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New Dad Shares His Greatest Gift This Christmas
by Larry Ferguson
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December 23, 2019

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New Dad Shares His Greatest Gift This Christmas

Credit: Larry Ferguson

This year has been a wave of emotions, and honestly, the balancing act of it all has been tough. In September, my wife, Aimee, and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary as well as the arrival of our baby girl, Ava. The intensity of navigating my daily duties as a husband, provider, and now father has ignited an unexplainable feeling. At 34, I’ve worn many hats and experienced several life-changing events, but I believe this is my “winning season.” My season of growth. 

With the holidays right around the corner, Christmas this year carries a different meaning. Becoming a father has, indeed, been a surreal experience. It is a level of vulnerability I never knew existed but a depth of love and pride I always knew I wanted to experience in my lifetime. Self-serving is no longer an option. Every decision I make, whether small or substantial, requires me to put them [my family] at the center of it all. 

Going from a family of two to three (or four to five if you consider our two dogs, and yes, they are family) has come with an array of transitions and challenges. I’m forever tired. I’m always anxious. In these last three months, the most significant change has been waking up each day with the intent of knowing that my wife and I have created this healthy child that is reliant on us and requires our unwavering love and support. What lies behind her happy smile and those big beautiful brown eyes is her counting on my every move. Although unable to express her thoughts at this time, I seemingly notice her eyes constantly scanning the room, always observing, and soon she’ll begin to learn and possibly imitate my actions.

Related: How I Learned to Wear the Title Father Proudly

Because of this, I genuinely believe my recent decision to take a leap of faith makes much more sense. In 2017, I left my “good” corporate America job in pursuit of something more. Although I didn’t realize it then, this was [actually] the beginning stages in preparation for the birth of my daughter. Looking back, all aspects of my life perfectly aligned in my favor. As I took that leap of faith, it was a defining moment, a moment for my daughter Ava to hopefully witness my evolution and fearlessness today. 

Credit: Larry Ferguson

My search for fulfillment has shifted, and my purpose is driven toward something far more meaningful. No longer am I solely on a quest for a successful career, I’m focused on the larger scale of things of building a family legacy. As my career as an executive chef continues to progress, the daily sacrifices have multiplied, which can become stressful. Knowing the years are short and these precious moments of watching her grow don’t last forever, the long hours I sometimes spend away, especially, now in her early developmental stages has made me ask the question, is it worth it?

I’ve learned to embrace the difficulties and welcome all of the changes through a new lens, open arms and an open mind.

The pressure to live up to expectations is real and present. Ava is watching and will continue to have a watchful eye. Through it all, I want her to see the dreamer in her dad. As she continues to grow, I am praying that she will understand me and Aimee’s [my wife] many sacrifices. Just as my parents have always wanted the best for me, I want the same for her too. I want her to experience every ounce of my faith and my belief system. 

I was fortunate to grow up in a tight-knit family with many strong, endearing paternal figures. So making good on the lessons and teachings of the men in my family helped shape the nurturer in me. As a business owner, a community leader, but most of all, a dedicated family man, which is an essential aspect of being a real source of inspiration, my father created such an indelible footprint in my hometown of Charleston, SC. In my eyes, a true renaissance man. 

Credit: Larry Ferguson

I’m fortunate to have a close relationship with my dad and both of my late grandfathers. They’ve instilled in me what a great father figure should encompass; someone who is reliable, supportive, engaged, protective, and loving. These are the qualities I’ve aimed to possess, but I discovered it took on an entirely different meaning at 10:02 a.m. on the morning of September 3, 2019.  

Some men dream of material things, career success, and other elements. One of my dreams has always been that one day I would become a father and enjoy the holidays with my very own family that I helped create. Although it’s complicated at times and also early in my fatherhood adventures, in this new season, I’ve learned to embrace the difficulties and welcome all of the changes through a new lens, open arms and an open mind.

I’m excited to begin building life-long memories with my growing family and establishing different holiday traditions that are unique to us and our household. I don’t know what those traditions are just yet, but as we’re figuring out this parenthood journey, I’m hoping they’ll be memories that my baby girl will pass down to her family and so forth. My wife vividly remembers many of her childhood holidays and admits they were some of the best times of her life. Above everything else, I want that for my daughter. For her to understand the importance of family, the constant love you have for each other, and the times you spend together are priceless, but it’s what this thing called life is all about.

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