by Don Osborn
This installment will be more like a blog entry than a typical column. It might be useful or at least entertaining to get a few thoughts down whilst I am on Baby's Eve. In a little over a month my life will change forever. I will add to my title of "husband" that of "father." To be honest, it pretty much scares the bejeezus out of me.
It's been done billions of times, so what am I afraid of? Mostly, the delivery. We want to have a completely natural childbirth. While we will deliver in the hospital, we will do a large portion of the labor at home. When we are in the hospital we do not want want drugs. It's funny that something so simple, so common sense as not using drugs seems like such a radical act. It's like, punk rock baby birthing. We've done some reading, Jamie much more than what I've done of course, and taken classes. It can be done. It takes some physical preparation on her part, knowledge on both accounts, and perseverance down the line. Still, I just want her and the baby to be all right.
Looking down the road, I'm afraid of being responsible for this fragile life. Will I drop him? [We don't know the gender but I'll go with boy for now.] What if I can't get him to sleep one night? Later on, will I give him a solid upbringing, well loved, well disciplined, and provide a good base for the kid to go off into the world and fend for himself? Will the kid hate me? It will be fine. I will do fine. I know all that. Any concern I have on this front is natural and hardly worth mentioning.
If you know me, you know I'm not merely a big old bag of altruistic love. I mean, I love me, too. And another fear I have about my impending fatherhood is the loss of me time. I was going to say the loss of free time, but I will still have that. It will, however, be mostly designated towards doing something with the kid. Jamie will be home with the kid during the day, and I would expect to take on most of the responsibilities once I get home. But what if I want a friend to come over and have a few beers? What if there was a show at the Turf Club? And then there is that movie at the Riverview I wanted to catch. What if I just want to sit on the couch for one God-forsaken evening and do nothing?! It's a lot of b-tching about nothing, I realize.
Many of my friends have told me they can not describe how being a father changes your life, and how much you instantly love your little urchin. Even the guys that I might have thought would take a while to warm up to fatherhood were instantly in love with it. I'm sure no less will happen with me.
Writing some of this stuff out is sort of an exercise. In a month or so I should hopefully be able to write a scathing critique of how ignorant, how small minded, how shamelessly naive and selfish I was "back then." Hey, so be it. I'm just a normal guy waiting for his life to change. It's nothing new.