Thursday, September 30, 2010


Maureen and I are now at less than two months, if timing goes as is estimated, to having our first child. Like television tells me most first time parents feel, I am both excited and scared at the prospect of being a parent. There was never a question that at some point we wanted to be parents, but the impending reality is miles different from the concept. We've done the classes and Maureen has performed her baby product research and we have removed most of the barbed wire from the soon-to-be nursery, but none of these things actually prepare you for caring for a human life form.

My biggest concern about me and being a parent is that, as I've written about before, I'm extremely selfish. I have spent 28 years cultivating a life that wonderfully serves me and all of my shallow needs. I exercise for as long as I want on any given day, I can stay late at work as necessary, and any time I don't want to spend with family or friends I can spend blogging or watching way too much television. On top of these things, ice cream is a regular meal and I can play Howard Stern on the radio in the house whenever I want - things not conducive to actually being a parent.

So while my excitement about being a loving parent has consistently grown over the period of Maureen's pregnancy, I have had a nagging fear that my selfishness would prevent me from being the kind of selfless dad that my son and wife will need. I know in my heart that this will not be the case and I will be able to happily adjust as necessary to be what everyone wants and needs me to be, but without actually having raised a child, it is not entirely clear what would cause this positive change in personality and corresponding reduction in self-absorption. My mom and others have been quite valuable in trying to explain the process of falling in love with a baby after it is born and that often, for many people, this is not an instantaneous event - it can be a process of learning to love your baby and the changes this child creates in your life.

The reason I mention all this is because as the day of birth grows closer, this subject makes me increasingly emotional. A few days ago, I read a great column by humorous columnist Joel Stein in Time about how he wants a second child, but his wife is not currently in the mood for #2. There are a few things in particular in this article that I found to be especially beautiful and touched me because they directly relate to the process of loving and appreciating your child. I just wanted to call a little attention to these (because Time does not have a broad enough reach. They really do require my broader audience) for any moms or dads to be or people who may be seriously considering parenting. They're not new or groundbreaking concepts, but I like to think that Joel Stein has a similar level of sarcasm and a relate-able worldview to my own. I guess you don't need to be groundbreaking to be touching.

"Still, Laszlo, despite his inability to cure even simple, nonmetastasizing diseases, makes me so happy and interested in life that I want to watch it all happen again, and I want to see him interact with another child I love."

In fact, before we were married, I was sure I never wanted children. Having Laszlo has made me feel closer to Cassandra than ever — as if we're alone exploring a beautiful continent that happens to be filled with human excrement. I love when he makes the curious raised-eyes face she makes, and I've cried watching her sneak into his room at night to straighten his pajamas while he's asleep."

1 comment:

BobA said...

That is one magical picture!