Well, not exactly day one, but my first full entry after padawan was welcomed into this world.
This is nothing like what I would have ever imagined.
I feel a little like I’m making an entry into Doogie Howser’s diary writing this actually, which just makes the whole thing even that more awkward.
And, yet, here I am with the Beatles “All you need is love” on loop in the recesses of my brain and the ghostly yellow tinge of the hospital night light making halos along the ceiling as I type while my wife snores getting her first sleep in what seems like over a day and our newborn fidgets in the bassinet next to me.
I’m not frightened. Or intimidated. Or anxious. Or in awe necessarily. None of the superlatives most people use a cliches are appropriate at this point, to be honest.
I’m content. Actually.
As the rush of emotions comes down for me and reality sets in the head-place I’m in is satisfied, fulfilled, and thus, content.
Everything just feels “right” the way it is.
The things I have control over I am doing. The things I do not (have control over) I am accepting (of their inevitability). And for everything in between I considering it an opportunity to learn and grow from in a way that leads to either gaining control or accepting a lack thereof.
Conceptually this, I would wager, is confusing to the vast majority of people on this journey with us.
After all, despite their knowledge of me as an individual, I’m a new father and thus based on social conception I must be a complete moron. OK, maybe not completely, but apparently the two zips on a diaper and three folds in a blanket swaddle are way more complex than my life experience thus far and baby poop somehow is more gross than anything I’ve seen in a turtle tank, smelled doggie diarrhea, felt coming through the pipes in any previous apartment rental, or experienced in a black water skunk weed patch along the shore.
Thankfully, the nurses and staff here in the hospital (for the most part) identified me as not-a-moron and treated me great. One even stopped me in the hall on the way back from a late night ice water run to let me know how good a job I was doing. Trust me, we had a couple of uniquely not good father’s on the floor, so although it probably wouldn’t’ve taken much to stand out as being good at the new-dad thing to garner the compliment(s) was reassuring since I don’t think they actually have to be nice (trust me, one of our first nurses in early delivery was definitely NOT nice to my wife, to me initially, or well, to almost anyone really).
Socially though, being a dad is a pretty shitty experience of low-to-no ability expectation from what I’ve seen and I anticipate despite a generally positive experience where the hospital staff has been supportive I’ll run into those stereotypes of “dads” even among family members who are even the most well meaning of the bunch. After all, I’ve “never” done this before and supposedly some of them have (even if they did it more than thirty years ago and haven’t since).
Reality is, child-rearing is a very “generational” thing. Every past generation thinks they did it best (despite twilight birthing, thalidomide, formula failure, etc.) and questions the ability of the next generation to do it “right.” Many modern generations might take a perceived two steps forward-one step back type of approach to defining their own parenthood.
For me, I’m focused on being excited our padawan is seemingly happy and healthy right now and my wife is in a good physical and mental state and this helps reinforce my positive enlightenment in being father. I don’t know what it would be like if it were anything other than what it is, but I’d like to think that I’d figure it out, just like I figured out the highs and lows of the first day so far.
This is the experience I was hoping for in a lot of ways … the one I’d signed up for when my wife and I first began discussing procreation. But, honestly, even if for some unforseen reason it wasn’t the result I’d received, I know I’d’ve figured it out, because what my wife and I were agreeing to wasn’t the awesome we have received so far in some ways but the vast range possibilities we were preparing to share together no matter how this turned out, and that, we began a journey on long before yesterday (it was the commitment we created by following through on that first invitation to go on a first date, and showing up, and agreeing to go on a second, and a third, and moving in, and getting engaged, and following through on marriage, and buying a house and so on… to now, the birth of our padawan… and where we’ll go next).