Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The next step

That's a picture of a plum. I've never eaten one before, nor do I have any intentions of trying one. I've never met one on the street, but I'm sure they are quite nice once you get to know them. This image, however, is something that I can't get out of my head this week. This is due to the fact that the above plum is the same size as my unborn child. Right now my wife has a little baby plum nestled in her womb, leeching away at the nutrients she's taking in every day. Normally I wouldn't want another organism doing this to my wife, but I suppose I'll make an exception this time around.

I have to admit, it's absolutely blowing my mind most days. It's been doing that ever since we found out this past Easter. We got home that night from a trip to Washington, D.C., she peed on a stick, and 3 minutes later the game had changed. We knew it was true, but she still peed on another stick the following morning (I think she likes peeing on sticks, but you didn't hear that from me). Same result. That glowing + is etched into your brain forever, whether you like it or not. Ever since then I've been excited, worried, freaked out and a bunch of other emotions I don't normally feel on a regular basis.

I'm reading a book to prepare myself. I'd like to read more of them, but I'm a slow reader and fact heavy books have a way of boring me. We've watched 2 documentaries on childbirth, a National Geographic special on the first year of child development, and as many episodes of NBC's 'Parenthood' as we can stand. The problem I'm having is that I can't stop thinking about the future issues we'll have to deal with: driving, sex, arguments, school, etc. I have this knack of distancing myself from present issues by over-analyzing and critically thinking about ones that haven't even happened yet. It's easier that way, because I can plan out which emotions I might feel, what words I would choose to say. Present tense problems put me on the spot, make me try to feel in the moment, speak off the cuff. So in my head, our child's toddler through teen years are already being played out like a grandmaster plays out future moves in chess. I guess this means that if it's a boy I should name him Kasparov or Fischer.

This week has been a mix of high and low for me, as we hit the 12th week and decided it was time to tell the world. It was great getting congratulated by friends and co-workers, hearing them share stories if they had their own children and just feeling that appreciation of more humanity being brought into the world. It's funny how people who can't stand kids will still congratulate you and talk about it. Sometimes it feels more genuine coming from them than from someone who does want kids but doesn't have them yet. Sometimes you even get resentment from people who thought they would have them before you. Trust me, I wasn't trying to compete with you on who would procreate first. I was just happy I was in the running and taking one for the team by having sex all the time. Poor me.

The low end of this week came from exactly the same place: telling more people about the news. The reality of the situation grew exponentially. It was no longer our secret to cherish and share together. The little winks and nudges we would give to each other when someone talked about kids, or if we saw a child and thought about what ours would look and act like. I feel like I've put myself under the microscope to be judged on an entirely different level. People who know me or work with me can now take that knowledge and apply it to how they think I'll be as a father. I know I can't worry myself over such things, but one's mind does have a tend to wander.

Some people mentioned that having a baby means I finally have to become an adult. You're the parent now, the adult of the household. I'd like to think of myself as more of a person who's starting a new phase in life. It's taken me a long time to realize that life is more a work in progress than a destination you work hard to reach. Parenthood for me, right now in this moment, is another way of shaping who I am. Perhaps it's ignorance, or denial, but I right now I just feel a little older, somewhat wiser and nervously excited about the future.

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