Parenthood. For some, it is something they’ve always known they wanted. For others, the thought strikes fear into their very soul. For years, I considered myself among the latter. Why would I want to give up doing whatever I wanted to do whenever I wanted to do it? It took me 42 years to get here. I’m set in my ways. I don’t want the complications, the responsibility or the extra work. Suffice to say, when my wife began to press me about having a child a few years after we were married, I was dubious to the whole proposition.
Having worked in video production for the last 17-plus years, I am very used to doing research…I research equipment, I research software, I research the clients that we work for in order to come up with ideas to get their message right. In my field, I can’t afford to make bad decisions. Bad decisions are costly, and deciding to become a parent is one of the biggest decisions one can make. So, I began to do what I do. I started speaking to friends, family and anyone else I could find who had done the parenting thing. Overwhelmingly, the reviews were positive. No parent that I knew said they wouldn’t do it again, but every time I was about to walk away feeling better about the whole parenting thing, they would have to throw in the part about my life never being the same, and what a commitment it was, both emotionally and financially, and how they rarely had time for themselves anymore. I’m sure they all meant well, but that last part always put me squarely back on the fence.
In the end, I realized that no amount of research would lead me to an answer. I’m either going to do it, or I’m not…but it still scared me. What if I don’t? Will I regret it someday? Will my wife resent me at some point? How bad could it be? Am I destined to keep talking to myself like this? Fine. I’ll do it.
Two years later, my daughter was born. I had heard all along what a joyous occasion it would be. When she finally arrived, honestly, I felt, for lack of a better description, shell shocked. Wait…I’m supposed to be overjoyed. Why am I not overjoyed? Am I destined to become the worst dad ever? Am I going to be talking to myself like this again??? Now I was worried.
Eventually, all the noise and activity of the event had passed and we got her home. As she was lying in her crib looking up at me, I finally saw her for the first time. I mean, really saw her…without someone shaking my hand in congratulations, without a nurse telling us what we needed to do for her for the first few months and without all the activity of the hospital setting. I stared into those deep blue eyes (which 16 months later she has managed to keep), and wondered why I hesitated. If I might borrow a line from Axl Rose, whom I don’t believe I’ve ever quoted about anything…“I’d hate to look into those eyes and see an ounce of pain.” I have to admit I was completely unprepared for the power she would have over me.
A year and a half into the fatherhood thing, I have very little time to myself. I don’t do all the things I want to. When I come home from work, the evening hours are ruled by her until she goes to sleep. My life resembles nothing of what it used to… and I wouldn’t change any of it. I am not the same person I was before. She has changed me in ways that I am only beginning to discover and now I cannot imagine life without her. So do the things that scare you. Often, you come out better than you were before. Gratuitous photo attached. Hey! I’m a proud father.