The life-changing experience of fatherhood - Jason Smith

My life has changed so much in the last month-and-a-half.

Before my baby girl was born, my time away from the office pretty much revolved around what I wanted to do.

But, since she arrived, nothing has been as it once was.

I used to look forward to Friday nights, solely because I got the chance to get up and sing karaoke in front of people.

I've been able to partake in that hobby to some degree in recent weeks, but not as regularly as I once did.

The strange thing is, I'm OK with that. If I don't get to sing on a given Friday night, it's because I'm spending more time at home with my wife and child.

Sunday afternoons are different as well. My wife and I used to visit my parents every week after church, for hours on end. We haven't been there in a few weeks, which has been much easier to get used to than I thought it would be.

While I miss my family very much, I haven't had a lot of time to think about it, because I have my own little family at home.

I also have a whole new motivation for getting home as early as I can during the week after work.

Once upon a time, I also looked forward to spending time with friends as much as I could. Because of the way my schedule has been in recent years, time with friends has been a rare commodity in my life.

But now, instead of wanting to see those friends for my own purposes, I find myself wanting more than anything, to introduce them to my daughter.

As I write this, I'm getting ready to let my co-workers here at the newspaper meet her for the first time. I can't wait, and neither can they.

Ever since my child came into the world, my priorities have changed, and seem to be changing more every day. I know there will come a day when I will write a column about something other than my baby, but, at this point, she consumes my thoughts when I am away from her.

Being a father is the dream of a lifetime, and now that the dream has become a reality, I can't imagine living my life any other way, than coming home to her and her mother on a daily basis.

I used to shy away from change, but being a dad has given me a new appreciation for all things new, and different.

I know my life will never be the same again, and truthfully, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Jason A. Smith covers crime and courts for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached via e-mail at jsmith@henryherald.com.