“Are You Excited?”
I’ve been getting this question a lot lately. Along with the, “are you nervous yet?”
And between you and me, Internet? I’ve no idea how I’m supposed to answer. Because if I’m being totally honest here, the answer is no.
No, I’m not excited.
And I’m not excited because I have absolutely no idea what any of this means. I’ve no idea what to do with an infant. I’ve no idea what it means to be a father. I’ve no idea if I’m going to like it. I’ve no idea if I’ll be good at it. I’ve no idea what it’s going to do to my life. I’ve no idea how to approach any of this.
And if I don’t know how something is going to affect me, how can I truly be excited about it?
I’ve heard various versions of, “oh…the first time you hold your child, something just changes.” And I believe it. I have zero doubt that the guy I become the second my daughter is born will be very different than the guy who stood in that spot one second earlier. Thing is, I don’t know that guy yet. I don’t know what’s important to that guy yet. I know the various responsibilities that he already has, but I don’t know how having a child will reorganize those priorities. I merely know that it will.
Now, this being said, I certainly don’t dread having a child. Far, far, from it. I’m having a great time learning about all the bizarre accoutrements that are involved with babydom. Things like stroller turning radii, the internal machinations of a Diaper Genie, and the structural differences between a “swaddler” and a “cruiser.”
I’m probably more studious and quizzical about the whole thing because it simply isn’t as real to me as it is to Jen.
By this, I mean having a child is less of a “concept” for mothers-to-be, as they’re already physically connected to the baby. Millions of years of successful hormone production are churning through a pregnant woman’s body, readying her for motherhood. While the father is standing there with a not-so-bright look on his face, asking things like, “Are all crib mattresses uniform in length, or are there proprietary sizing schemes, per brand?” (You should’ve seen the glazed expression I received from the poor kid I asked that to in Babies-R-Us.)
And as I wrap this up, it occurs to me that perhaps people just ask this in an effort to be polite, or to simply have something to say. The problem there is, I don’t do that. And when I’m asked any question I typically like to think a bit before answering, so I can respond with assurance and honesty. I don’t fill the air with talk.
Actually I think I’ll write more about that particular facet of my life, and how it might pertain to being a dad, in a forthcoming post.