I took this pic over this last weekend at a pool party and it kind of sums up my current life as a parent of a 4 month-old. Everyone was sitting around a table having drinks and smokes BUT not us! The wife, infant and I were set apart from the fun; sitting on the other side of the backyard.
It wasn’t the saddest thing in the world as I didn’t know most of the people there and there was an army guy who held the group hostage with his conversation (which were long-winded accounts of what happened when he was stationed out there, interceded by interrogation/survey of the group, and then switching back to story mode). Starting this post, I thought I was going to lament on how horrible my life is now that I don’t get to do all the things I don’t want to do. That “downing a bottle, belching and passing out” has a less fun context as a parent, but I’m realizing it’s not that bad. I’m not missing out on too much.
So what if I don’t get to regale in all the going-ons with my friends? I’ll be experiencing brand new things with a brand new person who’s experiencing everything for the first time. Hanging out with friends has its perks, but it’s never been about the new restaurant or cool place to hang out, it’s always been about the people you spend it with. What better experience than spending it with someone who will forever be linked to me? Is there anything more bonding than having someone look into your eyes and realize that they love you? That realization my daughter makes when she sees me and smiles makes my heart melt. every. single. time!
I felt and sometimes still feel like my life has been put on hold; that I couldn’t work on all my desires and future aspirations but instead had to deal with this demanding interruption. How bitter it made me feel until I realize that this tiny human is my life now. This is my aspiration and future and that I don’t have to deny my life but integrate my life in her life. Sure it sounds like rationalizing, but at the same time it feels like the truest realization of what life is about, and I can’t wait to get home to see my spawn!
So my daughter was born two Fridays ago and stuff has happened. I don’t know if they’ve all coalesced into something I can put into a BIG thematic summary, but here are some of the thoughts.
Hospitals are like hotels. Medical hotels that you check into except during your stay you’re constantly being interrupted by the staff; checking your pulse, blood pressure, blood sugar–except they don’t check it all at once. This staggered list they have to checkmark can really impede your rest. (One of the nurses admittedly said that in a study of a 24 hour period, a patient had 55 interruptions.)
Babies maybe dream? I’ve taken to looming over my newborn daughter and just absorbing her in and imprinting her image into my mind (It’s kind of creepy if I were to do it to anyone else). Some of these times she smiles up at me. Sometimes when she’s sleeping, it’s very obvious that she’s experiencing RAPID EYE MOVEMENT (REM)–a sign that she’s dreaming, and she’ll do this thing where she’ll smile and nod. It’s almost as if she’s saying “Ahh yeah, those were good times?” Except, what good times? What life experience can you fondly be reminiscing about my 1 week old daughter? Other people say that smiles are either 1) muscle spasms on the face 2) reaction to farting.
Having a newborn is all about putting in the work and it’s sort of like Tamagotchi: the Virtual Pet. When you get a Tamagotchi they’re like this little blob, plain and boring. But dang if you have to feed, clean and put them to sleep after every three hours. You don’t get much in return yet. But I can’t wait till my little human starts evolving and growing features that make her who she really is.
People like babies. It’s something new and different. I couldn’t believe that my parents came and visited almost every day that baby girl has been alive. It’s not a chore to them and I think they’d come more if they could. My wife and i have some cousins from our respective sides of our families and we don’t normally hang out outside of the holidays, but they’ve reached out and want to come down.
And there’s more, but that’s all for now. Too tired. Zombie life.
A friend asked me why I didn’t talk more about my first and future born child. Well, for one thing, it’s a secret that my wife wishes to keep until after the we’ve entered the safety zone. But more importantly, I’m not sure what I am feeling.
I know what I should be feeling; joy. Should be feeling joy that this beauty of life is about to take me being a man to another level. That I should be feeling happy that the love my wife and I have will not be diminished for each other but be multiplied in this new creation. That I should be elated that when friends, family coworkers find out, they will be showering us with love and attention relentlessly (only to stop when the baby is born).
That’s what I should be feeling, but if I were being totally honest I’d tell you that I’m having a mild meltdown. Inside the large boardroom on the top floor building of my mind all the heads of managements who were previously smoking their cigars and LOVING LIFE all are sweating bullets. These powerful men with their largesse of time and energy and finances toward our bachelor lifestyle are sitting in stunned silence; paralyzed by something as small as a peanut.
This small little unseen…thing, will impose its will on me. Its very existence threatens the comfortable life I’ve set up by usurping my schedule and finances. The reality of sleepless nights and leaking, liquid feces and sour, acidic vomit on me are like some kind of horror movie. Maybe my perspective will change, that it’ll become like a comedy starring Hugh Grant and Julianne Moore, but right now all I fear is that this thing growing inside my wife is going to F$@K $#!T up!