PARRY SOUND - A little more than two years ago Leonard Jack Richardson was the first baby of the new year born at the West Parry Sound Health Centre, today he’s a happy, chubby-cheeked two year old who is the apple of his parents’ eye.
Rewards of fatherhood.
Mackenzie Grant Richardson and son Lenny, 2. Below, on January 11, 2010, Lenny was the first baby of the new year born at the West Parry Sound Health Centre.
Lenny, as he’s now called, is the first child for Mackenzie Grant and Wendy Richardson and just like when the Beacon Star first met him in 2010, Richardson beams with pride talking about his son and what it’s like to be a dad as Father’s Day approaches on Sunday.
“It’s been awesome,” Richardson says of what’s it’s been like the last two years. “I love it. It’s just like having a best friend around all the time and having fun.”
Four months following Lenny’s birth, Richardson, a former paramedic, had a career-ending injury, that left him on his back for six months. At the time, Richardson said he was crushed, missing out on opportunities to play with his son, but in a way, it ended up being wonderful, he said.
“The hardest part was not being able to play with him as a baby to the extent that I wanted to. Most of our contact was me laying on my back and him straddling my neck and playing like that, because I ruptured discs in my back,” he said. “That was really hard. I’m still dealing with it now...I tear up thinking about all the things I want to do with him, but I can’t, but now, it’s better and there’s different things we can do together.”
And Richardson also had the unique opportunity to be home with his wife, while she was on maternity leave.
“We both got to be with him, for the first year of his life. I think it’s turned out really awesome. Not many kids get to have both parents there. Then she went back to work and I was still off and he and I got really close - he’s a daddy’s boy.”
Richardson said that now that Lenny has grown from a baby, into a little person who can talk and walk, they spend time doing going to parks, amusement parks or shopping - Lenny loves to shop.
“We have a lot of fun going to the park after daycare, going shopping for toys and candy - he loves his sweets,” he said with a laugh. “Just last week when I put him to bed in his big-boy bed I was holding him and I thought he was sleeping so I got up to creep away and he said, ‘No daddy, I want to cuddle my daddy.’ It just melted me.”
In less than a month, the Richardson family is expanding again, when Lenny’s little brother is expected to arrive, via c-section on July 5.
“I think it’s just awesome, we’re really excited” Richardson said of the prospect of having another son. Lenny, too, seems thrilled, he said. “He’ll go up to his mom’s belly and say, ‘baby brother’s in there!’”
Richardson said he’s waited a long time to be a dad, a job he loves and has far surpassed his expectations of what he thought fatherhood would be like.
“I love it, there’s nothing I’d rather do with my time,” he said of being a dad. “Just being there, being involved. It’s easy to say, at the end of the day, when you’re tired - ‘go watch TV’ - that’s not what he wants. He’s at that age where he wants to play with you. He is someone I can care for all the time and I get love back, it’s the most rewarding thing, I’ve never been prouder of anything.”