I was in Fisterra, Spain, finishing the Camino de Santiago the day my daughter was conceived in Colorado. A few weeks later, I burned an effigy of a wax baby in Fatima, Portugal, to pray the embryo later-to-be-named H would find a suitable place in her mother’s womb. My foray into fatherhood might best be described as non-traditional.
When I left Miami in 2011, I headed to hike and fish in Alaska, the longest road trip I could take while keeping rubber to the road. Alaska was not the only stop on this spawning swim upstream. I stopped at a fertility clinic in Denver to make the first of what would be many deposits as my part of the in-vitro fertilization process, a part that is much easier than what H’s mom had to go through. I traveled while her mom was pregnant, returned to help as much as I could prior to and after the birth, then continued on to India.
Now I find that my three-year-old daughter and her mom are doing great. What started as a relatively hands-off approach (aside from the deposits previously mentioned) is turning into a relationship. My reboot button is spending time with H, seeing the world through the eyes of a child – bright and full of wonder.
Being around her and seeing her joy in the simple things helps remind me to adjust my own perspective. And in an unexpected twist, she looks up to me.
Her mom is the best in the world at raising a wonderful child. Her prescience of the role a father could play in a daughter’s life was wise.
The challenge of being a part-time father is finding the right amount of interaction with H. I travel to Arizona a few times per year, staying with H and her mom.
The bond between a daughter and father is strong, and I am enjoying this phase of H’s life where she looks up to me and listens, the wheels spinning in her head as I try to answer questions of why this and why that.
We go for hikes on the Phoenix canal banks and through the mountain preserves, stopping to pick flowers, chase lizards and collecting cool rocks, a hobby we share. Instead of ‘doing’ yoga, we ‘play’ yoga. Moksha Yoga Studio has a special section designed for kid yogis.
H has her class – learning about the importance of movement and exercise, while I have mine. At the end of our first class, she peeked her head through the door, came running and lay down on top of me during savasana. At that moment, I felt that this was one of the greatest gifts that a father could pass on to his daughter.
How are you planning to spend this father’s day?
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