So I’ve stepped through the portal. I’ve been a parent now for 3 1/2 years, and I’m still alive to tell the tale.
It really doesn’t seem like that long ago. But then I blinked. And now, here we are, about to have another baby girl (Juliet: due 12/1).
When I became a parent, I changed. Literally. Like Bruce Banner transforming into The Incredible Hulk. Only I didn’t grow into a green and bulky monster (which was my first wish). No, I have morphed into a mild mannered and caring father with amazing new parenting superpowers, like EMPATHY and PATIENCE. I have learned the art of just BEING THERE for my daughter, simply bearing witness to her struggles. It has been a difficult and painful journey of evolutionary change and has stretched my emotional range beyond my imagination. As a parent I have felt SO sad at times, so frustrated, so dejected. I have also felt SO happy, so joyful and content.
When I first heard our baby girl cry I thought, “Awww, how cute.” followed closely by “OK, I’m out of here!” I could not take it. It was torture to be in the same room. I wanted to run as far away as possible. But as a stay-at-home dad, I did not have the luxury of just handing her back to mom. Mom was at work. My daughter needed me.
The crying no longer bothers me. I let it all flow over me while I remain present for her. I tell her everything will be ok, that I’m sorry she feels the way she does. I no longer scramble to make things “better” for her or try a quick fix by offering her a treat. We simply share the moment. And I wait. Because I know this too shall pass. Until the next time.
And now I wonder what new super powers await as I become a parent of two…