“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.”
~ Heraclitus ~
Sometimes I Wish I Didn’t Know Now What I Didn’t Know Then
Last December my wife and I had a beautiful, healthy new daughter. For her everything is brand new and a realization of many years of hopes, dreams, and struggles to have a child. For me it has been all the wonderful things you would expect it to be, along with considerable anxiety and inner turmoil mixed in. It had been around thirty years since I dealt with newborn stuff.
There were the normal concerns; if I could even handle the responsibility, would I have the patience, when she is ___ I will be ___ years old, so much for getting out of debt and someday retiring. Subsequent concerns began to take over my head. I am not the same person I was when I did this before. I approach the world more critically and from a deeper perspective now.
Very incendiary subjects like religion, US history, and even Santa Claus are examples of topics that I am going to have issues dealing with this time around. I want her to learn compassion, empathy, and diversity and right now we live in a very “beige” community. And of course, being realistic while remaining positive is always a challenge. I already feel bad for her teachers.
We now live in a much more litigious world than back when I was chasing my sister’s and then my daughter’s boyfriends off years ago. I’m guessing that I should not say “I’ll only need to kill one of you and the word will get around”, or show them my Samurai swords or rusty shovel and tape measure. Trust me I will get my point across and besides, I don’t think there is anything wrong with saying “whatever you do to her, I’m going to do to you”. Either way, I guess I will need to be more diplomatic this time around.
Now a little something for the fathers. You look to your wife for fulfillment and once the baby is born, she gets ALL of her fulfillment from that baby. So, step back, stick your pride and your needs on the shelf because not one part of the first year is about you. If you have anything important to say to your wife, write it down. She is not listening; she is going in multiple directions at once and totally focused on the little one. There will be moments when you come home from a rough day and your child comes to you and gives you a big hug or a big smile. The best is when they snuggle into your shoulder and go to sleep.
I am in no way painting fatherhood as a negative thing, I am simply being realistic. Like any major life changing experience, you have to learn as you go and work at it. I could not be more thankful to my two older daughters. They dealt with me during my on the job training years. Although I am not an expert, I know a lot of things that can and will go wrong. I have screwed up enough to learn a few things.
Thank you again for reading to the end! Stick around and follow me on the journey into the dark recesses of my mind.