About Shane

August 27, 2008

My name is Shane and I’m 38-years old. In the past 38-yrs I have held many titles. I’ve been known as son, brother, husband, friend and Marine, but my preferred title is simply Dad. I have been a Dad for over 8-yrs now. My first boy, Mackinley, was born in June of 2000 in Quantico Virginia while I was attending The Basic Officers Course. My youngest son, Cayden followed a short 26-months later while we were stationed at Camp Lejuene, North Carolina. I have been having a blast ever since.

My kids are as physically different as they could possibly be. Mackinley (Mack) has brown curly hair, brown eyes and is tall and muscular. Cayden is a peanut; slight of build, blond hair and big blue eyes. They both have terrific imaginations, senses of humor and are smart as whips. They are also polite, caring and compassionate. At the end of the day I can honestly say without bias that I have two great guys.

I started writing about my experiences as a father when I returned from Iraq in July of 2003. When I was deployed I thought a lot about my sons and about what kind of father I wanted to be. In fact, I kept a picture of Cayden inside of my helmet the entire time I was deployed. I didn’t allow myself to look at it often, but I did study it thoroughly at least once. The first time my vehicle crossed the border into Iraq I pulled off my helmet stared at Cayden’s picture and asked myself one very simple question; “If my boys never see me again will they be proud of me and what I am about to do?” The answer was as simple as the question, of course they would; Connie would make sure of that. My part of the equation was easy to define as well, get home and make them proud of me in person.

If you’re wondering why I only had Cayden’s picture in my helmet I can explain. Cayden was 4-months old when I went to war and we simply did not have the time to develop a relationship like Mack and I had. Keeping his picture in my helmet was my way of honoring him; giving him a special place in lieu of time spent together, I figured Mack would understand.

I came home in July and the Groah’s were once again complete. Mack and Cayden adjusted to having Dad home quite well. In fact Cayden took to me the first night I got home. It was 2 a.m. when I finally made it back to our house and Connie and I decided to have a glass of wine. Both of the boys were asleep so I grudgingly agreed to wait until morning to see them. Just as we sat down Cayden started to cry. I immediately jumped up to answer the call when Connie put her hand on my arm and said that maybe she should take care of it, “Cayden doesn’t like men much”. In true Shane fashion I disregarded her warning and took off to investigate.

Cayden’s crib Aquarium threw just enough light for me to see him standing in his crib. Standing, when I left he couldn’t even crawl. He was still crying when I entered the room so I started to speak to him softly. The minute I began to speak he calmed down. I continued to sooth him with my voice as I moved closer to his crib. When I reached the side of his crib he quit crying all together, looked at me, and then reached out to be held. I wrapped my arms around my youngest son, sat in his rocker and wept. Seven-months of anxiety swept away by a simple display of trust. Dad was home.

Since that day I have made every effort to be the best father that I could possibly be. I never want to be in a position again where I have to wonder if my boys know these simple truths; I love them more than life itself, I will always be proud of them and that they are my greatest accomplishments. These concepts are not cheap they are built over time with acts of love, forgiveness, compassion and trust; the same traits that I believe define fatherhood.

I began writing this as an introduction so that people (Pammy) who read my blog could understand a little about the author. I also felt it was necessary to provide some background so that my sarcasm and odd sense of humor were not mistaken for bitterness. The fact is I find nothing more fulfilling than being someone’s Dad. Humor is simply the vehicle I use to put the tough/frustrating portions of parenting, which are many, into perspective. And here is my perspective for general consumption; a lifetime’s worth of frustration can be instantly erased by a single unsolicited “I love you, Dad”. If you haven’t experienced this yet, you will, and when it happens you’ll understand where I am coming from.

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