Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Reflections of a 3-week old Father

Yes. I have been a father for 3 weeks now. Since a few have asked my thoughts, I decided to share my reflections as I’ve taken on this new role.
The backdrop you should know:
  • I read zero books in preparation for this life-changing role.
  • I have rarely hung out with kids throughout my life, except when I was a kid of course. When I walk into Floodkids (children’s ministry at my church), I panic and stare at the kids as if they are speaking a different language that I no hablo. Don’t get me wrong… I have always loved kids, but more from a distance.
  • I love my nieces and nephew, but my best way of connecting with them has produced the nickname: Crazy Uncle Eric.
  • I had never changed a diaper, watched a video on how to change a diaper, or even spent any logical energy in assessing the best tactics for said diaper-changing. (I’m sure I’ll share my first diaper change at some point)
So, here are some noticings, with the more trivial coming first:
1. Half of my times with Avery so far seem to be when she is not the happiest. I often change her diaper in the midst of the transition from Leftie to Rightie (or vice versa). This means that she is still hungry, so feeling the cool air on her bottom is not her first choice. Luckily she connects my voice to that, and the following scenario….

2. I keep thinking that I am hurting her when I change her diaper because she is crying. Which makes me wipe more gently. Which means it takes me longer. Which means Avery feels the cold air longer. Which means she cries more. Which means I am ultimately shooting myself in the foot.

3. I am not good at making songs up. And most of the songs in my head are not kid-friendly. So I end up singing “Jesus Loves Me” around 27 times in a row. I am currently working on a modified version of a DC talk song, which will be titled, “The Easy Way.”

4. I continually ask Avery “What’s wrong?”, despite knowing full well that she cannot answer that question. I also tell her “You’re okay!”, when I have no clue. Sometimes I have an entire conversation with her with her continual response being the monkey face.

5. Avery seems to have a lot of the same tastes as my wife. I have made this realization through several statements from Tatum. “Avery would like you to shave.” “Avery wants you to put some cologne on.” Weird, I can almost hear her mother making those same requests.

A few more significant…..
6. I have often felt disconnected. I can’t feed Avery, which is her absolute favorite thing to do in the world! She is often more calm in Mom’s arms then she is in mine. I’m actually okay with this, since she has known Mom for 9 months longer than me. And Tatum is a very natural Mom, while I am a loving but awkward Dad at times. The one thing that warms my heart is when I can tell she recognizes my voice. I know this will change, but I’ve realized my focus needs to be in serving Tatum. Which leads to the next one…

7. I have never had more respect for my wife then in the weeks following Avery’s birth. And since you can never really know how much I had previously respected my extremely gifted and beautiful wife, this statement will never carry as much weight as it is intended to produce. Being induced (which just produces a longer labor), going through labor, and then ending in a C-section is hard enough. But then watching her valiantly learn how to be a mother while not being able to sit up on her own, fighting off an infection with a 101 fever, and enduring the beginning pains of nursing, has made me love her ever more dearly. And praise the Lord in heaven I was born a man.

8. Although it’s a sacrifice, and an extremely daunting responsibility, I’m so proud to be a father. I know my love for Avery will continue to grow, which is exciting. For now, I’ll just enjoy watching her make 37 different faces while sleeping.


Anonymous said...

You sound like an awesome dad to me, bro!
-Andy Kelly

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