ANCHORAGE (KTUU) Nearly eleven months ago, my life changed forever. On July 24, 2016, my wife, Haley, and I welcomed a beautiful 8-pound, 12-ounce, baby girl named Vienna Lawrence Essig into our life.
I know it’s cliché, and I love my wife very much, but I didn’t know what love was until I laid eyes on my baby girl. Less than a year later, that same feeling, the one where your heart melts, still exists every time I see her.
Now don’t get me wrong, life as a first time father isn’t always easy. Between the hospital visits, explosive poops, sleepless nights, and constant worry, raising a child has been my life’s toughest test. And as a reporter, balancing family time and a work life, only adds to that challenge.
Once upon a time, I couldn’t wait until my next opportunity to hop on a plane and go anywhere, both for work and pleasure. I didn’t care where it was, or for how long I might be gone. I’ve gone on assignments all over Alaska, the Lower-48 and the world. At times, I’ve been away from home for weeks at a time, and to be honest, I absolutely love it. It’s why I came to Alaska in the first place. Although that hasn’t necessarily changed, over the past year, my desire to leave home, and my family, certainly has.
Today, that excitement for getting on a plane to cover a story has been replaced by a similarly rewarding, yet very different excitement as I get in my car to drive home from work. A feeling of pure love, as I walk through the door of my house, only to be welcomed at the top of the stairs by an ecstatic little girl, grinning from ear-to-ear, with a toothless smile. Nothing on this world is better than that.
Although I might not get on a plane and head out of town for work as often these days, exploring Alaska and the world remains a passion, one which my wife and I hope to pass down to our daughter. In the past eleven months, our growing family has gone coast to coast and around the world, with visits to Japan, Belize and Turks & Caicos.
I now live my life for someone else, to help guide her through this world, show her its beauty and raise her to be a good person. Yes, my life has changed, and the transition at times has been tough. But fatherhood is amazing, and while it might not be for everyone, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.