I became a father on August 8, 1997, 8:42 a.m.
Katie and I had been married [just shy of] two years, and I felt comfortable and confident in my role as an adoring husband. I was less sure of myself in the role of a dad.
I don't remember this photo being taken, but I precisely remember sitting in that chair, holding Abbie. I remember feeling still. Present in the moment, and by the same measure, caught up in this sense of eternity. It was an instant when I felt like I should have the most profound observations and declarations to make; but for the life of me, I could not find a single, coherent word. I don't think I'm an exceptional writer or orator, but I had thought I was at least good enough to express what it's like to hold your newborn child. The words never came. I felt them. I just couldn't say them. They seemed somehow deficient.
I remember the distinct impression that Abbie's spirit was older than mine. I don't know how doctrinally accurate that is, but it was a clear thought, in a sea of sleep-deprived thoughts.
I felt inadequate, underqualified, and flawed. But I also felt completely motivated by love. And I think that calmed me. I think love magnifies efforts, covers mistakes, and corrects foolishness. I hadn't left that hospital room yet when I felt like a dad for the first time, because I felt propelled by an undeniable love for this beautiful, heavenly-scented infant that was mine.