(photo by my lovely wife, of course)
I wrote this on Father’s Day and though I’m a little late, I thought I’d share it today.
For the first time, I celebrate Father’s Day as an actual father. Our little girl was born almost 5 months ago. She has ushered in not only a new era but also a new existence. Julie and I have been married for 8 years and together for 12. We’ve done all sorts of awesome things together over the years: travel, rock concerts, dinners out 5 nights a week, late night partying and loud band practices in the basement twice a week. We’ve lived life as well as anyone and have truly enjoyed ourselves to the fullest. In all honesty, I have very few regrets and thoroughly enjoyed our DINK days (double income, no kids). That being said, I am truly falling in love with my new life as a father and family man. And I’m more than happy to admit it.
Being the father of a five-month year old baby has, of course, its challenges and unique brand of pain and hardship. For one, babies are not rational. They willfully act against their own self-interest without any thought of the lunacy (and irony) of it. Many a time, Ramona has been beyond exhausted… utterly sleepy and in desperate need of a nap. And those are the exact times that it’s hardest to get her down. My little rascal will use every last ounce of energy to ward off sleep (hers and mine). I’ve held her and comforted her for hours trying to coax her to sleep while silently praying that my wife gets home from her photo shoot so I can hand the babe off to her and go make a stiff drink.
And so rattled have I been from my little girl’s bloodcurdling crying in moments like those that I’ve been known to be a little intimidated of the next time daddy has Ramona all to his lonesome. “What time will you be back, hon?” I ask my wife. “By 8 or 8:30,” she responds. “That’s more than 2 and half hours,” I say after looking at my phone. “What if she won’t go to sleep? What if she cries the whole time?” I ask with concern. “You’re a big boy, Jes,” she responds. “Handle it.”
In addition to the sometimes otherworldly, level 12 crying fits that I endure, I’ve learned that Ramona is indifferent to my back problems. She keeps getting chubbier and chubbier without any regard to the impact those extra pounds are having on my back. (I will say, however, that my baby is the most exquisitely cute and adorable little chubble bubble that ever did grace God’s green earth, so there’s that). But her rapid growth and glorious girth can be limiting in how long I can hold her or in what position due to my already pain prone lower back. And she doesn’t seem to notice, much less care as she continues to greedily gulp down her milk with abandon.
In spite of these challenges (and yes, I know, many more to come), I love having this amazing little beauty in our lives. The good is so many millions of times better than the bad. In fact, I don’t know what we’d be doing right now without her. It feels as though she was always supposed to be here. And now she is. She’s a great gift and blessing to us both. And trust me, we were both very reticent and skeptical about having children. We just weren’t sure that we were up for the responsibility and utter selflessness that rearing children properly entails. And yes, I’m still green… I’ve only been a father for less than 6 months so I can’t speak to what it’s like to be a father over the long term; no doubt it has its ups and downs. But I will say that my life is better now. Enhanced; amplified; greatly expanded. If only because there is a remarkable, pure and innocent little person in our lives and consciousness now whose presence is a blessing in and respite from this sometimes tough and painful world. Ramona, unbeknownst to herself, is this lovely little person who I get to parent and love and do my best to educate and prepare for a life that, let’s be honest, can kick your ass.
So here’s to all of us fathers out there, the ones who care enough to wonder if we’re doing it right. May we deliver our children into adulthood in better shape and in a healthier place than we arrived ourselves. And may we learn quickly, on the job, in the midst of the madness, to do the right things more than the wrong things. And may we enjoy the journey that it is and most certainly will be.
Thankful and happy,
Jesse (Papa Moon)