Let’s go back to high school. No, scratch that, Jr. High. Back to when you had a crush on someone. Not a “they are cute” crush but a “I’m going to puke I like them so much” crush. Remember that feeling of seeing that person in class or seeing them at the same event? A cross between “I can talk to them” and “I’m just going to hide out on the moon until I’m 40” feeling? Take that feeling, ramp it up times 100 and you have what I’m feeling.
My wife, Mandy, is 35 days away from her due date for our first child together. We are due to have a girl on August 21.
Mandy has two boys from a previous marriage and the pregnancy journey is not new to her. This has been a huge advantage for me because I would feel like I’m heading into a brick wall at 100 miles per hour, not wearing a helmet, without her. That she has past experience makes me feel like I am wearing helmet, but still heading at that brick wall, still doing 100.
I would venture a guess that most first time, if not all, have had this feeling. A strong sense of fear. Not dread because you’re not dreading the moment, but fear. Maybe of the unknown. For me, it’s a fear of failure.
Fail in putting on a diaper, swaddling her correctly, feeding her correctly and the list goes on. When people ask me how I’m feeling about having a baby, I tell them I’m scared. I tell them of all the reasons listed and their responses are usually in line with a verbal pat on the back. “You’ll be fine. You’ll figure it out.”
Well, yeah. I’m going to have to figure it out. I don’t have a choice. Still, that doesn’t ease the fear. It’s not just the baby stuff either. It’s the everything else past it, too
Where do I begin… I guess, for starters, the body parts are different. I have a large involvement in Noah and Jack’s, Mandy’s boys, lives. They call me dad, I call them son and there isn’t much confusion on who the boss is in our house. It’s mom.
When it comes to, uh, other stuff that mom does not understand, I’m the expert. I have what they have and, well, you know. *cough*
That high level of understanding goes completely out the window now. We’re having a daughter. It’s like I’ve been told to trek the Appalachians without a map. My guide, Mandy in this example, will obviously be by my side but what if the guide needs to go tend to something? You’re going to ask me to get through this without direction?!?!
(Side note: Biggest fear is the midnight run for tampons. For my daughter. There. I said it. I’m glad I got that out there.)
We also will have to deal with boys. Suddenly my own gender is now the enemy. Considering how I was growing up, I would really be okay if my daughter didn’t date through high school, college and most of her 20s. .
Along with that is the way that she will dress. I went to the fair this past week and my word. Why would anyone in their right mind let their daughter’s dress like that? Shirts that didn’t cover the stomach (Mid-drifts? Is that what they are called?) and the pants! I don’t… I can’t… I was appalled, if only because I’m going to have to make sure my daughter does not want to wear such trash.
I’ll most likely be buying baggy pants and sweatshirts for her to wear.
Now, understand that I’m not completely crippled by my fear. In fact, I could go on for hours about how excited I am at the opportunity to have a daughter.
There’s the adorable amount of baby clothes out there. I dare you to look at a tiny pair of anything and not ahh yourself to death.
There’s also the moments when she’s big enough to walk but still shy so she’ll hide behind my legs.
Or trying to teach her how to hit a baseball.
Or ride a bike.
Or are little daddy/daughter dates to wherever.
I cannot wait for these moments to become reality.
I’ve never felt emotions from the opposite end of the spectrum so strongly. Sure, I’d feel it before playing a game but it would eventually go away because I knew what I was doing. I don’t think these two emotions will ever go away now.
I will be eternally stuck between scared and excited with whatever happens in my daughter’s life.
And I cannot wait for that day when eternity begins.