Wednesday, June 12, 2013

day one

Everyone told me that the birth process would be super spiritual and I would probably cry. Mmmm, not so much. It was definitely spiritual once it was all over, and I'm sure I cried at some point, but probably only weeks later when I blessed the baby in church. I'm always leery of people telling me that something might make me cry, because it generally doesn't, and then I wonder if I missed something. Or if I got gypped. Not that having a baby was a gyp, but maybe the expectation of exhausted crying and singing angels was. I remember pushing and blood and ice chips and even a lot of laughing with Lisa. I loved her very much. And I was super excited. And also super nervous.

I don't remember feeling like a dad for a little while. My baby was not really a person; it was a special doll that everyone came to look at. When it pooped it was so cute! Oh, look! It's yawning! How do they know how to do that? I felt like I had a new toy and everyone wanted to come play with it. In those first few days I was so proud of Miles, and so excited to be a "father," and so unaware of the ways my life would change.

I grew up in a house full of babies. We always had a baby somewhere doing something. I love babies. I still do. I eat every baby I can find at church. I'm not one of these guys who gets all goofy and acts like he doesn't know how to hold one. I'm at ease with them, even if they aren't with me (usually.) So having a baby wasn't difficult for me - I knew how to take care of one. If we were Tarzan's parents and a tiger had eaten Lisa, I still could have raised that newborn and been OK. But he would probably be a horrible teenager now, so I'm glad Lisa wasn't eaten by a tiger. She has instilled our teens with a nice, grounded sense of humor and work ethic.

When we got home from the hospital Lisa was exhausted. She wanted to sleep. Suddenly I wasn't so confident with this baby. What was I supposed to do with him? Put him in his little bouncy chair, she said. What if he stops breathing, I asked. He won't, she said. So I did that. I put him in his little bouncy chair in the living room while my exhausted wife slept. And he didn't do anything. He just laid there. So I grabbed a New Yorker magazine and a block of cheese and laid down next to him. I read, he slept, and I ate some cheese. There was no sense of eternity and no apocalyptic sign. It was just the beginning of fatherhood for me.
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