This post should have come much sooner than this, but as anyone who has had a child knows, life tends to get in the way sometimes; that and I wanted this post to be just right.
The New Guy – my second child and me & The Auteur’s first together – was born at 8:06 AM on Friday July 3, 2015 via Cesarean section. As of this writing, he and The Auteur are doing great.
To put my feelings into words right now seems like an impossible task. I cannot possibly do justice to all that I am thinking and feeling at this moment. But I will do my best…
I feel incredibly blessed. Blessed to have this beautiful, healthy child and blessed to be having this child with The Auteur. She’s such a remarkable person that falling in love with her was the easy part. The fact that she and I met at all is almost a miracle unto itself. That she fell in love with me and was wiling to have a child with me almost defies logic.
In all seriousness, I feel that The New Guy, as with all things pertaining to mine and The Auteur’s relationship is a gift. One that I do not – and will not – ever take for granted.
My God, he is beautiful. The Auteur and I made a beautiful baby together, if I may say so!
Thanks to modern technology, the Auteur and I anticipated approximately how big he was going to be (which, after hearing the sizes of other newborns at our hospital no longer seemed all that out-of-the-ordinary.) He wasn’t overweight, mind you; he was proportionately big all over, long and tall…for a newborn. As a result of his size, he came out with a lot of bruising. The doctors said it was because he was cramped inside the womb. It was funny, because shortly after he was born, one of the nurses looked at me and said “Congratulations, you guys just gave birth to a two-month old!”
Even on the day he was born, I could tell that he has a very mellow disposition. Don’t get me wrong, he can belt out a great cry with the best of them, but he seems to take everything in stride.
Being a father is different the second time around. Not better, not worse, just different. I feel better prepared this time. I feel like with The Kid, I was able to enjoy every sensation of his birth and those first few days of his life; however with The New Guy, I was able to enjoy every moment with a different sense of perspective. I feel like I was able to enjoy different nuances of every moment that I couldn’t even process when The Kid was born 8 years ago. It is a feeling that is very difficult to articulate. I suppose it’s like bring in The Matrix: no one can tell you what it feels like to become a parent, once has to experience it for themselves. To that end, no one can tell you what it feels like to become a parent once again. That too, one has to experience for themselves.
This adventure is just starting. No doubt I will be telling of it more in the days, weeks and months ahead, but one last thought I’d like to leave with:
Just as it was with The Kid, there really are no instruction books on having children. The moment when we were leaving the hospital to take The New Guy home was surreal. Sure we had his room, his swing and his bottles all ready for him, but that moment of leaving the hospital and coming home for the first time with The New Guy in tow – I assume is not unlike the first step one takes when they are skydiving. We really are out here – in the world – on our own. These little ones don’t come with instruction books.
Not that I didn’t already know that…
I found this on this Father’s Day Eve. As a very soon-to-be expecting father, this resonated with me. This is a moment I have been looking forward to myself since we found out the The auteur and I are expecting.
My father AKA The Old Man died of cancer on February 4, 2015. I spoke at his funeral, but it was completely unscripted and straight from the heart. I could hardly keep it together. This is a long time coming (I’ve had it in my head for nearly three years ) but now I’m finally going to try to give him a proper eulogy:
Good Morning. And it truly is a “good morning”. Sure the weather sucks and we all wish we were together under better circumstances, but it truly is a good morning.
Dad is going home today. He now gets to rest in peace after fighting this horrible disease for the last two-and-a-half-months. He’s going home to see Grandma & Grandpa ****** and all his other family members and friends who went before him.
I have to say, right off the bat, that this Cancer thing is getting very personal to me: This disease tried to take my mother from me: now it has succeeded in taking my Dad. I want to get involved in this fight and I encourage any of you within the sound of my voice to do the same.
What more do I need to say about my Dad than to say that he was the most important male role model in my life? He taught me EVERYTHING I know about being a man: how to treat people, how to talk to them, how to take care of your family and committment to your children.
My dad did gave everything he was to my mom and us kids. He would have given me the proverbial shirt off of his back, and probably did more often than I realize. Let me give you a scenario: let’s say you called my dad to ask him to help move some furniture. He’d tell you he could be there in two hours, but he would show up in an hour and-a-half with a moving truck, two guys to help, refreshments, money to get everyone dinner and a full set of tools – just in case you needed them. He was THAT guy. And for his children? Even more so…
I remember back to 2012 as my then-wife and I had decided to separate and divorce. I was talking to my parents abour me coming home, of course. My plan was to simply pack a car full of as many of my belongings as I could and head up to Michigan. My dad was having none of that. He would not let me go through that alone.
