Some Thoughts On Daddyhood
Time Keeps On Slippin', Slippin'
My wife and I are going to have a baby. Well, she's going to have the baby; I'm there to rub her back and feed her ice chips and tell her jokes in order to distract her from the fact that Pain Is Becoming Her REALITY. But that's all in the future.
I think a lot about the future anymore. All of a sudden my horizons have opened up decades in the future instead of mere months or years. It's a form of tunnel vision we all share, really. When I was younger, the tunnel lasted until the end of summer or the end of school or until that next big birthday. When in college, the tunnel might be until graduation or just until that next major test or the next visit home. Even when I got married, the time frame was until we got the next job or moved to the next town or built the new house. Tunnel vision: the focus on a particular goal that, once reached, produces a few days or weeks of readjustment and general aimlessness that has, in its own way, a sweet savor.
My tunnel is now fifty years long. Things I do in the next few weeks and months and years can very well have ramifications that far into the future, and now I know it. In fifty years I could have grandchildren or great-grandchildren--and this is NOW more than just a theoretical possibility to me. This is the first devastating hint--not guarantee, just hint--that my successes and failures will be magnified beyond my lifetime. Many people wonder at various times about whether they make any difference or not. I now know (at least with the blind man's aptitude at describing color since the tyke's not here yet) that I will make a difference because for the next several years I will be one of the major constructors of another person's world. For decades, my prejudices and habits and quirks will be the default settings for this child and all he touches. My life, and my death (whenever it come, and it could always be quickly), will be screened through another set of lenses, flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood. It's coming, and coming soon.
But I'm ready--at least, I'm ready in that I don't regret or bemoan my "lost youth". I didn't lose it, I just used it up. I've traded my short-term goggles for the long-term telescope, and I am content. I am ready, my wife is ready--but like I said before, I am virtually guaranteed that this is indeed going to be a lot tougher than we thought.