It’s official. I’m going to be a dad. Which means in the last month, I’ve become the liberal stereotype: I’m going to grad school and having my first child. AT THE SAME TIME. I’m going to have to start brewing a lot more beer…
Last Friday my wife and I went in for her first ultrasound. We had known for a few weeks that she was pregnant. We didn’t want to say anything until we saw the heartbeat. It was a strong 166bpm (which is apparently very good for a protohuman barley the size of a raspberry). The kid already has crazy cardio endurance!
When Heather told me she was pregnant, it took a few days to sink in. At first, I didn’t know how to feel. We’d been trying for a while. It was something we were committed to and wanted. Still, the “concept” of having a child was much different than the “reality.” All of a sudden, shizzle got real. Perhaps it was a mild form of shock; or at least disbelief.
Then I saw a live shot of the little heart beating. A switch flipped in my brain and for the first time I was ecstatic about fatherhood. I helped make that little heart. Now, for the rest of my life, that little heart has a place in my own. I’ve made very few lifelong commitments. The first, when I married Heather. Now… I’m going to be a parent. Forever! I have no words to describe the crazy amount of emotions that went through me at that point. It was like understanding the meaning of life and tasting chocolate for the first time. Mind=blown.
Then a few things happened after that switch flipped in my brain. First, I was like “Holy crap! I made a human being! I have successfully passed on my genetic code! Go me!” Then the whole universe became a terrifying funhouse of insanity. That road in front of our house? Death trap. That guy walking his dog down the road? Possible mass murderer. The tables in our living room? Concussion generators. Everything in the world suddenly had the potential to inflict serious harm. To a guy who usually sees the world “glass half full,” I was unaccustomed to severe paranoia.
I’m also incredibly worried/cautious to touch Heather’s belly. What if I do something wrong? Or put too much pressure? This alternates with wanting to hug/squeeze/hold her because that means I’m closer to my potential son/daughter. This is insanity. I always knew parents were all a little crazy… I thought it was because of the lack of sleep and constant running around. Little did I figure that it was a constant state of hypervigilance and protection instinct.
Hopefully, this will mellow over time. I’m pretty sure it will. Thankfully, I have a plethora of role models to draw from. My own parents; Heather’s parents; many of my friends (some of whom have kids graduating from High School). I don’t have to go this alone. Which is a huge relief; because I don’t know what the hell I’m doing at this point.
I’m trying to read all the books and know all the things. I’ve also been told enough times that you really do just “figure it out as you go.” You can prepare all you want, but you don’t know how to ride a bike until you actually ride a frackin’ bike. Who needs training wheels? Not this guy. It’s time to earn that “world’s best dad” coffee mug…