Sunday morning, I woke up to an amazing email in my inbox. There was a brand-new baby girl in the world. Everyone was healthy, and, ohhhhh… that picture! Nothing brings a smile to my face faster than a picture of a brand-new baby. I did what you do: I sent off an email about how happy I was to hear that everyone was healthy and included all my congratulations and best-wishes. I also mentioned that I thought this little girl had amazing parents.
Late Sunday evening, my iPhone buzzed with a new text. It was the Dad. I asked about the baby. He said he was getting more comfortable, but found it really scary. When I reiterated that he would be a great Dad, he hinted that maybe I only said that because “that’s what you say.” I assured him that, with him, it’s a mortal lock** that he will be wonderful. The proof already exists: he didn’t just nod along and believe me, he thought about it, worried about it and wants to get it right.
The Dad is one of the first people I became friends with when I moved to New York City. I moved here in search of adventure, knowing only one other person. This friend and I met shortly after I arrived and I loved that he was also from the Midwest (even if both us now assert that “we’re New Yorkers!”). There was something about his demeanor that felt comforting. I could call him just to check in about my day and my adventures in the city, and suddenly this place became home.
We don’t always talk so often anymore, but when we do, I am always aware that I am talking to someone who would move skyscrapers to help me. He’s the kind of guy who always remembers when you mention something you are worried about and gently follows up later. But in that, “I’m a Midwest Man’s Man” sort of way, where he checks in and then gives you all the logical reasons why it’s going to work out and be just right.
My “Superhero Statement” column began to encourage us to pause and enjoy when people do extraordinary things to make the world a better place. But, dear new Dad, you do that often with your friends. And I’m certain that you will do the same for your daughter. It’s a mortal lock that your daughter will see you as a superhero.
There is no doubt in my mind that you will cheer with her, for her and teach her how to cheer for herself:
I’ve loved this Ad Council public service announcement ever since it came out, as it captured all the best parts about the father-daughter relationship. And to you, dear friend: congratulations on the new baby! You will be a Superhero of a Dad. Just have fun and get a little rowdy sometimes.
And you, my dear Readers? Do you know any Superhero Dads out there? Do you also love photos of newborns in your email inbox?
Until next time!
**PS: The “mortal lock” in reference to new fatherhood comes from West Wing episode #423. Toby confesses to Leo that he’s worried he wouldn’t love his kids like other Dads. And Leo replies, “I’m not talking about everybody. I’m talking about you and I’m telling ya, it’s a mortal lock. It’s guaranteed.”