The Father Inside Me

“DAAAAAD! DAAA DAAA! DAAAAAAADD!”, he screamed at the top of his lungs.

It was 5:45am. He was half asleep and still in our bed with his mother and I had just gotten up to begin my day.

For the past two hours he’d been waking up, moaning each of our names, most likely from night terrors.

This time though, he was screaming bloody murder. I’d never heard him scream for me this loud before.

My heart jumped into double time, I turned and dove back into the bed next to him.

“It’s OK buddy. I’m here. Daddy is here. Daddy loves you, “ I assured while cuddling him and stroking his hair.

His eyes were still closed, but as he snuggled into me his screaming for me slowed and stopped.

I remember my friend Rich telling me once about when his son first called for him by ‘Dad’ from another room how it was a moment of realizing on a deeper level that he was a father and that he had a son.

When this morning, my boy – whose dream had most likely been influenced by my leaving the bed – screamed for me, it woke me up to a new depth of my fatherhood. The way I turned and jumped back towards the bed, even though intellectually I knew nothing wrong, was so primal; so fatherly.

I love meeting this part of myself. A part that had been there my whole life waiting to be activated.

The father inside me.