Had you gone back in time and told me this is what life would look like in 2015, I'd have called you nuts. Being married with a 9 to 5 and a toddler would've been hard to wrap my head around for the first 78 percent of my life, but 18 months into this fatherhood journey, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have it any other way.
I think most dads struggle with their first steps in fatherhood, trying to figure out who they're supposed to be. I remember helping wherever I could — late-night bottle feedings, nuzzling with my son while I read and sang to him... there's no manual for this; you just do whatever feels right.
At 18 months, it's like I can't even call my son a baby anymore. He's a toddler, tearing through the house to find whatever interests him that very moment. Woe be to whoever or whatever gets in his way. He'll lead you by the hand to where he needs you to be; he'll ride you like a pony; he'll protest when he can't play in the backyard sandbox immediately after getting home. Even if there's monsoon rain outside and we can't see past the first step.
He's an amazing little bundle of energy, running around without a care — I love him and he's my son. My son.
For me, that's the craziest part of all — there's a living, breathing little guy who lives in my house, reliant on me being a good parent. Reliant on my love and affection and my limited cooking skills (and my limited patience when he's not exactly on his best behavior.) He relies on me to be a great parent so he can grow up to be a great person.
Me, the guy who once refused to hold newborns for fear of breaking them.
Me, the guy who's yet to grow up, who hasn't accepted that being an adult means hunkering down and living as traditional a life as possible to properly raise a family.
The man I see now when I look in the mirror's a far cry from who I used to be, but my friends and I agree that fatherhood's been a good look on me, grounding much of my life that was previously chaotic.
How's life now that I'm a father? Pretty damn awesome. I may not get out like I used to, and sleeping in's a thing of the past, but these are small prices to pay for the smile that awaits me as soon as I'm home from work. The journey will be a long one with many lessons I've yet to learn, but I like to think I'll take care of it just like I have these last 18 months — a day at a time.
For all you fathers out there, may your journeys do for you what mine's already done for me.
Whether you're celebrating your own journey or a man who's gotten you where you are today, let's give it up to the fathers far and wide. Trust me — they're seeing the world through a whole new set of eyes!
Casey Palmer's a dad blogger from Toronto, Canada, teaching other men that fatherhood's not as scary as they make it out to be.