GRAYSLAKE – Mark McClish of Grayslake sits quietly on his coach, smiling as he rocks his baby back and forth.
Becoming a father is life changing, McClish said, and is an “awesome” experience. This Father’s Day will be McClish’s first, and he plans to celebrate by relaxing with his fiancée, Melissa Fuller, and their son, Bradley Ambrose McClish, who is 6 weeks old.
“I never thought I’d be [a father],” McClish said. “But now that he’s here, it’s a really cool feeling.”
McClish, 41, might not have thought about parenthood, but it comes naturally to him, Fuller said.
“He’s super dad,” she said. “If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be able to do this.”
Fuller, 33, said McClish is wonderful with Bradley and not only shares the child-raising responsibilities, but helps around the house as well. And when the family went on a recent grocery-shopping trip, McClish held Bradley the whole time.
He also helped during her pregnancy, Fuller said, and went to natural childbirth classes with her. He was her childbirth coach and cut Bradley’s umbilical cord.
Along with helping at home, McClish is a roofer, a woodworker and also works with computers. Although he’s a new dad, McClish had some advice for other fathers with young children.
“Be patient,” he said. “And listen to the baby. It tells you what it needs.”
Parenthood has its challenges, McClish said, but “it’s worth it.” He said the toughest time he has had so far is when Bradley’s crying and he can’t figure out why.
He added that the biggest reward of being a father is his son, and he can’t wait to watch Bradley grow up.
“[I’m going to tell him] that everything you need to know in life, you learn in kindergarten,” McClish said.
Father’s Day might be just around the corner, but one day isn’t long enough to recognize the work that goes into being a dad, McClish said.
“It needs to be a month long,” he said with a laugh. “And Mother’s Day should be every day because they’re the real superheroes.”
But Fuller knows that even though McClish’s efforts might not be formally recognized every day, they will pay off in the long run.
“He’s going to be a good [dad],” she said. “I know that much.”
Meet Mark McClish
Family: Fiancée, Melissa Fuller; son, Bradley Ambrose McClish, 6 weeks old
Occupation: Roofer, woodworker and also works with computers
Father’s Day plans: Spending time with his family