I want to preface this that love both of my children equally and that there are a couple of different reasons behind why I feel that I have become a better parent after realizing that I have a favorite kid.
I sat there, in the hospital room holding our newborn son. Just minutes before, the doctor had to tell me to stop talking throughout the delivery because as Joseph was being born, he was turning his head to see me making things difficult.
I looked down at his eyes that were drawn closed sleeping from the arduous journey that he had just undertaken. Something felt different at that moment than after William was born. As I held William for the first time, there was a sense of pride and pure joy at becoming a father for the first time. Holding Joseph, I felt an immediate connection. I felt like a completely different father at that moment, and I vowed to be a better dad to my two boys at that moment.
I was the dad who would hop up in the middle of the night to take care of Joseph. A complete opposite with William, where I would sigh every time he would walk up in the middle of the night. I was the dad who would love feeding Joseph and would enjoy making him smile and laugh. To those on the outside looking in, it would be easy to see the bond that the two of us shared. It would be easy to look at it and see that Joseph is my favorite kid.
I was patient, I was calm, cool, and collected in the moments that really mattered when it came to taking care of Joseph. It wasn’t that case with William. I was winging it, and my confidence wasn’t there. I was a first-time father who didn’t have a complete understanding of what it meant to be a dad. I would sigh every time he would wake up in the middle of the night. I would get upset at the mere thought that I would not be able to hear the commentary of my team’s television broadcast because someone needed to take a nap. I thought being a dad just meant that I was the fun parent who talked about farts, burps, and sports at the dinner table.
What Is The Difference?
With Joseph, I feel like I had been given a second chance at being a better dad. Those moments that I missed with William with my head down looking into my phone, more concerned about posting this set of firsts to the social media world than actually being there in the moment.
Those are moments that I will never be able to get back. I’ll forever be that dad who told my son to wait before taking his first steps so that I could pull out the video camera. I’ll have those haunting memories of William crying from his crib as I finished up one last blog or social media update after he woke up from nap time.
Things seem to be different with Joseph though. Whatever I am doing at that moment, be it cooking dinner, cleaning up milk on the floor, or out mowing the lawn, there is always time for him.
To The Outside, He Is My Favorite Kid
What people don’t see, or maybe they do, if they have seen me grow up as a father over these last 8 years is that Joseph has made me a better parent to William. The lessons of patience, encouragement, and being present in the moment are now front and center for me in both of my kid’s life.
I almost hesitate to say that there is something to be said for being in a different part of my life. I’m older, and it feels like I’ve matured in these last 10 years since being married to my wife. But there is also a confidence level inside of me as a father that was not there when William was Joseph’s age. There is a much deeper understanding of what it means to be a dad.
And the more that I think about, Joseph isn’t my favorite child, he is my second chance. My second chance to be that father that I wasn’t for William. A second chance to be the dad who would get down on a knee, to his level, and explain to him that I understand his math homework is hard, but it is giving him a foundation to fully understand the concepts that he is going to learn in the upper-grade levels. It’s that chance to pick him up when he has fallen, and not worry about sharing that moment with the world.
This Is My Moment
I look at the years ahead of me, and I see that this is my moment. This is my time to teach my boys what it means to be a dad, to be a husband, and a human being. It is my moment to show William what it means to be a big brother because I feel like I have failed at being a big brother myself. This is my moment to teach them what it means to love their partner unconditionally and make sure they know it, no… matter… what.
When it comes down to it, that is the lesson that William has taught me. Even though I might not have been the best dad when he was Joseph’s age, he has loved me unconditionally and given me that second chance to be the dad that I have always wanted to be.
I say that Joseph is my favorite kid… no, William and Joseph are both my favorites. It is now my time to prove it.