“Being a Dad isn’t always fun. That’s something I’m learning as the years fly by.
Being a goofball with the boys is the easy part, but unfortunately there’s times they don’t need that guy.
There’s times when I have to take that hat off and just be there for them, times I need to be their rock.
A few weeks ago, my wife Jes noticed Nolan walking funny. It turned out he had an infection on his foot from a splinter he’d gotten.
So, one day while I was at work, they all went to the doctor and he took care of it. I remember reading her texts, describing how scared Nolan was and how hard he cried during the operation. I felt horrible. In that moment I felt so bad I wasn’t there for him.
A week went by and the infection came back, my best guess is because the doctor never prescribed him antibiotics. So, like Groundhog’s Day, Nolan had to go back and relive the moment.
The morning of, Jes asked him who he wanted to take him. Mommy or Daddy? I’m not gonna lie, I was hoping he’d pick her because I was terrified. He looked at both of us, and then to my surprise he picked me. We both got dressed, and after applying our metaphorical war paint, we drove to the doctor’s office.
The doctor (a new doc) examined his foot and then gave me the look; he had to cut his foot again. Even though Nolan seemed cool, I know he knew what was about to happen. 10 minutes later he walks back in with his nurse and reality hit Nolan.
As the doctor pulled out the numbing needle, Nolan looked up at me and with the sweetest voice said, ‘No, no. Me foot all betta.’ It me hurt so much. As I see the tears start to fall down his tiny face, I lean in and say, ‘Look at me.’ He looks into my eyes.
‘Daddy’s right here, okay? I’m right here.’ The nurse and I hold him down as the doctor picks up his foot. I use my body to block his view of the needle and I feel his hand grab mine. ‘Look at me Nolan, look at me. You know baby Katy’s gonna be here soon right?’ He nods yes. ‘What would you tell her if she was where you are right now?’ He’s unsure. ‘You’d tell her not to be scared, right? You’d tell her it’s all gonna be okay, right?’ He nods yes.
The doctor starts to operate, I whisper into Nolan’s ear, ‘Daddy’s so proud of you, you’re so strong buddy.’ I feel his hand squeeze harder.
5 minutes later, it’s all over. The doctor and nurse leave the room and he starts to calm down. After dropping off his antibiotic prescription and picking up a few Happy Meal’s for the boys, we pull up outside our house.
We get out of the car and I hear Nolan’s voice again, ‘Carry me, please?’ I smile. ‘Of course Nolie, there’s nothing else I’d rather do.’
As I’m walking up the stairs to our apartment with Nolan riding piggyback, it all hit me – this is why I’m here.
As traumatic as it all was for both of us, he needed me. He needed his Dad and that’s a pretty great feeling.
I’m happy to say Nolan’s 100 percent healed up and a month from now he most likely won’t even remember that day. He won’t, but I will; a day I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mike Exline. You can follow his journey on Facebook here. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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