Dad in Training: Learning to be present
Celebrating Fatherhood Series
Raising Miriam, it turns out, is part of Garret Hunt’s spiritual journey. “She is the sweetest thing in the whole world and I love her more than anything. Ninety-nine percent of the time. The other percent is where she just drives me absolutely crazy!” Miriam is almost two years old and a bundle of energy. “Most of the time she is so stinking sweet and cute.”
Garret runs the Live in Everett blog and works as a writer. The flexibility of self employment makes raising Miriam with his wife, Esther, easier, especially during the pandemic. But fatherhood changed his world in ways that he didn’t expect.
“I used to be more obsessive over my work and spent a lot more time and focus there. I spent nights and weekends working…. I have definitely had to learn how to be much less selfish with my time.”
He said that he has always heard parents say “family first,” but “it’s easy to say. How do I make sure that I make that the priority? ”
Miriam is growing so fast — right before his eyes. Garret doesn’t take it for granted and sees these days with her as a gift that lends so much more perspective on his own life, and on his parents’ lives.
Be Present. Presence is such a gift.
In the past several months, Garret has undergone a spiritual transformation of his own, taking from it the greatest lesson: Be Present.
“Presence is such a gift,” he said. He has learned to release control, let Miriam lead while keeping her safe, and enjoy the world through her eyes. On their regular walks, Miriam stops to turn over stones, examine bugs and plants. He lets her take all the time she needs and has learned to be less concerned about getting places and doing things on a schedule.
This experience of parenting has changed him in other ways. He used to be “closed off” and not “in touch” with his feelings, attributing it to the generational impact of “toxic masculinity” that frowns on men expressing emotions.
It’s amazing what one little girl can do to a man.
As a father, Garret has learned to be vulnerable, and to “walk in love and serve other people.”
It’s amazing what one little girl can do to a man. Miriam, he said, “just lights up my world.”
by Ellen Hiatt