A Father's Confessions: The Vacation That Made Me Learn to Love my Baby

Nobody prepared me for what becoming a dad is really like.

I went into it with the humble expectation that I would be instantly overcome with profound love the moment I laid on eyes on my son Easton. Of course, I loved him. But, not in that mind-blowing way that the movies led me to believe. Those early months of fatherhood were unexpectedly isolating. I watched from the emotional sidelines as my wife’s heart exploded with love, while for me, it was a steady process of building a bond that would take time to develop.

During those first months, there was little I could do to prompt that rush. I tried everything; massages, books, songs, diapers, baths, and feedings. Yet, it was a family adventure — a three-week European trip through France and Switzerland — that finally lifted me over that emotional wall, and allowed me to fall deeply in love with my son. Somewhere across two countries, four cities, three flights, and five trains, something clicked. Travel was the catalyst that triggered all those sensations I expected to discover the day he was born.

The trip helped me appreciate how we so rarely leave the comfort of our nest, during that first year. Our babies experience something new every day, and yet as parents, we tend to frame new experiences through their eyes, instead of our own. Exploring new cities together really allowed Easton and I to align. And, for the first time in his life, both he and I were discovering the world together, as a team.

My wife and I had our doubts about taking the trip. Like all new parents, we quickly learned that babies thrive on routine. Yet, many of our most cherished memories were forged when we shattered our routines to do something spontaneous, exciting and new. So, even though our baby was just beginning to sleep through the night, we decided to sack the routine, and introduce Easton to the first important lesson he would ever learn: adventure is out there.

So, for all new parents interested in seeking out a little adventure for themselves, here are the top learnings I’d like to share, along with photos from our trip.