There is something living within my wife.
Something that moves, kicks, and lies on my wife’s bladder as if it were a chaise lounge.
… and it’s GROWING!
In March, as I have been told by my wife, my doctor, my shaman, and my voodoo witch doctor, this creature will emerge from my spouse all gooey and pink, and it will change my life forever.
But I know it as: Oh-my-God-we’re-having-a-baby! And sometimes: It’s-gonna-be-so-cute-with-the-little-fingers-and-toes-that-you-just-want-to-eat-up! And rarely as: BABY!
When I first heard the news, the exhilaration and joy were palpable. I had fathered a child, who will be the living embodiment of my wife and me! A baby we will get to see roll over for the first time, crawl for the first time, and take a first step. I will have someone to play catch with, or camp out in the backyard because Mom doesn’t enjoy dirt. I will have a little guy to dress like an old man for the first part of his life, and he’ll laugh at all my stupid jokes and goofy faces.
Then, as the news settled into my brain, the fear began to grow.
I am going to be in charge of another person’s life! Not just any other person — someone who looks like me, and has no control over his bodily functions. He will literally poop his pants multiple times a day, and I will have to clean it up. He will drool multiple liters a day, and it will be socially acceptable. I will be responsible for this person, who, if he were an adult, would be subject to scorn and ridicule.
I have been responsible for children before. As Irish-Catholics, my family is no stranger to begetting, and it has produced many cousins, nieces, and nephews for my training. I have fed, clothed, burped, and changed many a child. I have even wrapped one like a burrito, and strapped one to my chest like a bomb. Back then, I felt it was my job to rile the kids up for their parents. But those kids were always returnable! My own burrito-bomb won’t be.
For the rest of my life, I will be in charge of the safety and well-being of this little guy. He could get hurt, scrape his knee, break a bone, or gash his head. He must be protected, and I only see one solution. I MUST BUBBLE WRAP MY HOUSE! But why stop there? I could bubble wrap the baby, the neighborhood, the world. No one will be allowed touch my kid! Everyone has filthy, disease-ridden hands full of leprosy, feces, and Libertarian ideology! No son of mine will lose his nose! (Unless it is specifically taken by me in a “Got Your Nose” scenario!)
Next, the fear turned to panicked questioning.
What if there’s something wrong? What if he doesn’t like me? What if I drop him? What if there are really five of them in there? What if the sonogram shows that he has problems? Horns? A tail? Hooves? A mullet?! What if he comes out looking like a saucy Venezuelan pool boy named Eduardo who moonlights as a “Dexter”-style serial killer and only exists in the fevered mind of a man who is freaking out about fatherhood? EDUARDOOOOOOO!
In those times of worry, I take a moment to place my hand on my wife’s belly to feel the tiny movements of my special little guy. How can something so small fill me with anything but love? How can something so small be anything less than perfect? Each kick soothes all those silly fears, answers all my questions, and warms my heart. I no longer worry about problems I may face when the little buckaroo arrives in a few months. Problems will come, and I will face them with determination and exhausted humor. Mostly exhausted humor.
But for now, I get to enjoy those little kicks that seem to say, “Hey Daddy! Let’s play!” Those tiny little kicks that let me know I have at least done one great thing in my life.
Those tiny … little … kicks. Wait — are those Latin rhythms?