The bond between a father and son can be a beautiful thing. For Aaron Blaine of Bozeman, Montana, that bond meant everything.
“If having an amazing dad was currency, I was a billionaire. He was my number one hero,” he told Fatherly.
Blaine was impressed with his dad for a number of reasons: he was hard-working, strong, but most importantly, he was kind.
Blaine’s dad was his hero.
“He and my mom were madly in love, it was obvious to everyone around them. And he was all there for my brother and I. We constantly spent time outdoors, we built tree houses and forts in the woods and life was good.”
This kindness didn’t just extend to family though, it extended to everyone, including those that Blaine deemed “worst guys.”
“He planted the seeds of the core values I live by: follow the best guy, love the worst guy, and get uncomfortable often. My dad was the best guy so that one came naturally,” Blaine said. “All I knew was to follow him.”
“As for the worst guys, he had a thing for troublemakers. He would invite them into the fold of our family and, by example, he taught us to care for them. They would join us for dinner, play with our toys, and come with us as full participants in family activities. It’s just what we did.”
When Blaine’s father passed away suddenly, it was devastating.
When Blaine was just 11 years old, his father passed away from a heart arrhythmia. It struck without warning. He seemed perfectly strong and healthy at the time, but it took his life all the same.
Blaine was lost without his father. He joined the military as soon as he could in search of a new best guy. In some ways, he got what he was looking for.
“I saw much of the world, a wide spectrum of humanity, and I did it all with the best teams of men on earth,” he said.
Blaine joined the military and found the challenge he was seeking.
Blaine was in the army for 14 years, 7 years in the Special Forces. Those years were some of the best of his life. He was decorated with two Bronze Stars and held the ranks of Sergeant First Class and Special Forces Sr. Weapons Sergeant.
He accomplished a lot in his time with the army but, once it was all over, he didn’t know what to do.
“After being so clear and relaxed into a purpose and mission for so long, I was unsure what to do and why,” he said. “There were moments where I could not come up with any paths forward, and things got very dark.”
When he left the military his sense of purpose left with him.
Blaine tried starting a new business, an outfitters and gun store, but it ended up failing. This could’ve been the straw that broke the camel’s back.
It took everything Blaine had to hold it together.
But everything changed when his wife put something on his desk.
It was a positive pregnancy test.
At first he was scared.
“My heart rate spiked hard—this was not planned,” he said.
Yet he soon started crying tears of joy. As he hugged his wife, he felt a strange feeling of relief.
With the news that he was going to be a father himself, it felt as though his life was finally coming together again.
Soon he was welcoming a new best guy into his life, his son Easton. The day he was born was perhaps the best moment of his life.
“I’ve been in firefights that lasted for days, but I’ve never seen or felt anything like that,” he said. “My wife is a champion and when he was finally born I was intensely, overwhelmingly relieved. We’d done it. I was a dad.”
Now Blaine can bond with Easton the same way his father bonded with him.
They can be best guys for each other. The two love going outside, climbing mountains, and even embarking on the occasional elk hunt.
“Every day I get to live the magic of being a dad, and I melt for my wife when I see her love him so deeply. We have a really, really good thing going,” he said.
What Blaine now wants more than anything is for his son to keep his adventurous spirit and to go wherever he’s called.
When Easton grows up, Blaine wants him to be his own man, establish his own values, and carve his own path. For now though, Blaine hopes to use the lessons his father instilled in him to give Blaine the best childhood he can.
“I know my dad would be proud of me.”