My husband is a daddy. It’s all he ever wanted to be.
He never had high aspirations to conquer the corporate world. He had no desire to heal people or jet set around the world for business. He didn’t feel comfortable carrying a briefcase, and managing people only increased his stress levels.
As a boy, his mother would tell him that he would be a doctor when he grew up. Being a nurse herself, she knew the “prestige” and respect that came from studying medicine and becoming a doctor. So there was probably an element of disappointment when he decided to become a foreign exchange broker instead. It was obvious that being a doctor or a lawyer was her dream and not his. A foreign exchange broker still had its perks though, and there was still the opportunity to go far and become “somebody”, or at the very least end up with a fancy job title.
For a good many years he did well in his chosen career. He travelled the globe, lived in big cities, and loved the expat lifestyle. He had lunch and dinner in some of the finest establishments, and drank (on occasion) $700 bottles of wine with customers who became mates. The money was good, his job was a breeze. He was living the life. We all were.
And then came the news, the news that changed everything.
Our beautiful boy, the one that was going to play rugby for St Josephs and surf with his dad, had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. It is both incurable and terminal. That’s when everything changed. Suddenly the job title didn’t mean a thing. And neither did the travel, the lunches, the dinners, the expensive wines. Here was a perfect 2 year old boy, a boy who meant everything to his daddy. His daddy realised that life is too short to work hard and play hard, that his little boy was only here for a short time and he wanted to be there for him. And his siblings too. He was a great dad, I could never fault his devotion and love for his kids.
However, it was when we were living in London that the stark realisation occurred – we were putting James through too much (physically, emotionally, academically) by living offshore, and we knew that Australia was the best place for him.
So he quit his job. Just like that! For his son. For all his children. Because he’s a dad, the kind of dad that will do anything for his kids.
I won’t lie – it’s been bloody tough since we got back. He has struggled to find work. He’s been called a failure by many, even those closest to him.
But do you know what? He hasn’t disappointed the most important people in his life – his kids.
They don’t care about job titles, what kind of car he drives, or how much he earns. They just care that he’s present, that he’s there for them. And that’s all he wants to do in life – is be there for his kids. Especially James, who is going to need more and more help as they next few years go by. He always wanted to be a dad, and he loves being the best dad he can be. He wants to look after James and show him the world, take the girls to swimming and nippers, and play rugby and golf with Patrick. He doesn’t want to miss a thing. He doesn’t care if others think he’s failed or if they’ve given up on him, because his kids know different. They just know that he loves them, that he’s there for them, and that he won’t let them down.
And what they think is what really matters. He’s a dad. He’s doing exactly what he always wanted to do. Being a dad. How lucky his kids are!