While the last 5 years of my life have been slow to change my outlook on being a father, the last 9 weeks have helped things along rather quickly. The first instance of change came when my wife, armed with an Amazon.com sized order of pregnancy tests, began testing multiple times a day to see if she might be able to call herself a mother. But the thing about those amazon.com jumbo count pregnancy tests is that they're not completely accurate. So we spent the better part of a week trying to figure out if the second, barley legible line, actually constituted an official line at all. And of course, I thought otherwise. Because in my mind, I wasn't entirely cut out for fatherhood...at least not yet. But at the end of the week, I was tired of not knowing for sure and so I convinced my wife to buy one of the "expensive" tests, the one where it actually produces a + sign, squelching any circumstances of confusion.
Low and behold, the + sign appeared. And for the first time since our wedding, I saw my wife's eyes light up with excitement and anticipation, her smile consuming the inches of her beautiful face. And in that instance, it didn't matter how little I thought of myself or how unqualified I felt to be a father. This had happened and this was happening and I was a father, qualified or not. And if you believe everything happens for a reason like I do, you're led to take news like this with joy and anticipation. Of course, the other side of things is that you also experience utter fear. The fear I experienced came in waves, followed by moments of excitement and wonder. I wondered what our child's laugh would sound like and whether or not they would laugh at the same things I laugh at. I tend to laugh a lot, so I imagined there would be points where we would laugh together. I thought about the change in routine, the chauffeuring to and from a daycare. I sat at a restaurant with my wife and it hit me that one of us would be spoon-feeding a hopefully cooperative little one. I feared sleepless nights and explosive diaper cleanups. And then, I would be grocery shopping and I'd buy a toy car just because I knew that at some point, the little one would like to push it around the living room floor. Like I said, my reactions came in waves.
The reality of our growing family came at Christmas time. We were about 6 weeks along when we found out. We opted to tell our families during our time together and as it turned out, we told some of our closest friends as well. I was the one that blurted it out in a moment of awkward announcement. We were supposed to help paint a house and when we arrived, the paint fumes were too much. My wife gave me the eye that communicated, "LEAVE...NOW." Not wanting to be a jerk and fumbling for viable excuses as to why we would leave 30 seconds after arriving to help, I opted for the truth. "Guys, we're pregnant...and we have to leave.....now." As it turns out, they understood and they offered congratulations, followed by swift gestures to exit the premesis. Our families were overjoyed. My in-laws cried tears of joy after being assured that we were not joking. My mother, who is confined to a wheelchair courtesy of Parkinson's disease, nearly leapt OUT of her wheelchair while crying "Yahoo! Yahoo!"
And it was under these circumstances that I grew accustomed to the idea of being a father. The change in routine would be one of subtle adventure, I thought. One child would be a change for sure, but nothing I couldn't handle. Little did I know.