During the nine month run up to Vladimir's birthday there were a lot of things on my mind. We were in the middle of selling our house, so we had to move, that alone complicated everything else that we had planned. But there was a lot of nervousness and inner angst that no amount of talking to my dad or friends with kids could subside. Standard stuff like; will I be a good dad? How hard will parenting be? Am I ready for this? How will I change as a person? A hand full of decisions that needed to be made were put on hold though while I waited for an answer to the last question; How will I change as a person?
Up to now it's been pretty easy, the kid only ever has three needs; a diaper change, food, or sleep. It's that simple. When he wakes up in the middle of the night the wife takes care of his needs, so because of that most of my worries have gone away.
On the day he was born I was true to my word and hung out in the waiting room with the parents. When I was summoned to come down and meet the boy I went in feeling a bit nervous, more because the doctor was still in there finishing things up. I felt my way through the darkened room, staring at the ceiling like I was in a haunted house terrified I might see something scary. Initially seeing the wife laying there with the boy on her chest I didn't feel much. I was glad that she was in good health and spirits and that our son was healthy too, ten and ten and all that, but I had no identifiable emotion at the time, it's more like I was in assessment mode, checking things out and making sure all was as it should be, similar to the POV of the Terminator.
All was well and then I was ordered to take my shirt off for the whole skin-to-skin thing and I was handed my son. At that point the emotions took over and I sobbed, vigorously. It was amazing. That was the feeling I was waiting on for nine months, raw unapologetic tears of joy. An amazing experience that I hope to have again.
Fast forward 6 weeks and that feeling, that moment, has passed. As I sit here, I don't feel like a father. What should a father feel like? I don't know but I know I don't. For nine months I thought there would be some seismic change in my behavior, attitude and lifestyle but it just hasn't happened. Things are done differently of course, my wife and I are the boy's entourage, not his parents. We carry his belongings to take him to people that want to see him, not us. Leaving the house is now a decision to be discussed rather than getting on the motorcycle and taking off.
Before I start getting hate mail from my mom and mother-in-law, understand that I love my son very much and am glad that we have been blessed with him. Just looking at him brings a smile to my face, even on a crappy day. My hope is that you are picking up what I'm laying down.
Ultimately I am happy that there has been no colossal change in me. The chances that I ever shout the phrase "what about the children? Why is no one thinking about the children?", are slim and truth be told that was a real concern. Becoming a helicopter parent that does everything for my little angel worried me. Getting in a shouting match with a teacher for disciplining my kid for acting like a brat probably won't happen either, the conversation will be with him and he won't like it. I am glad now that I have a child that my sense of humor about the world has not been lost. There is hope that a person can be a parent and cynic at the same time.