Ryan McDonagh knew his life would change forever when he and his wife, Kaylee, welcomed their daughter, Falan, into the world last October.
"Everyone says your life changes so much, and it's definitely true," he said.
Now nearly eight months old, McDonagh said he and his family are hitting the time where their baby girl is showing personality. He said she remembers faces now and is starting to laugh and smile more often, and "that's when you start to get a ton of joy out of raising her and being around her as a father," McDonagh said.
McDonagh said soon after he became a dad that his perspective on life changed, and that's only grown as she has. Falan, too, has helped her dad out by getting his mind off the game of hockey, something all players have said is necessary during the course of a long and difficult season.
"It's great whether it's a long road trip or a lot of hockey in one span where you get to come home and spend time with the little one and everybody else," he said. "It helps to get away from the game a little bit more as opposed to before when we didn't have a little baby. Sometimes things would kind of tread on in your mind, but you don't have time to focus on that as much when you have a little one that's growing up before your eyes."
When McDonagh joined the Fatherhood Fraternity of Blueshirts last season, he said teammates offered up some paternal advice, namely about sleeping.
"I think they biggest thing [they told me] is making sure [my wife and I] got as much sleep as we can," he said. "There's no use having both of you up. Whether I get home from practice and my wife can lay down for an hour or two and catch up on some sleep and I can handle the duties. It's kind of trying to find that balance where you can get the rest you need so you don't get too stressed out."
The McDonagh family returned to Minnesota for the summer, meaning a lot more visits from both sets of grandparents. But McDonagh said that's been a big help for the young parents, as it's afforded he and his wife some time to spend together outside the house.
"It helps to get away from the stress of always worrying how the baby is doing or what the baby is doing," he said. "You get to go out to dinner and go out and see a movie and those things kind of help relieve some stress and kind of refresh the mind a little bit."
The fewer miles between grandparents has also been special for McDonagh, as he's gotten to watch his father, Sean, spend time with Falan.
"They're always asking when they can come over and spend time with her and see her," he said. "Just to see the joy that he has to spend time with her - he obviously raised me and my two brothers. He knows some things, too. He knows the different cries and the different whines and stuff. It'll be exciting for me on Father's Day and obviously for him to be a grandpa now."
With his first Father's Day approaching, McDonagh said he was happy that the holiday did not come so early after her birth.
"Close to eight months, I've really gotten to see her change and see a lot of different scenarios, both the good and the bad," McDonagh said. "Changed a lot of diapers and spent a lot of time with her. That'll make it that much more worthwhile to have that day to celebrate with everyone."
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