I will admit, when my wife told me she was going to a dance performance on Saturday night with her friend, I was nervous. Then she said she was also going to dinner, and I was more than nervous. I mean, 5PM till … that’s scary. How many hours is that with just baby and me?? The real answer is not many, but the fake answer is that it feels like way more than the real answer.
Ok, it’s not that scary, but we’ve really separated the evening routine into distinct responsibilities, so this would be the first time I put the baby to bed on my own (I usually do bath and hand off a happy, relaxed baby to my wife). My nerves get to me a little – what if she won’t go down. What if she goes down too soon. What if a giant alien invades or the zombie apocalypse (which is bound to happen within the next 2-3 years for sure) happens tonight? What if…you know, now that I’m a parent there’s a lot of what ifs…
It’s 8PM and baby is in bed. She passed out at 730, which is about an hour before her normal bedtime. She did wake up and cry for about 10 minutes, but I let it pass, and she’s back sleeping again. I did it. I successfully handled my first night alone with baby. I obviously thought of a lot of negative scenarios, but its over and wife will be home in a few hours. Video games await. The zombie apocalypse could still happen, but there’s less chance now than a few hours ago. The night is a success! But I want to comment on some feelings that popped up spending some hours with just baby. I want to focus on how awesome it is to have this child.
I would of said for most of my adult life that I was questionable on having kids. I was never an “I really want them person”, and at times, I’ve been an “Hell no” person. Even up to the time we decided to have kids, I was skeptical. But my wife had confidence that I would like being a dad because I treat our pets like kids. So with a real human, imagine the love I would give. Pre-birth, I would of disagreed with this. Now I can only say that being a dad is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.
When I look at Cara now, she looks back and smiles. Nearly every time. When I walk into a room and she notices me, she will turn her head to find me and constantly wants to play (which at this age, means look at you, laugh, wave her arms, kick her feet, repeat). When I see that and realize that my wife and I created that beautiful little human, it lights me up inside. It gives me purpose. It makes me want to work harder to provide for her, to think of things I can do for her to make sure she grows up to be as good a woman as she can be, and to re-prioritize things in my life. It makes me less selfish, it makes me more patient, and amazingly, it makes me a better person.
It’s also makes me love my partner more because parenting is hard. Really hard. And because of my wife, it’s not nearly as difficult as it could be (I say that weird sentence because it still is very difficult, but the right partner alleviates some of that pain). My wife and I see eye to eye on nearly everything, and that makes this job significantly easier. And I’ll be honest, you really don’t know your partner truly until you have kids and you see a new level of intimacy. And I know after these past five months that I love her more each day.
So having Cara has been an amazing experience. I light up each time I see her and she makes me want to be a better person. Despite less sleep, less time to do things I want to do (video games, golf, training), and less wife time, I wouldn’t trade being a dad for anything. There are so many things now that I really can’t wait for each day. I love getting up because I get to see that beautiful smile as we do our morning dance. And I can’t wait to get home from work and watch her light up when I walk in the house (although I don’t know who wins this one, Cara or my dog Ezio). It really is awesome. And I feel like the best is yet to come.