Last Tuesday put us under 10 weeks until Terri’s due date. Next Wednesday finds me turning 30. If you’ll allow it, I think there’s some things to be said about all of that.
At the very least, there’s a public apology I need to get off my chest for starting the wave at a White Sox game in 1992.
Terri is seven months pregnant, no reminder of which is more prominent than the fully assembled and decorated crib in the other room. We’re at least marginally prepared to take a small baby home from the hospital, now, able to bring home our son and, well, hope he sleeps.
But we’re in a strange place – I am, anyway – between the blinding terror of caring for a helpless human life and the weird thought that I’m weeks (weeks!) away from becoming a father. I could theoretically get a Father’s Day card this year. At the risk of repeating myself, there’s no way to not find this just immensely strange. I’m in a Twilight Zone of weird.
Strangest of all, perhaps, is is the mountain of expectations that our poor son is beneath before even drawing his first breath. Terri and I find ourselves exploring strange, cavernous possibilities down which our son might spelunk. How would we deal with it, we wonder, if he wants to play football? How old does he have to be before he can watch Raiders of the Lost Ark? Do we even tell him about Santa or The Phantom Menace?
All of which is to say that for as many rules as I might have for my unborn son, I have ten times as many for myself. This is a lot of pressure.
I think you can get by with just a few core tenants: Communism is evil. Doing the wave at baseball games is morally wrong. Life, liberty and property are sacred. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. Nobody loves a Minnesota Twins fan.
I’m of the general opinion that life is there to be explored and that my son will have way more fun making up his own mind. In other words, while I deeply regret the actions I took at a White Sox home game in 1992 – inciting and perpetuating the wave – I feel like that’s my son’s mistake to make, too. (May he someday apologize for it, too.)
Which is why I’m finding myself writing the rules for myself, not him: Don’t pin too many hopes to the poor kid. Make all the time in the world for him. Don’t bring your frustrations with him to Facebook. Never lose sight of the awe and wonder and hope and love you feel right now.
I’m turning 30 in a few days, which may be the best thing I bring to the table of becoming a new father: I’ve never been more certain that I don’t know it all. And I’ve never had more respect for my own parents and their ability to hide the sheer, blinding terror they probably felt almost constantly.
If there’s a point to this post, I think it’s this: I can’t wait to meet my son. I can’t wait to hold him and learn his name and teach him all of the amazing things I’ve learned. I can’t hardly stand the wait to see his personality emerge and hear him speak his first words and hold my first conversation with him and watch him grow into a boy and then a man. My heart positively aches with anticipation.
But here, in the last remaining weeks of this old life, all I have are the expectations I’m building for myself. I hope with every fiber of my being that I don’t mess this up.
I don’t even know what I’d do if he cheers for the Twins.