that, “Green doesn’t go with pink,” and that her bottle takes 1 scoop of formula for every 2 ounces of water. I know that the water can’t be too warm or too cold otherwise she won’t drink it. So, by now I know that 22 seconds in the microwave is just perfect. I have also learned two new ways of tying her hair up without the tie falling off, and lasting longer than 1 minute.

I’m not saying that parenting is easy, and by all means it is not.

I have had sleepless nights, walking zombie-like in the kitchen with my eyes halfway open, stepping on toys at 3:00 am that make the loudest sounds in the world, to hitting the side of the bed frame as I walk in the room to give my daughter a bottle.  But believe me, it only takes one tight hug at random times in the day, one huge smile, and one “Dada” to make it all worth it. And yet I know that every year I will see more milestones, more challenges, and more special moments that make it all worth it.

To all fathers out there: enjoy the little things, appreciate the struggles, and love fully because these moments are only lived once. As my father, Manuel Hernandez, told me, “The moments you cherish with your daughter now will live in your mind forever.”

Joshua Cain and daughter, Delilah

Josh, dad to Delilah, 2 months old

With the absence of a father figure during my childhood, I can hardly remember the countless Father’s Days that have come and gone without celebration or reflection. It is a surreal experience anticipating this upcoming Father’s Day as it has evolved from an indistinguishable date to a day in which I am to be the honored recipient.

Although I was not raised under the principles of fatherhood I have experienced it through the altruistic actions of those who have cared and supported me when I needed guidance, and taught through example what it means to be a man, and what it takes to be a dad.

All but one of my seven brothers have begun the journey of fatherhood and have provided a standard that I hold myself to as I raise my daughter, Delilah. My brothers, although each unique and diverse, share a profound devotion to their children and possess a courage in their convictions necessary to the upbringing of strong, happy, and moral individuals.

Looking forward I find myself praying for wisdom and working towards becoming the man my daughter would be proud of to have as her dad.

The first time I laid eyes on Delilah was hauntingly beautiful, watching her silhouette against the back lights of the delivery room as she was held up and offered to her mother. I was paralyzed in that moment as I listened to her cries and watched her hands reach out to be met with her mom’s embrace. As I looked down on my daughter’s impossibly small hands, it shocked me how they looked just like mine, not smooth and faultless but lined with crevasses as if they were carved after the ones I had used my entire life.

Unexpectedly, in that moment I was afraid, an indescribable sensation of fear made me feel small in the presence of the monument that I had stood to bear witness, and I could only think of the old psalm my mother had told me so many times before, Psalm 139:14, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

Kody Blake and sons

Kody, dad to Karson, 8 years old, and Samuel, 3 years old

I love being a dad. There is a lot of joy in parenting, watching your children grow and learn. I cherish moments like watching them smile. To have little people that are your own is special; they are part of you and the person you love.

Father’s Day is a little tricky because I want to spend time with my kids, and I also want to spend time with my father. My wife, Shirley, also has a father and brothers who are fathers who celebrate on the day. We try to be mindful of everyone celebrating but when it comes down to it you do what you can. Ideally, I would love to go camping with my Dad for the weekend.

My relationship with my kids is great, and I seek out better ways to parent because, like everything, there is always room for improvement. I value spending time with my sons, and I’ve adjusted my work schedule to be there for them.

There are biases against fathers and sometimes I’ve wondered if others judged me when I took my son to preschool or was the volunteer parent. At the end of the day, other people’s assumptions or judgments aren’t important because I am at peace knowing I’ve made the best choices for my family. Plus, my kids love it when I am involved, and it makes them happy.

Fatherhood is life-changing because it changes your heart and your perspective on life for the better. The best part overall is enjoying life with my children and wife.

Terry Trask, and sons, Matt, Zach and Ben

Terry, dad to Ben, 29 years old, and twins, Zach and Matt, 26 years old

I have been a father for 29 years, and I have kept a lot of the Father’s Day gifts my three sons have given me: the macaroni necklaces, the plaster hand casts, the handmade cards, the “story” books—and I have loved them all.

But now that my sons are young adults, the most important part of Father’s Day involves getting to spend time with my kids. I have had the privilege of watching my sons grow from wiggling bundles of drool to grown men with their own personalities and thoughts.

I like the people that they have become, and I want to spend time with them. I enjoy the weekly golf games, the trips to the gun range, summer afternoons tubing on the Willamette, family dinners in the backyard. Spending time with them has become the most important part of parenting.

Your kids will make you happy. Your kids will make you sad. You will worry about them more than you thought possible. They will make you madder than you thought possible. But at the end of the day, these children will be the people you enjoy most. I would not change being their father for anything.

 

We hope that you enjoyed these fathers’ perspectives into what being a father means to them. Join us to celebrate our fathers and father figures every day, including Father’s Day, and to value, support, and encourage the role of fatherhood.

Happy Father’s Day!