fathers’ day

June 17, 2008

What does it mean to be a father?
Before the baby is born:

accepting the fact that your wife wants to get pregnant.

fearing with her that it may be harder to get pregnant than you think (I mean, don’t I know the birds and the bees pretty well by now?)

letting her tell you some great news that she’s about to explode with.

ignoring the fact that your life will change, pretending you can be the same person.

noticing a bump grow in your wife’s tummy.

hearing a heartbeat that sounds like a roaring train but you know it’s smaller than your thumb.

realizing that a heartbeat has started, but won’t stop beating for the next 80 years.

fearing the unknown about how you will provide for someone else you’ve never seen before, and don’t know what he/she/it will be like.

creating a space in your life, your heart, and your home for someone that is yet a phantom.

getting so excited to see any new picture, any new ultrasound, and hoping that the nurse accidentally slips up and says the baby’s gender, even though you’ve reluctantly decided to honor your wife’s wishes not to know.

going to awkward birthing classes with “normal” people who seem thrust into this with a teacher who seems abnormally into babies and the birthing process.

feeling like you’re running from a monster, but the monster doesn’t run, he only has a steady stride that’s dead set on hunting you down. You know it’s coming but you can’t ever relax.

being totally blindsided and relieved at the same time once the rollercoaster decides to depart…… six weeks early.

finding the strength to be strong for your wife as the baby pushes its way through her…. with no medicine.

After the baby comes:

being confronted with total joy every time you look at your baby.

having to learn quickly to do things like hold the baby, change diapers, and feed him.

checking to see if the baby is breathing every thirty minutes when he’s sleeping.

waking up early on a Saturday and not being able to sleep in like you could just six months ago.

taking as many pictures as you can, putting them online, and assuming everyone else thinks your baby is as cute as you think he is.

looking back at those same pictures six months later and realizing that your baby looked like a wrinkled old man, just like every other newborn.

watching him grow and do new things every day, week, and month.

seeing him transform from a newborn to a baby, and a baby to a little boy.

assuming you know how stressed your wife feels being a mother, but actually having no clue at all.

learning to listen to your wife in a whole new way and not act like you know anything.

working harder than you ever have before to make sure you can provide for this fledgling little family.

forgetting there ever was a time where you thought you were invincible and had the world figured out.

experiencing fears you never knew existed in you.

finding that the only way to deal with your fears is to step blindly into the arms of God more often and more completely than you ever have before.

having a heart that’s bigger and feels more deeply, and opening up in a new way to other people.

sharing someone you love with other people who want to love him, too.

being completely awestruck and thankful to God.