A look back on the reasons why I feared fatherhood


I was cleaning up some boxes in our basement the other day and I came across a short list that I had created nineteen years ago for Kathy right before we had Erin.

We had tried for a while to have kids and then finally after a lot of prayers Kathy had gotten pregnant. We were nearing the homestretch, only a few more weeks before her due-date, but a part of us still worried. Would we make good parents? Would we know what to do? Would everything turn out for the best?

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I was worried the most. There was no question that Kathy would be a great mom. So kind and generous. How could she not? Me, on-the-other-hand? The jury was still out. To help deal with the worry, I created a Top Ten list of my fatherhood worries. I figured a little bit of gallows humor would keep the questions at bay and maybe even cheer up Kathy as we made our last minute preparations.

I pulled the list out the other day and I couldn’t help but laughing. Nineteen years have passed, but they’re still pretty funny.

10. The baby in delivery room miraculous speaks his or her first words, “Let me back in, let me back in . . . right now.”

9. Soiled diapers.

8. Lack of sleep. I like to sleep. Will I ever sleep again?

7. Baby comes out of the womb, looking suspiciously like the mailman. Kathy’s coworker. Kathy’s long-lost grade-school friend. Kathy’s fitness trainer. You get the picture.

6. While in the doctor’s hands, the baby takes one look at Kathy, then one look at me and begins to furiously shake its head and cry.

5. Someday that tiny baby, softer than a cottontail, will stand 6 feet tall, have looks to kill, and will walk up to me and say, “Yo, dad let’s talk about the birds-and-the-bees.”

4. I look at myself in the mirror and see a baby looking back. Okay, I’m no baby-faced 21-year-old, but I certainly don’t see 28-year-old man on the verge of having his first child.

3. The baby comes out of the womb wearing a t-shirt that says, “My parents went to St. Joe’s Hospital and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.”

2. Biggest fear: I might actually have to grow up.

The drum-roll please . . .

  1. A baby’s daily routine: feed the baby, change the baby, put the baby to sleep. Feeding the baby again, Change the baby again. Giving the baby a bath. Where’s the time dedicated to zoning out to ESPN SportsCenter or going out for a romantic bite to eat? Uh-oh.

baby-203048_1280The list is off in spots, right-on in others. If nothing else, I was right to be worried about sleep. The last time I got a full eight hours of uninterrupted and unstressed sleep? Yea, you guessed it, right before Erin was born.

Despite it all, Kathy and the kids have somehow managed to survive. Me too!

I wonder if Kathy will pull out another Top Ten list from me in another twenty years laughing about how we once worried about college costs; keeping enough food on the table to feed the boys; the times we felt more like a taxi than parents; passing each other running from one event to another, etc., etc.

Who knows, but I hope so.

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