From 'iChad' to 'iDad'

Photo contributed by Chad Coleman

Walking around campus today is drastically different for me than it was 10 years ago. Instead of polite nods, gestures or simple friendly “hellos” from those who pass by, I’m more likely to hear things like, “Oh, my, she is adorable! Look at all that hair.” They are, of course, talking about my now 5-month-old daughter, Claire Louise. My wife, Caren, and I welcomed Claire into this world on April 30, and she has since changed our lives forever.

It was a long, hard road for both of us as we struggled through a bout of infertility for 2 years. But with lots of prayer and intervention from an amazing fertility specialist, we finally received positive results last fall. When Claire was born she had (and still has) an amazing head of hair. It’s been her calling card since day one. She always seems to be the center of attention wherever we go. While Caren was pregnant, our doctor explained postpartum depression to us and indicated that it can sometimes be associated with the amount of attention your baby gets and how the focus is no longer on the expecting parents. However, we feel it’s been the exact opposite for us. We couldn’t be more proud of the attention Claire commands when she enters a room. She truly is a remarkable little baby and often leaves us breathless with her contagious smiles and vacant stares.

As someone who provides live-in administrative leadership as director of residence life at GC, we’ve found that living on campus during Claire’s first year has been a pleasant and rewarding experience. We’ve found that dinners in the cafeteria have been incredibly convenient for us as working parents. Also, having such beautiful surroundings and sidewalks to walk with Claire during nice days has been both refreshing and an instant de-stressor. Students have been unbelievably gracious in offering us babysitting options, and I’m sure we will start taking advantage in the near future.

During my 10-plus years at Goshen College, I’ve gone from being a single guy in his late 20s to being married with a child, a dog and nearing 40. Many of my friends and acquaintances married right out of high school or college and have several children by now. However, having a newborn in 2012 has one distinct advantage.

Technology has allowed me to share this experience with friends and family, both near and far, in real time. My iPhone has become a portal for all things Claire. Whether it’s posting daily photos to Instagram and Facebook, uploading an adorable video to YouTube or video-calling on FaceTime, our friends and family get to enjoy Claire  everyday just like we do.

It’s an advantage to growing up today as opposed to even five or 10 years ago. The Internet and smartphones have in some ways made parenting more fun. When Claire gets older she’ll be able to look back at these photos and videos and really grasp just how proud her parents were in having her in their lives. Instead of old photos stashed in a box on a closet shelf, Claire’s photos and memorabilia will always reside right in our front pockets.

Chad is the Director of Residence Life at Goshen College

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Written by Mary Roth

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