The third trimester. The 4th quarter. The home stretch. The pregnancy struggle is real.
It’s been great, really. A very remarkable and unique time in our life. Granted, I’m not the one with swollen ankles and a bowling ball belly. But I’ve never felt closer to B and, as the doctor said, our pregnancy has been “boringly normal.” I honestly have no complaints.
But I believe as 2014 fades fondly into the distance and we inch closer to the big day, some reflection is in order. It’s been a big year. Aside from the whole expecting-our-first-child thing, I’ve settled into a new career and a new home. Really, I’m settling into the next 15-20 years of my life.
That word, though. Settle. With all its undertones of resignation. What would the 18-year-old me think of me now? The one who dreamed of touring the world with his band. Who was so dedicated to success in music that he put college on hold, practiced and composed eight hours a day, and for years performed in clubs nearly every weekend?
Frankly, he’s long gone.
He got married. He got a college degree. A 9-to-5. He bought a house. And now he’s expecting his first child.
These were precisely the things that scared me ten years ago. Even now, like right now, it’s a little scary. Seeing it written out. It looks much more sterile than it feels. Because I love my wife. I love my job. I’m ecstatic about having a child. And while my college degree is admittedly the world’s most expensive coaster, my college experience was revealing and humbling and forever changed my worldview.
So, have I settled? I don’t know. I’ve changed, maybe. I’ve come to want different things. These days I enjoy the quietude of anonymity over bright lights and long nights.
That eighteen-year-old me is alive somewhere, though. Because I still fear becoming sterile. This blog was born from that fear; a public proclamation of “remaining relevant through fatherhood.” Which is to say I don’t want to get old. Not old like aged, but old like boring. Out of touch. Resigned.
Perhaps a certain amount of fear is normal. Healthy, even. Having a child is a big deal. While you may not be able to entirely overcome your fears, addressing them has to be worth something. It’s the only reason I haven’t completely scrapped this post for fear its too personal and inconclusive.
Because really, I don’t know what’ll happen. There’s so much mystery in expecting. It’s like waiting in line nine months to jump off a cliff.
Ok, maybe that’s a bad analogy.
But the due date sits on your calendar so definitively. So self-assured. Both the start of something new and the end of an era. Except you have no idea what that new thing looks like. It’s a black hole you’re slow-motion moving toward. You can see it so clearly, yet it’s formless and elusive and wholly unknowable.
So again, I don’t know. Maybe personal resignation is required of parenting. Maybe I’m naive in thinking I can avoid antiquity. Or maybe being mindful of your fears helps to make conscious efforts against them. And the eighteen-year-old me can finally rest easy.
You know how I said having a child is a big deal? Well, so is being pregnant. And I’d like to take this time of reflection to say how remarkable my wife has been. No crazy mood swings. Minimal complaining. She’s been cool and courageous and selfless. It’s been incredible to witness.
Her ease has become my ease. Emotions are contagious like that. I’ve been spared an incalculable amount of stress because of her poise. For that, I’m truly grateful.
Finally, I have a confession to make. We just shared our fifth wedding anniversary and, in classic guy form, I forgot to get her a card. Nice, I know.
So, B, please accept this public address as substitute. You are inspiring and completely amazing. You are appreciated and you are beautiful. You will be a wonderful mother. And you will always be loved.
(Get a room, right?)