Wednesday, August 17, 2005


My son turned one a little over a week ago. Can you believe that? Anyway, I was catching up on some blogs I check in with periodically, and there's a great post on Waiter Rant (a blog written by an anonymous waiter in an Italian restaurant in New York City). He tells the story of a patron who comes in right after his wife has their first child (because his wife is now craving Porcini Risotto), and the guy is in the middle of the slight mental breakdown that a new father has:

A quiet minute passes. The guy stares at the floor. He take a deep breath like he's about to say something. He doesn't. The clock ticks. I see moisture in his eyes.

"You'll be fine," I say gently.

The guy wipes his face quickly. "Yeah I know," he says, "but there's so much to worry about. I mean summer camp, private school, college. You know what college is gonna cost in eighteen years?"

"No idea."

"A million bucks!" he explodes.

"That much?" I wonder skeptically.

"And then there's braces, toys, broken arms," New Dad gushes as if a dam burst from within

I recognize what's happening. When New Dad held his baby for the first time the enormity of what's happening hit him. He's trying to process it all at once. I don't have kids of my own but I have friends who do. I've seen how they've handled it. I know what to say. I hope someone says it to me when my time comes.

"It's a lot of stuff but you'll break it down into small steps and it'll come together," I offer quietly.

"I guess," New Dad says.

"Think about everything at once and you'll go nuts," I say, "just remember, one day at a time."

"Your right," New Dad exhales.

"Enjoy your little girl. She's only a baby once."

I finally see a real smile. "She's beautiful," he says.

Whoohoo, do I know what that guy was feeling.

When my wife went into labor, I was so focused on her being OK that I hadn't even really focused on the fact that we were actually going to have a kid. I mean, I knew, in intellectual terms, that there would be a baby, but it wasn't until we had gotten to the hospital (23 hours, incidentally, after her labor began - ouch) and my wife called her mother and cried, "Mommy, I'm going to have a baby!" that the enormity of it hit me.

Holy crap. I'm going to have a son. Forever. Yikes. Privateschoolandcollegeandclothesandwe'llneedtomovesoonandmycaristoosmallandwhenhegetssickwillIbeabletocomforthimandIsuckatsportsandI'llstillhavetoteachhimtocatchahighpopflyaaaaahh! My legs went wobbly but I didn't want my wife to see it (after all, she had the really tough job) so I kind of slumped/leaned against the wall.

And then, right after he was born, they whisked him off to a room to suction all of the assorted gook that accompanies babies into this world, and I, of course, followed him (that was my job -- "FOLLOW THE BABY! DON'T WORRY ABOUT WIFE! OTHER PEOPLE WORRY ABOUT WIFE! BABY NEVER LEAVES YOUR SIGHT!").

So I'm watching them clean and suction and check and weigh and there, after all of this time, was my son.

And nothing else mattered.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home