1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reflects on fatherhood and the challenges and triumphs presented to him by his son.

This is just my third Father’s Day. My son, David, will be three in July. I always knew I wanted to be a Dad. I just had no clue just how much fatherhood resembles the steepest, fastest roller coaster at Great Adventure.

It’s gone by like a blink of an eye. It’s seems like yesterday I was clutching his tiny, little fingers. For every smile and giggle, there are just as many cries and screams.

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I just wish someone would have warned me. Maybe they did, but I wasn’t paying attention.

Don’t get me wrong. Becoming a father was the best decision I ever made. And yes, I do give my wife, Kathy, some credit. And this might sound cliché, but it’s the truth: Being a parent is by far the hardest job in the world.

You spend the first few months just trying to keep this precious, helpless creature alive. Then once you’ve gotten the hang of that and you think all is good, you are thrust into the job of everyday hero, saving the young lad from himself.

One minute, you’re shoving your finger down his throat to pull out a wad of food he’s choking on. The next, he’s darting into the street and you’re sprinting after him as a car screeches around the corner.

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There are the endless days and the sleepless nights. You never get a day off. Vacation takes on a whole new meaning. I now understand and respect my parents better than ever and try to thank them whenever possible. Sometimes, I wonder how they survived.

Dad. It’s a title I have yet to get used to and yet it still gives me goose bumps every time David utters the word. Periodically, I look down at him and say to myself, “Man, he’s mine.” He looks back, and tells me, “Sit!” Yes, it’s one of the few words—or commands—he’s mastered in his ever-growing vocabulary. And no, we don’t have a dog.

He cracks me up and continues to amaze. Some of the things he says or does—you just can’t help but laugh. For instance, when he was just a few months old, he would pull his blanket over his face, scream and tremble in fear. I’d pull the blanket down to reassure him everything was okay. He’d sigh in relief, flash a smile and then pull the blanket over his head, scream and tremble in fear. This could go on for hours. Hilarious.

Anyone can be a father; it’s just simple biology. But being a “dad” – that  has to be earned.

It’s an honor— or in some circles—a badge of courage. It’s an everyday endeavor that requires tireless effort. It’s a title of respect, perhaps even admiration or inspiration, given to you by your own child. It’s like being knighted.

But instead of a monarch lowering a steel blade upon your shoulder dubbing you, Sir, Lord or Duke, it’s those diminutive digits poking you so lovingly in the eye while demanding more blueberries he’s tossed on the floor, giggling each time you bend down to pick up the mess.

I just wonder if Sir Lancelot had to clean up vomit.

It’s all worth it. David makes me want to be a better person. He inspires me to do things I never thought possible. The only reward I seek is him calling me Dad.


More CBSNewYork reporters honor their dad this Father’s Day:

1010 WINS’ John Montone

WCBS 880’s Catherine Cioffi