Adventures in Parenting #2: Waiting is for the Birds

Whenever you announce to the masses that you’re pregnant, they all freak out because you’re a guy and that’s not supposed to happen unless you’re starring in the movie Junior. No, but seriously, whenever you announce to the masses that your wife is pregnant, you think you’re giving everyone something to celebrate but really what you’re doing is opening yourself up to an abundance of free and unsolicited advice. Advice from family, advice from friends, advice from parents of children in your youth sports program (that one might not be as universal), advice from bag ladies with cat children, advice from literally every human being who crosses your path. Most of this advice or guidance boils down to one of three sentiments: 1.)    “Get sleep while you can.” 2.)    “Your whole life is about the change.” 3.)    My favorite, “It’s not going to be easy.”

There are other derivatives of those sentiments that get expressed along the way but really just about everything falls into those categories, none of which are helpful because 1.) I already do get all the sleep I can and it’s already never enough, 2.) I kind of figured being responsible for a life form that isn’t a beagle would change some things, and 3.) Having worked with kids for the last 15 years of my life, I can attest to the fact that they are not easy to deal with. Sometimes these sentiments are wrapped up inside actual meaningful guidance from people you really care and those thoughts are genuinely appreciated. It’s the random human who stops you in the grocery aisle to talk about what they did that made their kid turn out so well that you begin to get frustrated. Being the sarcastic, somewhat confrontational person that I am, these encounters require great willpower as I fight to overcome the urge to whip off a pithy remark or just make the most annoying sound in the world until the person walks away confused. I imagine I’ll teach my son to do these things in my stead so that I can be a responsible adult in the presence of these valued strangers but still get the satisfaction I feel I am due.

The one thing that no one tells you, however, is that the vast majority of your time leading up to the actual arrival is just spent waiting. You wait for the first sonogram, you wait until you can tell your friends and family, you wait until your wife starts to show signs of pregnancy which brings on the onslaught of advice from the aforementioned strangers, you wait until you can find out if it’s a boy or a girl, you wait until the baby shower, you wait until it’s appropriate to put the kid’s room together, you wait and wait and wait and wait. Lindsey and I did our best to minimize the waiting in that we really didn’t cracking on the whole baby preparation thing until we were well on the way to his arrival. I mean we told people we were expecting and went to all the doctor’s appointments and such but for the first five months of the pregnancy, we kind of just went about life as usual (minus the crazy drug parties, of course). But still, no matter what you do, there’s always this underlying sense of wait.

I don’t consider myself to be a particularly impatient person but I am definitely a “get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’” kind of person. If something is going to happen I’d just assume it get moving. If, for example, I’m going to take a trip it’s likely that I’ll just leave at one or two in the morning rather than waiting for daylight because I won’t be able to sleep anyway. I like to be moving forward at all times. I’m like a shark (a small, unintimidating shark like a lemon shark but a shark nonetheless) that has to keep moving. I’m totally that guy that will jump out of traffic and end up costing himself an extra 15 minutes on the road so that he doesn’t have to stay still. Perhaps I should be reconsidering that statement about not being impatient. The point is, waiting around for something to happen isn’t my strong suit.

But that’s exactly what pregnancy is (at least for the guys): waiting. You have nine long months during which you basically have six weeks’ worth of stuff that needs to get accomplished and that time ticks by incredibly slowly when you’re in the day-to-day phase. Those 40 weeks are hallmarked by feeling the baby move, learning the sex, assigning a name, etc. but there are these excruciatingly long stretches where you’re just biding your time and coming ever so close to boiling over when the cashier at Chick-Fil-A reminds you that your life is about to change. After a while all you think about is what you’re going to do when this kid gets here, all the things you want to teach him, and how your rotten dog is going to react to all this nonsense. Wait, wait, wait.

Well, today our waiting is over. This journey that Lindsey and I started at a Rosas’s Café five years ago will take another exciting turn sometime today as we welcome baby Cooper into the world and put this maddening waiting to rest. Now if only I could get someone to tell me whether or not my life is about to change.

I haven’t slept in days, Brian