By Kevin Williams
I had not envisioned myself becoming part of the club of special people celebrating fatherhood each June. But when Aster was born almost 21 months ago I became a part of that club. It's been quite a ride. I wish I had some some of sage wisdom to sprinkle onto the sands of the internet about the riddle of fatherhood, but I don't. Perhaps I'll have more to say 5 or 10 years from now but right now I'm still learning. I do try to be a good Dad. I'm sure everyone tries. But what is a "good Dad?" For right now I just try to "be there" for Aster as much as I can and maybe that's the most important ingredient in all of the years ahead, I don't know. I twist my mind like a pretzel trying to think of the ways to make her life most enjoyable and comfortable as she grows and matures. While pain is part of anyone's life and one shouldn't try to protect their kids from every shred of unpleasantness I'm trying not to make Aster pay the price for some of my bone-headed career decisions over the years.
I also do constantly have one eye on the clock and calendar. While the individual days can sometimes drag by weighed down by dirty diapers and afternoon naps, the larger arc of time is speeding along at a scary pace. The mantra of "oh, no worries, there will always be more time" seems increasingly flimsy as Aster has gone from crib to crawling to walking to the first clumsy attempts at biking. She'll keep on progressing and moving forward and I need to keep up.
Surrounding Aster with as much loving family as possible is another ingredient we try to deliver. She loves all of her cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Father's Day was spent with all of them. We had brunch with my father (that's the challenge of Father's Day, the pure logistics, as so many people are a father or have fathers...there's my father, Rachel's father, my brother who is a father, my brother-in-law, and me) at a delicious dive in Dayton called The Butter Cafe. In this photo, Aster contemplates her next nibble. Note the "barber coat" style bib she is wearing. Wow, I wish they made the same thing for adults! I'd order 10 of them. Then it was on to Wegerzyn Gardens Metropark with its beautiful gardens and play area for Aster to explore and enjoy.
Here is Aster playing in an elevated sandbox. And lately she has discovered the fun of riding on my shoulders when we take walks, something that makes Rachel a little nervous, but she holds on tight. Sometimes too tightly as my neck can attest to.