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ImageJacob and Antonio

Life as a father became clear to me when I’ve decided to raise a boy who wasn’t biologically mine. I was 17 years old and settled in a relationship with a young single mother. At the time, we were both immature and had no idea how to raise a child.

Jacob was only two months old when I walked into his life. He was just an innocent baby who’s biological dad had abandoned. My intention to quickly learn about parenting was the top of my list. Even so, I couldn’t quite fathom how to become a father, let alone date a single mother. Books weren’t much help, but I’ll admit that life as a parent drastically changed my life, here are 3 ways how it did:

1) Maturing

At 17, I was a party-kid. I’ve attended, hosted and promoted them frequently. My lifestyle was materialistic from the clothes that I wore to the car that I drove. I’ve smoked pot, drank alcohol and was careless about living life responsibly. Upon accepting Jake into my life, the immature lifestyle began subtly changing.

2) Financial Awareness

I would buy Jordan sneakers, Ralph Lauren Polo shirts, Express denim jeans and designer sun glasses. All of my purchases may have costs me thousands. I didn’t have any major financial obligations, so I would end up with a closet full of these articles. Having Jacob in my life became the apparatus in understanding how my money was spent. I’d work, get a pay check, and he became my first priority. I had to ensure that Jake’s tummy was full, and the clothing that he’d rapidly grew into was replaced. I would buy him toys and treated Jake out for fun to places as Chuck E Cheese.

3) Tolerance for Children

I didn’t have much understanding of why children cry. If I found myself surrounded around children who were whiny, I’d easily get annoyed and move away. With Jake, it took some practice before I started to grasp a child’s schedule of cries. One cry represented that he was hungry. Another cry would represent that he’d pooped his diaper, and the rest were simply because he missed his dad. I’ve built a great tolerance in understanding children in such a way that now I cherish them indefatigably.

Having gone through this experience has driven my thoughts about life forward. Since dating a single mother, I’ve learned to prepare for unexpected occurrences, I’ve built tolerance to children, and I’ve learned that life offers so much more than just a party lifestyle. I’ve acquired my degree, multiple health and science certifications, and an overall boost of knowledge and experience that places me ahead of young adults at my age. It is unfortunate that Jake’s mother and I couldn’t continue our relationship due to complications that we couldn’t mutually work on, but I am still involved to some extent in Jacob’s life. Although communication hinders our bond as Jacob grows, I still offer my help and words of guidance to ensure that Jake grows into a respectful young man.

Jacob and Antonio

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