This year's Father's Day is extra special for our co-founder John as he celebrates the first time being a father. Welcoming his son Johann into this world, running Mari & Clay and continuing to work as an optometrist, 2020 is an exciting and challenging year for this new father. We chat to John about what it is like stepping into his new role.
What’s the best thing about being a dad?
Seeing a little human from the very beginning of his life. From the first moment, he opened his eyes to his first time eating solids - these make up the special and sweet moments I cherish. As his dad, I become his bedrock to understanding the world; his advisor for right and wrong (though I hope he won’t pick up my bad habits!). As his curiosity grows, he may become rebellious and push the boundaries of his understanding.
I see raising a child as a lifelong project - one without expectation since all children are unique and will be shaped by what life throws at them. Our role as parents is to guide them along their path - supporting them when they stumble, giving them a pat on the back when they succeed, and encouraging them to stand back up when they fall.
To me, the best thing about being a dad is knowing that there’s someone you can love unconditionally.
The most unexpected thing?
Johann had a blocked nose when he was about four months old. Whilst a simple task for adults, blowing a blocked nose is extremely difficult for a newborn. It was heartbreaking to see him struggling to breathe through his little baby nostrils. It was a tough week for all of us!
What do you look forward to as your son gets older?
Talking to him about life over a few beers and laughs. I can just imagine all the things we’d talk about - our fond memories of the people in our lives, our work, his girlfriends... I remember the first time I had a beer with my dad. We talked about everything, and I felt that he was not only my parent but also my friend. It was at that moment that I finally felt like an adult.
How has fatherhood changed you?
I can be impatient and I like to run on a schedule. I also like my home to be orderly and for everything to have its place. I’m a bit obsessive-compulsive like that, and you can probably guess that a newborn doesn’t really care about “my way” of doing things! No more clean floors or sheets - I’m having to get used to a house with bits of food and undetermined brown goo everywhere. “My schedule” also no longer exists!
Fatherhood has been a beautiful and challenging lesson in patience. I’m learning that it’s ok to take my time with him and to take every hiccup lightly. I’ve realised that time doesn’t wait, and we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. The one thing I can do is cherish each moment and love our child with all our heart.
Wishing all father figures a wonderful Father's Day!
Written by Lauren Chang and Shay Zhang