Left: Kenny and Holly Allen, with baby Lily June, Right: Matthew & Adrienne Timberlake with Ava (3) and Evelyn (11 mos.)
In honor of Father’s Day, we asked a couple of new dads to weigh in on how their lives have been affected since becoming fathers. Their thoughts are poignant. Here’s what they had to say.
Kenny and Holly Allen, with baby Lily June
What does being a dad mean to me? I’ve always been a closet cynic who took everything with a grain of salt. I also traveled up to three weeks a month for my career. That is until this year when my wife, Holly, and I welcomed Lily June, our daughter, into the world in February. It wasn’t a sudden change, but whenever I would hear Holly cooing to our daughter, making her giggle, romancing her through (yet another) diaper change, my heart smiled so widely I felt it’s mouth curl.
I’m always looking forward to the next gurgle and giggle from either of them without them even knowing that I’m listening. I quit the job I had so I could earn a greater currency — being home with my family (which was always a priority, frankly).
Dr. Seuss had to have had new fathers in mind when he created the Grinch because, just like that Christmas morning above Whoville, my heart grew three times its normal size when I watched Holly hold our newborn for the first time. It was the truest personification of “love at first sight” if ever there was one; and I felt like a wealthy thief stealing into that moment with them. Now if you’ll excuse me, I hear a coo-fest starting without me. — Kenny Allen
Matthew & Adrienne Timberlake with Ava (3) and Evelyn (11 mos.)
Someone told me before our first baby was born that being a parent was like experiencing a second childhood. I understood what my friend was saying, but for me, it’s been a chance to observe childhood as an amateur scientist, watching the specimens mutate and develop through a microscope of love and interest.
Being a parent has has taught me how short a day really is, and that a huge amount of change can take place in a single year.
Being a parent has taught me that the first time we encounter a new thing: an insect, a smell, a word, the world expands in fascinating ways. This might happen to us as adults once a week, but with children, it’s more like 20 times a day.
I’ve learned that life goals should be built around simple tasks: being happy, healthy, and present in my family and community life. Other ambitions are secondary.
I’ve come to appreciate that single parents are heroes; and that a sense of place plays a huge role in our formative years. The places around us: parks, attractions, schools, streets, businesses, sights, diversity, and culture, make an impression on our child and help to shape them as they grow up. — Matthew Timberlake
Kenny Allen and Matthew Timberlake