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I brought my #2 but it didn’t seem to matter

Posted: June 17th, 2009 | Author: Brian | Filed under: Family Life | 4 Comments »

One Year Later

The alarm clock rolled over to 5 a.m. and I took another deep breath. I had been lying there listening to Liam breath on the baby monitor for a little while now, trying to record a video clip to be uploaded to my mind’s private YouTube channel for preservation’s sake. I just knew that as he made those soft noises, he was in his crib like always, curled up with his butt in the air, asleep without a care in the world. I had to chuckle to myself.
A year ago today I was watching the sun stretch and wake, peering through triple-paned hospital windows and feeling like I was an alien outside my own body. I was tense, sleep-deprived and oh-so-naive, the most peculiar mixture of curious, excited and terrified, like the first day of school except not even remotely close. A year ago today I thought the world revolved around me, and that my To Do Lists, projects and workout regiments were the non-negotiable expectations of my life. I even thought that I was a patient person.
A year ago today, my world changed when I became a father.
Over the past twelve months I’ve been to places emotionally that I didn’t know existed. I love my friends even more as a result and see my own parents in an entirely different light. My wife is my hero. I now understand why other parents give each other these knowing, understanding microglances because they too have had their share of public humiliation due to vomiting and nights that you swear the clock is vindictive and moving backward instead of forward. They too understand they had no idea what they were getting into when they signed up.
Parenthood is like that one test in school where the teacher swore it would be 20 multiple choice straight out of the text and you show up to find that it’s 8 long-form essays on a book you were never assigned. Written in Spanish. Castillian Spanish. You look around to see that at least everyone else is paralyzed with fear. It doesn’t matter how gifted you are or how much you prepare ahead of time, you’re going to get rocked on this. But strangely, just going through it feels exhilarating, even if all you can do is draw sketches in your blue book because you have no idea what you’re doing. At the end you’re going to turn it in with a simple, apologetic letter to the professor and giggle to yourself at the absurdity of the situation.
As I lay there in bed this morning, I wondered how I got to a point where I have a son who gets books as presents instead of pacifiers and aspirators. Bleary-eyed, I got up and tiptoed past the nursery and down the stairs to make coffee, almost tripping over the toys in the battle zone that is our first floor. And I actually did chuckle to myself.
Here we are a year later, and I’m still a little tense and a little naive. I’m still a mixture of curious, excited and terrified about what’s to come. I’m still not prepared for this test and have no idea what I’m doing as a parent, but I finally realize it doesn’t matter because I don’t really care about how I score on it. I can only think about being in the middle of it, with Liam pounding on my head in glee as I carry him on my shoulders around the house pretending to be Giant Daddy.
So this is my apologetic note for being so woefully unprepared for the parenthood test. I hope down the road Liam comes to see that I didn’t just turn in a blank booklet. I had fun drawing in the margins anyway, even if I didn’t answer the questions.

4 Comments on “I brought my #2 but it didn’t seem to matter”

  1. 1 Linda Kruse said at 9:05 pm on June 18th, 2009:

    I don’t believe that anyone is prepared for parenting. You learn as your child experiences….I am so proud of who you have become as a husband and father.

  2. 2 minxlj said at 9:35 am on June 22nd, 2009:

    A year? Already??
    Wow. Congratulations to you all – before you know it, the little guy will be writing this blog himself ;) Happy Birthday mini Faust! x

  3. 3 Brad said at 7:21 am on June 23rd, 2009:

    @minxlj at least if Liam starts writing the blog Jonas should get more respect!

  4. 4 Jason said at 3:21 pm on June 29th, 2009:

    This is very properly put into words. Eloquent as always, man.