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A Father's Story: It's All Worth It

As a special preface to Father's Day
and to introduce my husband a little more to any readers
I'm so thrilled to have been able to partner with Gerber
to have him share his own special story of fatherhood.

Here's what Pappa Bear (Lance) had to say:

I come from a big family
and being the youngest, 
it was always strange for me to think about taking care of someone else. 
The best analogy that I can conger
to explain my feelings on becoming a father
would be
sitting on a beach 
watching as a massive tidal wave
rises high in the sky 
and tilting your head back to look at it
thinking, "This is going to be a wild ride when it hits."

The day when Siri gave birth 
and I met my daughter was just that.
I recall hearing Svea's cries as they laid her on the scale
to measure and clean her.
I looked into her eyes 
and what I saw I will never forget. 
I saw eternity.
I knew that I had always been her father.
That was it. 
She was my purpose in life.

I spoke gently to her
and suddenly a calm feeling flooded through us both. 
All of the nights when I had played favorite songs to 
her in Siri's belly 
and read her stories were past, 
but now in this cold, bright room, 
she knew my voice 
and her discomfort went away. 
 I became her comforter. 
Someone who would 
rejoice in her life's triumphs 
and hold her when she felt pain. 
This role, 
aside from being a husband, 
would be my greatest 
and most rewarding calling in life. 

About a half hour later, 
Svea was in Siri's arms
when she suddenly coughed 
and stopped breathing. 
Her skin began to lose it's color
until she was a dark shade of purple. 
In that moment, I felt my greatest fears grip me
and all of those future hopes of life with her
slipping away.
I cried out in my heart
like a small child desperately calling for help from his Father, 
"Don't take her from me!"
As Siri tried to clear Svea's airway
by patting her back firmly, 
I ran into the hallway
screaming for help. 
I was fearful that no one 
could understand my jumbled, frantic words
and that their hesitation in processing what I was saying
would delay the help needed. 
Finally two nurses ran into the room
and helped Siri get Svea breathing again. 
There had been excess amniotic fluid 
and matter from the womb blocking her throat
and they cleaned her throat even more thoroughly now.

Having one of the most incredible moments of my life
followed so closely by one of the most heart-stoppingly terrifying
moments of my life
sent me into almost a state of shock.
I had been given the greatest gift
and thought it would be ripped away from me before I could even 
understand it. 
With the memory of this roller coaster 
echoing freshly in my mind, 
we cared for Svea over the next days until we were allowed to go home. 
Each night I looked forward to placing her in her small bed in between us 
and watching her sleep. 
Photo by Rennai Hoefer

On the third night home, I placed Svea on my chest to help her fall asleep.
I smiled at her pajamas that had hand covers to prevent her from scratching herself
and made it look like she was wearing tiny mittens. 
I found myself just sinking into those moments, watching her. 
I watched her little eyes flutter shut and suddenly 
the blissful realization struck me,

I knew in that moment what that scare in the hospital had taught me. 
This is all worth it. 
Every fearful or weary moment, 
every tender laugh,
every tickle, 
and every pain, 
and even the knowledge that you will have to watch your child suffer through heartbreak and struggles in life…
They are all worth it. 
Because I was not Lance anymore.
I was “Pappa.”
And every corner of my soul was filled with love for this tiny being. 
No words in heaven or earth begin to describe the ultimate joy 
and the sense of purpose that being her “Pappa” bring to me. 
Every moment when I leave in the morning for work
and I see Siri and Svea in bed 
and I lean over and kiss their foreheads.

Every day when I come home
and Svea yells, "Pappa!" as I walk through the door.

Each time she has fallen asleep curled up on my chest
from day one to now.
Each minute and each year...
I remember.

Do you have a moment that made you realize that it's all worth it?
Share with us in the comments! We would love to hear!

This post is sponsored by Gerber,
however, all content and opinions expressed here are our own.

All photography by Freckled Lemonade Photography (me)
except for the one photo that is specified so underneath. 
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