My husband, Jordan Gill, always dreamed of becoming a father. On April 14, 2009 his dream came true when our daughter, Chloe Madison Gill, was born. In this interview I asked him to reflect on his first year as a father.
Q What has surprised you most about becoming a father?
A How totally distracting it is. There’s not a moment in the day when I’m not in some way thinking about her. People told me all about how much it would change me and how I had never loved anything as much as I would love this child, but nothing could have prepared me. I am totally smitten with her.
Q What moment stands out in your memory about seeing your daughter for the first time?
A The first moment was a little tense because she didn’t APGAR so hot. I remember thinking that there would be crying, and when there wasn’t, I got scared. But then she cried out and got more color, and through the weighing and bathing I was overcome with emotion. I remember holding her for the first time and looking into her eyes. She held eye contact and I felt like I already knew her and I felt like she already knew what was going on. She was born and then she was ours.
Q What do you love the most about being a dad?
A I love everything about being a dad. Even the hard parts, like if she wakes up in the middle of the night and I have to get out of bed from a deep sleep, are nice because I get to spend time with her and rock her back to sleep. Even when I have had a long day at work and I would give anything to collapse into the couch with a beer, I am happy to get to spend the end of her day with her, giving her a bath and putting her to sleep. Other than that, I really love watching her encounter and explore the world. She is changing so much everyday, and seeing her find words for things and develop right before my eyes is magic. I don’t even know how she knows what she knows. Most of all, I love that she and I have a separate relationship and our own special time. I give you extended time on Saturdays to do your own thing since you are home with Chloe all week, and I look forward to it all week. I put Chloe in the stroller or in the carrier, and we set off. We walk for hours, exploring flowers in the neighborhood or meeting up with family and friends at the local farmer’s markets. I feel like the gender stereotype is for the mother to do the lion’s share of the work, and sometimes we fall into that because you are with her more and know where you have everything stored, but on those weekend days, it is really nice and affirming to have to do everything myself. It builds my confidence as a dad.
Q What is your favorite memory from Chloe’s first year?
A There have been so many amazing moments with her. My initial thoughts go to the sound of laughter. There are so many times that I have laughed until I cried with her. She loves to laugh and is pretty good at getting the joke and realizing what it is that she is doing that is funny and repeating it. But the truth is that the most amazing moment of the first year is still the very first moment. Your labor was epic. There were days of contractions and false alarms and back and forths to the hospital and physical discomfort and lack of sleep. Finally, when the labor started in earnest, I watched you do the most amazing thing ever – watched you push herself further than I thought possible, and all of a sudden we were a family. It was that immediate. One moment a couple. The next a family.
Q What are your dreams for your daughter?
A I want her to be happy and comfortable in her own skin and to believe in herself and in her dreams. I want her to always feel that she has a home with us and a place she can come back to, but I want her to be brave enough to leave and chase her own potential. I can’t wait to see who she becomes.