My son, we will call him Little A, came rather unexpectedly one Friday morning. 1:25 am exactly. Let’s back up for a moment. At 10:15 the night before, my wife’s water broke. I was of course engaged in one my favorite activities at that time of night: sleeping. My wife flicked on the lights. I’m still not sure which of us was more startled, her or me for the lights coming on so quickly. I’ll lean on the side of her, as I’m sure a level of fear ran through her that us men can never fully understand.
At moments like this, I believe we all learn what we are truly made of. You see, Little A was four weeks early. We didn’t even have a bag packed. Ironic how the day before we learned in our birthing class what we should pack. The irony is not lost on me.
Anyway, I won’t go through all the details as that first week was the most challenging, and most emotional of our lives. Neonatal ICU, oxygen assistance in the form of an infant CPAP, etc. Let’s just say a week later when Little A came home, both mommy and daddy were filled with joy. And relief.
Fast forward to the present. Little A is an energetic three-month old who learned sucking on his hands tastes pretty good. Is it the salty taste? Is he getting too much sodium from mommy? Ok, relax. Mommy had to inform me this is normal. He’s pacifying himself. I tried it myself and ended up biting my finger.
Having never been a father before, I’ve learned more about myself in the past three months than I have in the previous three decades. For example, when I wake up at 1 am to make sure Little A’s little belly is still rising and falling with each breath, I realize what love truly is. Of course I do my best to remember that feeling when his pee arches and soaks the onesie, the changing pad, and the other day, daddy’s forearm. Or when I saw a brown stain on my pant leg and found the matching spot on the back of Little A. It was like a quick a game of connect the dots.
My lesson in all of this, patience. For example, I’ve sat down four, no scratch that, five times to write this first post. So I wonder if other parents out there feel the same? I’m sure they do. Now if you’ll excuse me, someone just spit out their pacifier….