Monday, June 22, 2009

Good Man Gone Dad

It seems silly now, but I was worried about you.

We talked about our children (hypothetical children, of course) something like three weeks--or was it three minutes--after we met. I knew you wanted to be a dad, and I wondered what kind of father you'd be. You seemed so different from your parents and extended family. "Eccentric," they call you. I really couldn't picture you with a baby.

And then there was the doctor's appointment and you didn't come (you must have had a deadline, but I don't remember), and I walked back to the office with a urine sample cup containing a just-removed IUD. It was still a little mucous-y from my insides. I don't think I showed it to you.

And then there was the vacation and the hours of champagne and cookies and Scrabble and sweet, sweet love down by the fire. And two weeks later my breasts were sore and I was ready to nap at 2 PM and my period didn't come. And then it did, and we looked at each other and saw disappointment, and we had sex every other day for a month.

You said "huh" when I showed you the stick with the two purple lines. You let me take the reigns on every decision pertaining to pregnancy, birth, baby. I was surprised that you didn't seem to have a strong opinion about so many things. I think you didn't really believe that there was going to be a baby. (I didn't really believe it, either.) You were so quiet during my labor, except when I made a joke and you laughed. And then he was born, and you said, "There's a baby!"

He was flopped onto my chest right away, but you got to hold him--really hold him--before I did. I was mad that I was too weak and hurt to cuddle our little boy right away, but they told me you had him "out there" (in the living room, presumably) "wrapped up like a little glowworm," and I relaxed.
You remember feeling inept, uncoordinated, completely out of your element in those first weeks and months. You feel like you're a better dad now. But you didn't see what I saw.

You swaddled our son like you'd been doing it for years, wrapping him into a tight, soothing, wiggle-proof burrito. You wore him in the Ergo everywhere we went, eating meals carefully over his sleeping head. You talked to him while you changed his diapers, explaining how to diaper a baby so that if he ever decided to become a daddy himself, he'd already know how. You went back out in the dark to check a rain-soaked parking lot for his lost square of green blanket, just in case.

All the care and patience you'd had for me just expanded to include our child. All your humor and hard work was the perfect foundation for fatherhood. The transition was so seamless and natural, I sort of missed it. Suddenly, we have a little boy who gets up early and stays up late just to be with you. Based on that alone, I think it's fair to say you kind of rule. And while you might feel like a better father now, you've always been the perfect Dad.

I didn't need to worry about you at all. Happy Father's Day, baby.


candace said...

Very sweet!

I was totally worried about Jason too but as soon as the doctor's held her up he cried, and I knew I had nothing to worry about.

Rob said...

Thanks, baby.


I must have something in my eye.

Thomasin said...

What a testament! I especially love the diapering part. Good job, momma, for recording this. Good job, papa, for being a good dad.