“So, what can you tell me about being a father?” asked the young, soon-to-be dad. He had his notebook and pen at the ready. It struck me that my answer isn’t really something one would write down.

I vividly remember the sunny afternoon, 26 years ago today, sitting in our apartment. Lisa, pregnant for the first time, was in the early stages of labour. As she was breathing through a contraction, I could hear someone outside mowing their lawn. Here we were in the midst of irrevocable change, while just across the street it was any other Sunday.

I spent an hour on the phone yesterday with the cause of that change. He’s working through his next move, finishing up in one city and considering a project overseas. Yes, time does fly.

I had no real training for raising kids. I knew more about what I didn’t want to do. The first was our trial case. Everything was new and experimental. It was best if we stuck to the basics – feed him and keep him out of traffic. The fact that he’s grown up seemingly well adjusted and still communicating with us, is well, one of life’s little mysteries.

There is no definitive text, or advice, on how to do the job. That said, there are two things that mattered the most to me; time and humility. Being there – from sitting on the bed to standing on the sidelines. There is no quality without quantity. And, it worked best when I got out of my own way, which sadly, didn’t happen as often as I wished.

Love wasn’t something that required effort or work. It consumed me the minute they breathed their first. Today, I celebrate the son who started all this, and survived – Happy Birthday Sam.