Is This Thing Working?




With Father's Day in the rear-view mirror and my son's 11th birthday in  2 days I've been thinking a lot about Fatherhood and what it means to be "Dad". About 13 years ago, I almost lost my wife. The toughest time of my life. I spent every day for 3 months going to work at 5 am until 9 am, then grabbing my laptop and heading to the GNGH from 9:30 am until 8:30 pm and then back home to work on my the business (DANIMA). I'm not saying this to pat myself on the back, but to acknowledge how tough the three months were trying to keep it all together. But I had it easy, it was my wife who was living in a hospital on a feeding tube, going through multiple surgeries and doing her best to hang on! All because some hack in Oakville (who was a "specialist") nicked her bowel doing a routine endoscopy! After not knowing if Anna would make it out of the hospital, or off the feeding tube (as I was told she might not), when she finally did I was ecstatic to have my wife back home and healthy…..somewhat! So, when the surgeon told us not to even think about ever having children, I was okay with it. Anna wasn't, but she kept it to herself. I was just glad she survived the entire ordeal and I was content to live out my days, just the two of us.

Anyone who knew me, knew that was a charade. I always loved kids. All I ever wanted to be was a Dad when I was younger. I used to hear from family and friends "you're going to be a great Dad" and now I was facing the fact that it wasn't going to happen. So, I dealt with it. Not very well, however. Instead of being the clown and the 'fun-guy" (as I used to be) around our friends and relative’s kids, I began shutting down. When it was time to go see a relative’s new baby, I didn't want to go...and if I did, I didn't show a lot of enthusiasm. In hindsight, I see it was just a defence mechanism.

As Anna got better she began to think more about having children despite the doctor's recommendation not to! After some convincing we decided to try the In-Vitro process up in Hamilton. Without going into details about the length of time it took and the amount of money…we did it. And one day I was home working and I got the call from Hamilton…we were pregnant and the process worked! I was going to be a Dad!!! I jumped so high, Michael Jordan would have been impressed! I couldn’t wait to tell the world…but we had to wait…because, like most people you want to get through a certain time period before you announce it - to be safe. So, we waited…but in that time we lost one of the twins. Yes, Evan was supposed to have a sibling. This was God’s choice and though it hurt at the time…we put all our thoughts and prayers into making sure this other child would get to see this world….and he did!

Well now on a summer night in a dusky room
Come a little piece of the Lord's undying light
Crying like he swallowed the fiery moon
In his mother's arms it was all the beauty I could take
Like the missing words to some prayer that I could never make
In a world so hard and dirty so fouled and confused
Searching for a little bit of God's mercy
I found living proof

-- Bruce Springsteen

In 2 days from now it will be 11 years that Evan James Rotella was born – June 27, 2004 (those words by Bruce still hang above his bed in his room). The moment the doctor put him in my arms I promised Evan and I promised the Big Man upstairs that I was going to do everything in my power to be the best Father I could be - it's a work in-progress!

I can’t explain in words how these past 11 years have felt. This new type of love that I found that day has grown beyond what I could ever imagine. Watching him grow up and work hard to be good at the sports he plays, his education, and of course, his music is very rewarding. He can make me smile even when I am angry...and man, can he make me laugh. But even at those times when I get angry or frustrated (as parents do) I thank God for this opportunity – to be a Dad! My favorite job. It's truly a blessing.

I was lucky as a kid. I had/have an amazing Father. So, I constantly use my Dad as my measuring stick. A man who gives way more than he EVER receives. My Dad has always been my hero, my mentor…my muse! This is what I have always wanted to be for my son. My job is to give him as many opportunities as I can so he find his way through this world. To give him experiences that will stay with him for a lifetime. To give him discipline to grow up respecting himself, God and others. And to give him unconditional love…so he knows he’s safe, he’s loved and he’s never alone! That's what being a Dad means to this old guy!

I can honestly say I think God daily for giving me this opportunity. It’s been a fun ride so far. He’s been my best friend and always will be! I look forward to watching him become a young man, head off to school, get married and have a family of his own. He'll be a great Dad, I'm sure.

Thank you God for the gift of Fatherhood! 
I'll keep working on my promise...I promise!!!