Mini-me Seven is now eight months old. There hasn't been a day since he came to our lives that we didn't enjoy. All the hardship and sacrifices withstanding, nothing beats the happiness of having a child.
Yes, even on occasions that he's sick or in discomfort. Yes, even when you don't get enough sleep because he's up and can't stop crying. Yup, even if having a kid costs an awful lot. And even though you can't go out anymore to enjoy the things you used to like : seeing movies in the cinema, spending hours in the mall, going out with your friends, dining out unplanned, photography trips, playing badminton and other sports, among others.
Bringing up a kid entails a lot of sacrifices, and I'm not saying this like we've been there, done that. We've only just started, and we know we still have a long way to go. We can't know for sure what the future brings.
What I do know are things I enjoy in being a dad. Here are some, off the top of my head :
1.) Stress-reliever. Having a cute kid who always smiles relieves any kind of stress. I used to hear the phrase "nakakatanggal ng pagod" a lot, pertaining to babies. I agree with it somehow. You'll still feel exhausted sometimes, but you manage to suck it up and smile upon looking at your child. The phrase is true, but the fatigue doesn't go away.
2.) Constant and instant supply of joy. Bring Seven to a room, any room, and he would light it up. He perks up people, especially us his parents. Morning, noon, and nighttime, we get a smile on our face just by seeing him being him. Even his "wowa" (grandma) Lorna asks to see him when she's sick. Seven is her best medicine.
3.) Prayer reminder. Most times when we just stare at Seven and be so unbelievably happy that a good-looking, healthy kid was given to us, we can't help but go in instant thanksgiving mode through a prayer. Lord, thank you for this boy. We don't forget.
4.) Cuddly bear. We love having him sleep beside us! It's like having a warm, cute and cuddly stuffed toy. And we can't help but be amazed at his sleeping face and say "ang pogi naman!"
5.) Morning alarm clock. I don't use my cellphone's alarm clock feature anymore. I have an alarm right next to me. I don't need to remember to set it because he never fails. Each morning he wakes me up (curiously, only me and not his mother) by tapping me and babbling to my ear until I'm awakened. Sometimes when that's not enough, he kicks me. Sweet, I know. But it's all okay, because the first thing I see when I open my eyes is his smile. The only problem is, his wake-me-up time is inconsistent. Sometimes it's at 7AM, sometimes at 6AM, and sometimes as early as 4:30. And he has no snooze button.
6.) Source of pride. We're all proud of our kids. We're no exception. It's hard not to be proud of Seven. It's impossible. So please pardon my swagger.
7.) Told-you-so pass. When my wife and I still didn't have a child, we got a lot of curious and sometimes intrusive questions about when are we going to have a baby. Are we ever going to have a baby? You see, when we got married, Anie and I agreed to not have a child for the first year (so we could enjoy it as a couple), and start trying to conceive a baby on our second year. Some people just didn't understand that, or didn't believe that. They got restless and started to ask questions and even had some funny insinuations. It got to a point when we just got tired of explaining our plan of a baby-less first year (they didn't believe us, anyway) and just kept telling them, "malapit na". Seven is proof that good things come to those who wait. And it's okay to have a plan. I told you so, peeps. Chill.
8.) Pressure and motivation. Seven is a lucky boy (don't we always say that, that today's generation is lucky?). Even luckier than me. I always wonder if I can provide him the same comfort and things that my parents were able to give us. Sometimes I get anxious if I can. But it's a welcome pressure and motivation on our part as parents. God-willing, we can raise him with all the necessities in life. A few luxuries wouldn't hurt.
Sharing with you most recent photos of Seven...
A lot of sacrifices, sure. But it doesn't compare to the joys of being a parent. I used to think it was overrated, but I've come to realize that it's all true. To my couple friends who are planning to finally have a child (or are hesitant in doing so), I kid you not : it's the most wonderful feeling in the world.
Father to Seven. Prefers to be called "Pop" because Daddy is too sosyal, Papa can mean boyfriend / boy-toy or a ketchup, Tatay is too un-sosyal, and Popsie is just three letters too much. I don't like the cola because it's too sweet, but I esteem coach Gregg Popovich because he gets the job done. So Pop it is.