That's us...photographed by a professional to make our lives look like everything is organized and flawless! Pictures like this end up on Facebook and Instagram daily which result in others feeling a sense of envy and a desire to have a life just like this. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change this life for the world; this is the life my wife and I "tried", no "struggled" to have for several years. Our kids fill us with joy and happiness, life is crazy busy and we love it. But, if you were able to look beyond the picture, you will see a Real Dad, a Real Mom with two Real kids who, after they are all snuggled into their beds at night, have us asking ourselves "are we doing this parenting thing right?"
Rewind --- I mentioned we "struggled" to have this family for several years. Yes, and struggle we did. Every year...Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas got more and more difficult to get through. Not because we didn't like the holidays, but because when we gathered with family, we watched our nieces and nephews run around, play, and laugh while my wife and I would put on a smile but deep down we were wishing our kids were running and playing along with the others'.
I will spare you all the details (if you want, I am sure my wife would be more than happy to share the full story with you and even tell you all about the poking and prodding she had to endure), but for some reason, children in our future were not looking promising. Month after month, appointment after appointment, tear after tear, and disappointment after disappointment, we eventually got to the point where we thought our choices were adoption or no kids at all.
But patience was what was really required, do you see that little girl running around in that picture? Looking back now, we realize that everything she does she takes her good old time doing --- so it only makes sense that we were just waiting on her. How long? 5 years... to put that into perspective, that's 59 months of failed attempts. Patience....patience, patience was needed then and boy is patience needed now!
So here I am, a Real Dad who my wife (Sheena) calls Aaron and my kids call Daddy. We live in central Pennsylvania and are somewhere in our thirties. Lennon (daughter) is 4 years old and Beckham (son) is 2 years old. The perfect ages to be able to somehow manage to test our patience...daily. But at the same time, they can look us right in the eyes and tell us they love us, give us a hug and a kiss and make us realize how lucky we are. Some days are absolutely amazing and other days we can't wait to put them to bed and finally sit down and relax. I know this is no different than many other families, this is Real Life.
Outside of being a Real Dad, I also have a full-time job. The pandemic has turned many families upside down and I can't even imagine how some managed to get through it. We also dealt with struggles stemming from Covid, but being a God-loving family, we know everything happens for a reason and maybe we can see some positives through it all. So, why am I bringing up the pandemic when I just mentioned having a full-time job? Well, I am employed at a University as a data analyst and pre-pandemic I was required to commute to work daily, which also required our family to live close to my work. Post-pandemic, I now work 100% from home and so we decided to move- now my commute is however long it takes me to get from the bedroom in the morning to the basement.
--- Now, I can see my wife and kids whenever I want...and...well, they can see me!
Real Dad...Real Life