Anyone who is considering becoming a parent had better be prepared before they ask me what it’s like becoming a dad because I will be brutally honest. Still, no matter how brutally honest I am… that will never prepare them for the onslaught of emotions that will hit them the day they stare into the eyes of their child for the first time.
I loved Daddy’s Little Girl the moment I laid my virgin Daddy eyes on her. The memory of her grand entrance from the moment she was extracted from her home she’d been so comfortable in for nine months is forever burned into my memory. I will never forget the emotions cascading over my limp body at that moment… a harbinger of things to come in the upcoming weeks, months… years.
Immediately… people would ask me, “So… how does it feel!”
“Awesome!” I would say. “Better than I expected!”
But I really didn’t know “awesome” from a hole in my head. I didn’t really fathom how awesome it was until much later in retrospect as I watch the growth of her from infant to toddler and beyond. I look at her and I remember everything that we went through to get to that moment
If you haven’t been able to tell already, I’m a bit of an emotional person… a little too much most of the time. For this reason, I tend to give a dissertation when people ask the question, “So what’s it like?”
It can’t be answered in a simple sentence… too much weighs on being a parent to answer that question in one sentence.
I answer the question the way I wish it had been answered for me when I was pre-child: with tough love. Too often, the question is answered with images of love, happiness, joy, thankfulness, etc. While these are indeed all components to being a parent… they are not the only ones. Fear, indecision, anger and a multitude of other emotions also seem to weasel their way into your new psyche. Love is the most powerful emotion but it is always being challenged by its lesser, more annoying emotional cousins who are vying for the top spot.
I was recently asked by someone here at work what it’s like being a dad because he and his wife are trying to get pregnant. I think I may have just scared him enough to rethink their strategy.
I felt really bad. I didn’t mean to make parenthood sound scary … well… maybe I was! I was merely trying to make it sound more realistic as opposed to painting a picture of pillows, maple glazed donuts and rubber duckys.
I honestly don’t know if I scared the pants off the guy or not… he said I didn’t.
In answering this question… I usually try and to be painfully realistic in the beginning of my discourse and then end it with all the rewards that are making themselves known as the days go by. While in the beginning, there was no return on the love, hugs and kisses being displaced by her mother and I… they are starting to be returned in abundant numbers. With the abundance of these acts of love… the lesser cousins slowly sulk away knowing their defeat is immanent.
There are so many different kinds of love the human has for different aspects of their surroundings. They love their wives. They love their parents. They love their siblings. They love ice cream and pizza. But the love you have for your child is a totally different love that’s more powerful, more unfamiliar and evolves faster than she grows out of her shoes. I think that if an up-and-coming parent only realizes that they are going to get their ideas of love blown out of the water by the time their child is christened by their first earthly breath… then they’ll be on the right track.