Becoming a father is a great feeling and experience. But what I realized by having two kids with different genders is that a son and a daughter have so different impacts to how you act as a father. Or maybe just for me, I'm not sure. Let me know if you can relate to this.
When my wife gave birth to our first born, Mik, it felt like I was looking at myself. I wondered what I was like when I was at his age and size. Then I thought about my silliness when I was young and the mistakes, failures and heartaches that I experienced which made me into who I am now. I am torn between shielding him and from hoping him to experience them but with the proper guidance. I wanted him to be better in all aspects while not forcing him to do things he does not like. It's like the stereotyped disciplinarian father with high expectations on his eldest son became me. And I don't want to be much like that so I control myself. But at times, the disciplinarian in me shows up which I try to balance with a show of care and affection that some dads are embarrassed to do with their sons.
Then came our daughter, Kayla. I saw the extremes of me. The softest of me while carrying her in my arms and the hardest of me at the same time who's ready to protect her from bad external forces. I've been over protective while being the spoiler by trying to give her whatever she asks for. And in her, I see the two most important women in my life, my mom and my wife. Combine that and she's Kayla. So I'm afraid of what I could do if anyone tries to do something bad to her. So the other stereotype, the overprotective dad to his daughter, it also became me.
It seems that these generalizations of dads are true. We will not be able to understand it until we become it. And we won't become it unless we have children. We laugh at these characters until we realize we are already like them. And we laugh and understand that we are like them simply because of one reason. Love.