As many of you already know, my wife Kelsey Rose and I are expecting our first child (a daughter) in the next week! As ecstatic as we are to welcome Isabella Rose into this world, the nerves are finally starting to set in. The room is painted, I’ve hung the shelves in the nursery closet and the furniture is all put together which makes this feel so much more real. A few weeks ago, a close friend of mine made me laugh after looking at the pictures I shared of the nursery when he said, “Tim, you are always so calm and collected. Are you even nervous about being a dad?”….
“ARE YOU KIDDING?????” “HELL YEA I’M NERVOUS!!”
I may appear calm and collected but on the inside my heart is racing. I’ve had people trust me with their lives before but not like this. There’s a difference between having your fellow soldiers trust you with their lives and being responsible for a beautiful baby girl…
But let me be clear, in no way, shape or form am I doubting my abilities to be the world’s best dad. This is just uncharted territory for me (obviously) and that makes me nervous.
I must admit, this is the first time in a long time I’ve really been nervous like this. As excited as I am to be a parent, I have no idea how to change a diaper or stop a baby from crying and that’s only the tip of the iceberg…
As a leader in the military, my soldiers could verbally tell me if they were hungry, sad or cold but baby Bella can’t. Basic training and those challenging three and a half years I spent in the Army are starting to seem like a walk in the park compared to what the next chapter of my life holds. But the more I reflect on my nervous feelings the more I remember one of my most cherished childhood lessons from my father (yes, I’ve written about a lot of them).
It was the night before my first football game in sixth grade and I had never played the sport before. Obviously I had practiced but the reality of my first game being the next day really started to sink in. As the night went on I was getting more nervous and I mean REALLY nervous. So nervous that I went into my dad’s home office while he was working late that night and told him that I couldn’t sleep because of how nervous I was.
What he told me next changed my life forever. He said, “Being nervous isn’t a bad thing. In fact, the day you’re not nervous is the day you’re in trouble”. He went on to tell me how his grandfather used to always tell him that being nervous meant you cared about what was in front of you and that if you weren’t nervous about it than it must not be important enough…
Despite only being in sixth grade, those words floored me. I hadn’t really thought about it that way before. In fact, prior to walking into my fathers office that night, I tried to talk myself out of it because I was afraid he might think I was being a wimp. I mean, this was a football game we were talking about. I thought I was supposed to be tough so how could I be tough and be nervous at the same time? But he went on to explain that those butterflies I felt were because I cared about the outcome of the game. I cared about how I performed. I cared about my teammates and I cared about my safety.
Now a decade and a half later, I realize how much of life’s challenges that advice has helped me overcome. I was nervous before I left for the Army. I was nervous when I arrived at basic training. I was nervous when I went to Germany and I was nervous when I was medically discharged.
Hell yes I’m nervous to be a dad but I’m not in this alone. I have so many incredible people in my life to provide me with guidance and support and baby Bella has the world’s most incredible mom to raise her with me.
The more I think about it the more I realize that I’m not nervous because I don’t know how to change a diaper or stop my daughter from crying because those are things I will figure out with time. I’m nervous because I care…A LOT. I care about being an incredible dad. I care about my daughter’s safety. I care about my daughters happiness and well-being. I care about my wife and her happiness and safety. I care about my family and most importantly, I care about my responsibility to step up and be a the world’s best dad.
So to answer my friends question more specifically, hell yes I’m nervous to be a dad but I’m not worried. In fact, I would be much more worried if I wasn’t nervous because those nerves just remind me of how much I care about what’s in front of me.
Thanks Dad. I want to be the best father in the world but I’ve got one a hell of a role model to learn from. You taught me how to hang those shelves in her closet. You taught me how to paint the walls. You taught me how to build the furniture and check and double check that the pictures were hung level but most importantly, you taught me how to unconditionally love and for that, I thank you. I will love Isabella Rose more than I ever thought possible. I will make my fair share of mistakes and I will have my obstacles to overcome but I have no doubt that I will be everything Baby Bella needs me to be and I owe that to you and Mom.
Thank you for reading! If you liked this weeks post, please don’t forget to like and share to help me reach more leaders! Also, I would love to hear your feedback below!