Here we are: on the eve of Week 38. The baby is more or less to term, depending on which medical professional is talking. We have built all the furniture, installed the car seat, set up all the other baby gear, and laundered all the new clothes. We’ve met the baby’s pediatrician and we’ve taken a detailed tour of the hospital. We’re keeping the house spotless in case we have to disappear for a few days, because the last thing we’ll want to do when we return from the hospital is clean the house. We’ve stocked our freezer and cupboard with easy meals. We are daydreaming about the baby on our own and talking about the baby constantly when we’re together. We’re ordering more baby supplies on the internet because it’s basically the only way we can take care of our child at this moment in time. We’re doing everything we can to stay calm.
Every day I play the same game: if the baby came today, would I be ready? I run through the task lists and inventories again, double- and triple-check to make sure I didn’t miss anything. There’s no way around it: our home is completely ready for this child. There is nothing left to do except deal with my excitement and anxiety.
I do the same thing every day at work, but the story is different because there is always something else to do. For weeks, I’ve been on a mission to tie up all loose ends, finish ongoing projects and initiate new ones so I can lay the foundation and get people set up to assume what would normally be my role. It’s not easy for me to relinquish control of projects that are my responsibility to lead. No matter how much faith I have in others to perform well in my place, my sense of ownership over my work is so strong and it hurts to think about putting it down for eight weeks. At least that’s how I feel right now. I know the baby’s arrival will change everything.
I keep thinking about how I only have a couple more weeks of being a person who is not a parent. I’ve lived nearly 37 years as a non-parent. Once the baby comes, I will be a parent for the rest of my life. The more I think about it, the more I realize there’s nothing else with the ability to completely alter my identity and worldview, in such an immediate and unavoidable fashion, the way being a parent will.
Many people have told me and Lauren that we’re going to be amazing parents. While I appreciate the vote of confidence, it strikes me as an odd thing to say. Seriously — what if we totally suck? I can see fatherhood bringing out the very best in me, but I can also see it bringing out my worst qualities: my anxiety, my control freak tendencies, my stubbornness, my emotional distance, etc. There’s no possible way that Lauren and I are going to be consistently amazing at parenting, and I don’t think that’s a reasonable expectation for anyone. If we don’t fuck up sometimes, then we are not human.
I’ve had significant troubles with sleeping for a decade, but it’s only getting worse as our due date approaches. Morning hangout sessions with baby have become all-nighters. He is as active as ever, though he clearly takes up a lot more space in Lauren’s belly. Often her abdomen is skewed in whatever direction he’s leaning, making her look like an adorably lopsided penguin.
This blog post is about as scattered as my brain right now. I’m guessing this will be my last post before the baby is born — at which point I will be a legit dad in plaid.