Dear Dad, Part Deux!

For the first time since the 1990s, a man is putting on his 'No. 1 Dad' shirt again


SAN ANTONIO - KSAT-12 GMSA Executive Producer Mario Orellana shares his thoughts on being a father for the second time in three decades.

I’ll get straight to the point. I’ve never been more excited, more nervous and more ready to become a father again.

I’ve got this parenting thing down and know what it takes: the patience of a saint, the confidence to not be intimidated by a diaper change and the acceptance that sleep is an absolute luxury. It takes a strong mind and able body to be a dad; two things I can confidently say I have.

Problem is, I really like my sleep…and now that I’m being completely honest, the “able body” thing is also a stretch.

I was 19 when my son was born and now, 16 years later, I’m going to be a dad again. I know what lies ahead: lots of crying, lots of temper tantrums … and that’s just me griping about converting the guest room into a nursery.
I’ve been told that being a dad is like riding a bike ... but I know better.

Bikes don't throw up on your nice clothes or refuse to put on their shoes when you're in a hurry. Bikes don't make you run to your car and cry after you just dropped them off for their first day of school.

My bike is in my garage right now with a flat tire because I just haven’t had the time to fix it. I find that excuse doesn’t fly when it comes to kids.

It was 1996 when my son was born. The "Macarena" was tearing up the dance charts, it was Clinton v. Dole in the race for president and I suddenly had to find a babysitter so I could watch that "Jerry Maguire" movie everybody was talking about.

Life changed in a hurry for a guy who barely graduated high school and I wasn't exactly the most qualified to enter the real world, let alone welcome a new baby into it.

His mother and I were far too young, but she always seemed so much more prepared than I was. I learned quickly that I can’t compete with maternal instinct, a lesson that I still adhere to -- if I know what's good for me. It didn’t work out between his mother and me. We certainly had our ups and downs but now stand united in our goal: don’t let our teenage son get the better of us.

Now in 2012, my wife, Sasha, and I (pictured above) are on Cloud 9 expecting our first child.

She can certainly be described as glowing, but she’s also understandably nervous. It’s uncharted waters for her and well-navigated waters for me -- waters that are boiling up old feelings again.

I’m as nervous as anyone would be in my position because 16 years between children is a long time -- and I haven’t met too many people in my position. Most of my friends are just in the beginning stages of raising a family and the others who did have children a long time ago … well, they stopped having children a long time ago.

I’m somewhere in the middle. I’m like an athlete who is making a comeback after a long retirement. That would have some asking, “Why you?"

I read recently that life stories have at least one pivot point, an event from which all other events unfold.

My son reshaped my destiny by making me get my life in order and not just talk about it anymore. That is tough for any teenager to do, and I can tell you now, it’s tough for a 35-year-old as well.

However, just like last time, I have the support of my family and a great wife who is going to be a great first-time mom.

The big difference is I can now lean on my son for help … and I’m sure he’ll gladly point out everything I’m doing wrong.

Mario and Sasha are expecting their new baby some time in October.


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