Internally, and at the center of my mind, is a resounding sense of responsibility and excitement. Our baby boy was born on February 16, and he has changed our lives forever in an instant. My wife and I had dreamed of his presence and impact for months, even years, and our wildest expectations still did not pale in comparison to the moment of his arrival and subsequent joy we have experienced in the short time that he has been part of our lives.
More overtly, at the center of my day to day experience is the realities of those responsibilities and excitement. Nights long filled with television shows, darts, beers, card games, dinners out, and things of the sort have quickly and without great warning been replaced by lullabies, diapers, baby bouncers, feedings, cuddling, swaying and consoling, and yearning for sleep. And somehow my wife emerges and answers the call every single morning, day, and night when she invariably proves that she can operate with less sleep than a dolphin–a creature proven to be able to literally put half its brain to sleep at any given time and still function. Comments from colleagues and family members regarding sleep deprivation and learning to function under new circumstances that brought us to the cusp of parenthood sounded silly and hyperbolized only a few weeks ago. Yet now, I can say with what little experience I have, that parenthood is that video game you craved as a child–the one you couldn’t put down at 3 a.m. when you knew you needed sleep anyway. Only this time around, the stakes are so much higher, and the feelings are far more real, emotionally driven, and full of promise.
And so shifting from the internal to the overt forces me to contemplate the context of the world beyond my newly formed family. In his short time with us, Brooks has latched onto our hearts and minds in a way he will likely not fully understand unless he someday fathers a child. Yet we will slowly introduce him to a world that will never know or view him like we do, and by nature he will likely accept and grow from the criticisms that fall on his shoulders with greater ease than Tara and I ever will. As we already do, we will try to protect him and provide for what we perceive to be his best interest in ways that will demonstrate our love, bias, and fear. He is at the center of our world already, and right now he has but a small understanding of how deep that love runs.