I was moving out on a Saturday. He called me the Tuesday before. He said that he had office hours on Friday but he would hit the road as soon as he got out of the school. We talked a few hours later and that turned into him skipping out of office hours for the day, but he had to teach a Thursday class and he would head down after class. After another phone conversation, that turned into him gettimg a sub for Thursday and getting some sleep before hitting the road Thursday night.
I got a call on Thursday afternoon, I remember being shocked that it was Dad, thinking he was going to sleep before hitting the road after dark. He’s calling me from the road – wind in the background and all – to let me know that he was already in Cincinnatti and that my brother was with him. Typical Dad: coming to help earlier than he promised, with reinforcements and a mini van full of food and supplies. In one of the darkest moments of my life, there was my dad, making sure to catch me before I fell once again.
My then-wife came home from work that afternoon. She asked me what was going – in that ridiculously irrelevant small-talk way that people talk to each otherwhen a relationship has ended. I told her that I talked to Dad and that he was on his way down to help me get my stuff out of the house on Saturday.
She freaked out. “Your dad is coming HERE?” she asked. (Jabba will tell you that she respected my dad, but she was actually afraid of him. She’s never learned the difference between respect and fear, but I digress)
“Well, yeah” I replied.
“Because…that’s what families do for each other.” It seemed like such a stupid questions and that was the only response I could make.
Dad was always the voice of reason. Sometimes he would come across as something of a wet blanket, being so sensible all the time, but Dad was always in the calm eye at the center of every storm. No disrespect to my mom, but Dad was the glue that held everything together. Its not unlike The Old Man in “A Christmas Story” who ultimately gets the Red Ryder BB gun for Ralphie. He seems almost disconnected from the kids; only to swoop in and do something monumental. That was ny Dad.
Dad never had to tell us kids “no”. His version of no was more of a “I don’t think that’s a good idea”. I didn’t notice the until I was a teenager, and didn’t think about what it meant ’till I was older still. Eventually, I realized that I trusted and valued his opnion so much that he didn’t have to tell me “no”. His reservations about something I wanted to do were enough of a red light to keep me from doing it.
Going back even a few years earlier to my wedding day. I was in my parents’ basement getting ready for the big day…and wigging out. Dad was the one who came down and talked me off the proverbial ledge. He reminded me that Jabba and I had been already living together for years and that anything we do that day (i.e getting married) would not change our day-to-day lives one bit. When he said that, it seemed so obvious, but made so much sense that I said “ok” and went to the church.
Walking into his house, or more approrpiately his presence, was like walking into a hug. As his son, I knew he always had my back. With all due to respect to my uncle and his eulogy given by my cousin, whenevever I was talking to or with my Dad, I knew that things were not only going to be okay, but they already in fact were okay.
As a child, I feared my Dad. As young man, I respected him. Now as an adult and a father myself in the hour of his passing, I revere him. I’m not even sure if I even believe in God anymore, but I can assure you that when I look to the heavens at night and pray, I will be praying to him. “My father, who art in Heaven…”
I was a really damn lucky guy to grow up with a father like mine. If I am able to be HALF of the father to my kids that my dad was to me, then they’ll be be just fine.
I love you Dad. I want you to know what I’ve accomplished everything I set out to do on my “list” so far. I did it, and I never would have gotten through any of this without you. I will miss you forever and I look forward to seeing you again someday.
One of The Auteur’s close friends, who is now a neighbor of ours, got pregnant a few months before we did and just had her baby yesterday. She had a boy, as are we; and I have to say that I’m getting bit by the baby bug once again.
I want to meet our little boy. I want to see what he looks like and I want to discover his personality – how he takes after The Auteur and how he takes after me. The Auteur is showing. The Baby is looking like a real baby in his most recent ultrasound photos. I just want him out now.
I think we chose a name. Thursday night, we drove down to Columbus to see a WWE NXT house show. On our way home Friday, we decided on a name. Granted it was a name we were leaning toward already, but I think we made our final decision.
Today, I’ve been gearing up for another round with Jabba, which has had me searching for old computer files. While doing so, I came across some old photos of The Kid when he was a baby, which is making the baby brain thing even worse.
Oh yeah, and The Old Man’s first name is also going to be The Baby’s middle name. It only seemed right…
This is something that a fellow blogger whom I follow wrote. I thought it was especially relevant to me, given what’s going on – both with my relationship with The Kid and the recent passing of The Old Man.
I didn’t feel “the hole” with The Old Man; rather, I want to be sure that The Kid never feels it with me.
THE FOLLOWING POST WAS WRITTEN 1.14.15
The Old Man had another surgery yesterday. The cancer has spread. The tumor in his shoulder has gotten bigger. There were also tumors in his femurs, which he had replaced with titanium rods yesterday.
I learned more about bone cancer through my dog, Worf, than I ever hoped to need to know. Phred told me Sunday that if the Old Man didn’t get the surgery, there was a good chance that he could have broken both his femurs – had he tried to walk.
