The first thing they tell you when you become a father for the first time is to slow down and try and soak it all in.
“It goes by quick,” they say.
And you hear them, of course, but you do your thing, as new fathers should. You live your life and change those diapers and fall asleep on the couch with the tiny bundle in your arms on winter afternoons and life is pretty damn good, all things considered.
Then one day, out the of blue, you realize they were right.
It has rushed by, time has, in a blur and whoosh.
Parenthood is probably the greatest thing life has got going for it (with maybe the exception of a Powerball windfall, but I really wouldn’t know) and luckily, for most of us, we realize that pretty early on in the game, before a bunch of years have swept by us and we’re standing at a graduation or a wedding and watching as that little person who just yesterday arrived in these parts to turn our world upside down and pump new life into our veins walks out into the great big world on their own.
It is an astounding ride, I think, this parenting thing is, and one so worth riding, although it comes with it’s share of heartaches and bittersweet memories to be sure.
So in the spirit of parenting and time and kids, I decided to commemorate Father’s Day this year by combing the web and collecting a bunch of the coolest, funniest, and most touching ‘Now and Then’ photos of Dads and their kids that I could find.
Looking at them, I am reminded that although this remarkable journey sometimes seems long as hell when we’re stuck there standing in the middle of it, we need only see with our own eyes how the passage of time is reflected in these kinds of pictures to remember to live every single day to the best of our abilities.
These pictures all made me smile for one reason or another and I hope they do that for you, too.
Happy Father’s Day, fellas.
. 1 of 19
Big Fans 2 of 19
Fathers and sons celebrate a lot of things together across a lifetime. And being fans of (or even players on) the same team can be a great way for bonds to form. These two guys look like they've had a helluva time alongside each other for quite a while.
The Way We Were 3 of 19
I like that these guys choose to use some laughs to commemorate their special father/son bond. This re-creation of an early photo is funny as heck, but in a way it's also kind of touching when you think about it. Or maybe I'm just a sap, huh?
Survivors 4 of 19
This is a really poignant photo to look at even if you don't know a thing about the father and son who are in it. But when I tell you that this dad, David Sheff, wrote a powerful best-selling memoir, Beautiful Boy , which was based upon his experience watching his young son Nic's dark journey into drug addiction, well, the images above become even that much more powerful. And beautiful, too.
Time, Time, Time 5 of 19
It really is amazing to look at these contrasting images and see how much people change, physically speaking, over the years. And yet, dad is always dad...and the kids are always the kids, huh?
The Daddy/Daughter Bond 6 of 19
I don't care what anyone says, dads and daughters have a special kind of bond. I'm not saying it's better than any other bonds, I'm just saying that, in it's own right, it's always really really unique.
Dads and Grads 7 of 19
Look at this dad and his boy. What a tale, huh? One graduated as a new father long ago and now, here he is today, watching his own boy earn his diploma. I don't know , but whenever I see 'now and then' pics of parents and their kids at graduations or weddings I get all verklempt!
Bottle Feeding Memories 8 of 19
This one speaks for itself and cracks me up. Big props to this father/son duo for taking something every dad can relate to and synching it up with something an awful lot of dads can relate to!
First and Last 9 of 19
This one is a real classic. On the left, a dad and his young son watch the space shuttle Columbia take off on it's maiden voyage from Edward's Air Force Base in California in 1981. And on the right, 30 years later, the same father/son duo watch the final space shuttle flight take off as Atlantis goes airborne over Cape Canaveral, Florida. How awesome is that?
A Magic Kingdom 10 of 19
This dad and his boy did Disney 15 years apart, but made sure to get the same exact photo both times for posterity's sake. Pretty cool, I think.
So Much Time Gone By 11 of 19
Sometimes I find these exact re-creations of photos a little bit weird. But this is one of those ones that just works for a lot of reasons. Mainly I think that's because both the dad and his son have aged so much now that it almost seems that the roles have maybe reversed in a way, and maybe the son is now looking after his dad.
One of the Best 12 of 19
Well, what can you say, right? This picture says it all without needing any input from me, really. Another re-creation done extraordinarily well. Look at that little girl on his back and then look at that beautiful young woman she became. Unreal, huh? And what Fountain of Youth is dad sipping from? He looks great!
Cuddlers 13 of 19
Here is one of the funniest dual shots I came across in my search. Again, I think it's pretty damn cool when both dad and junior get in on the humorous angle of looking back on something from when the kid was a a baby. This one has to make you chuckle, otherwise call a hearse because I think you might be dead inside.
Sidekicks 14 of 19
Look at those faces, the years that have come and gone. This one is pretty stunning, I think. It really shows how much we all change, but also how much we stay the same, too.
Soldier Boys 15 of 19
Amazing, right? These photos probably tell the tale of a lot of American sons who follow in their daddy's footsteps, but it's actually really cool to see it with our own eyes in picture form.
Goofing Off 16 of 19
This dad and his three kids nailed it. The girls and the boy have grown up, but they all still look really happy together. I love this one a lot.
Surprise Face 17 of 19
I guess if you decide to re-create a photo from long ago, you need to do the best possible job you can. So, I'd say this father/son team make the grade.
My Daughter and Me 18 of 19
This is me and my Violet. On the left she was about six months old and on the right she is my big girl at 4. And just like all the rest of the dads who have come before me, I can hardly believe how much she has grown and matured in those fast few years.
My Son and Me 19 of 19
Here is my boy, Henry, and me. On the left he is about five months old and on the right he is getting his first haircut at age 2. I included these pictures of my kids and me just to show that we all change quite a bit every year and that time is constantly passing us by. So make the best of it, people. And try to make every day count if you can.