A Journey of Fatherhood
Featuring Mike Quinones
When Micah was born, the first words our hospital’s on-staff pediatrician said were, “Oh, your son has Down Syndrome”. Just like that, a bright day, full of happiness and joy, had a cloud put over it. We denied it at first, not believing that “rude” and inconsiderate comment. We chose to not have testing done at that moment and rather focus on enjoying the beautiful moment we had for as long as possible. Three months later, we finally opted for the testing, and it was confirmed that Micah did indeed have Down Syndrome. “So what?”, I said to Amanda. “He’s OUR son with Down Syndrome, and that’s that.” We both decided at that point, right then, to accept the news, move on, and realign our focus on what we would now need to do for our son.
That first Father’s Day with Micah was extra special, like it is for all first-time fathers. All the attention is on you and your son, and the thoughts of future Father’s Days to come are exciting. Micah was almost a year old by that point and he had grown SO much and had developed such a personality already. That first Father’s Day with him was a reminder for me that we’d share a life normal for us.. together, even if it wasn’t normal to the world’s standards. It wasn’t until our second Father’s Day that I really started to connect the dots between Dad and Son, and understand the special relationship Micah and I would have. I remember thinking back to when I was a child and growing up with my dad— the strong Texan raised near the Mexican border— ranching, playing football, and getting into trouble. He’s a beard guy too, much like I am. To be honest, growing up, I never thought I’d ever have a beard. It looked like so much work! Every morning I would see him in the bathroom shaving, and I remember the smell of the shaving cream and steam on the mirror. Now, I experience that same scenario with Micah and it brings me back to those days with my dad. When I am shaving, or trimming my beard, he’s so curious. It’s really special and exciting to wonder if Micah will recall these moments with me when he’s older, just as I do now that I’m a parent. The similarities between Micah and me are truly incredible…
I remembered how firm my dad was with me, not in discipline, but in emotion and work ethic. He taught me that you need to pick yourself up if you fall, work hard while you can, and respect your family. It’s that parenting style that makes even more sense to me with raising Micah. Everything for Micah is just a little bit harder, requires a little more work, and needs a little more effort, but he’s my son and I’ll do anything and everything I need to do to give him the best life possible. While he’s young, I hope to help encourage him and support him, to help him stand back up when he falls or when life gets tough, to push through when he is frustrated, and to resist the temptation to quit at all costs. I want to teach him the same core values my father taught me.
As Micah gets older, I realize more and more the insecurities I have as a dad. Am I doing enough for Micah? Does he have everything he needs? Does he know that he’s my world and how much I love him? Throughout the almost three years that Micah has been on this earth, every single day my mind is consumed with these thoughts, and I’ve learned that this is something that will never change. The universe has its way of keeping you honest. Those thoughts and insecurities are a constant reminder that something larger than your own life or purpose does exist. I tend to get caught up and distracted with work / career / cars / motorcycles / etc., and every time I do, my subconscious triggers that gentle reminder: that there is more to life. Micah is my life, and has been my life since the day he was born. My purpose here is for him, to help guide him the best I can, to enjoy this beautiful world how he chooses, with only the limitations he decides to accept.