This is getting very personal – this cancer thing and me. This disease tried to take my mom from me. Now it’s going after my dad and it looks like it’s going to get the job done. But not without one hell of a fight from The Old Man…
I want the Old Man to come home again. I want him to meet my unborn child. I want to take him to one more Tiger game. I want The Kid to be able to see him again. He is too young to lose both grandfathers.
One More Day
When staring in the face if death, I think its normal to think of these things. I can only imagine what’s going through The Old man’s mind during all of this.
He has been in the hospital now for 22 days. Last night, my brother had him sign some paper work that explicitly expresses his wishes for medical treatment, should be become really sick. A couple weeks ago, The Auteur and I were asked to be witnesses when a patient across the hall had to fill out the same paperwork.
What goes around comes round, I guess.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”
– Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities
It’s times like this last week for which expressions like “an emotional roller coaster” were invented.
Sunday morning, after two weeks of wonder what was going on with her physically, I found out that The Auteur is pregnant.
I am going to be a father again!
She took a home pregnancy test last Sunday morning. The results came up quickly, so much so in fact that when I heard her say “wow, that was quick!” I immediately knew the results. It was two more days before we got her in to a doctor to get some blood work done. The day after that (Wednesday) she had her first ultra-sound. As of this writing, our baby is about the size of a grain of rice.
Initially, The Auteur was convinced it was a boy, now she doesn’t seem so sure. We’ve both said that we would like to have one of each together – so that we as a couple can have the whole parenting experience together. sure we The Kid and 1B, but we want to have our own children as a couple as well.
When she took the test last Sunday, we were both elated. the next 48 hours or so that followed, there were some questions and concerns for both of us. I know I personally felt a sense of relief when the Auteur went to have some blood work done; and even more so after her ultrasound. We’ve had some questions as to whether or not we would even be able to have children – which of course have now been answered in the best way possible. It’s relief. It’s excitement. it’s vindication. It’s the future. It’s all of these things…and so much more.
We’ve been talking a lot about the future lately: getting married, having kids, possibly moving out of state a little further down the road. We’ve had some questions as to when we should do what: get married first? try to start a family first? We’re not getting any younger and we both want both our blended family and a family of our own. I remember saying once to her that we almost need something to happen in order to tell us what order to proceed in. Whatever way one slices it, this is tremendous news. At this moment in my life, i can imagine no greater honors than having a child with The Auteur and being marrying her. We’ve obviously been working on one. Now it’s time to get serious about the other.
And on the flip side…
Tuesday morning, my father The Old Man – went to the hospital. He’s had a bad back for years and has been laid up in bed quite a bit over the last several weeks. He goes in Tuesday and we were told that he had 3 cracked vertebrae and a spot on one of his lungs. As of this writing, they still don’t know if it’s cancer despite several tests. we’re hoping to know more later in the week.
Right now, I just hope he’s home for Thanksgiving.
The thing is, his mother (my grandmother) went through something almost identical when she died. The doctors found that she had lung cancer and it had spread to her bones. Keep in mind, The Old Man has smoked since before I was born and he’s never been able to quit. Frankly, I’ve been waiting for news like this since I was old enough to establish a connection between smoking, lung cancer and my dad. Still, you’re never ready for a bombshell like this.
I haven’t told him about the baby yet. I wanted to wait until he was out of the hospital. Now I may tell him on Thanksgiving, regardless. The Auteur and I have talked a little bit about what we should do if he does have “The big C”. Should we get married sooner than planned? These are the kinds of things this type of news gets you thinking about.
I keep going back the early conversations we had when I first moved back to Michigan; about him wanting to see me have a plan to put my life back together; about him wanting to know that I at least had a plan. Right now, I just want him to see me happy. I want him to see that not only am I going to be okay, but that I’m going to succeed and prosper.
Once again, I have so much to be thankful for this year.
Wow! It has been way too long since I’ve last written!
A lot has been going on and I haven;t really allowed myself a chance to come up for air; and when I’ve had down-time, I’ve chosen to do nothing with it.
About 3 weeks ago, I flew The Kid up to Michigan to spend a week with me. Yes, I was entitled to a whole month with him but with me starting a new job recently, I didn’t think any more time off wold have been very realistic. It was some time well-spent between The Kid and I. He had a meltdown when he and I were visiting with the Auteur, and it became a turning point. It led to Jabba and I having probably the best, longest, most honest discussion since our separation.
We made plans to conduct Facetime discussions among the fours of us: Me, The Auteur, the Kid and Jabba. So far, we’ve done only one so I am skeptical about the prospect of doing more.
This past Tuesday I learned that the state has re-certified me to teach in Michigan! I knew it was coming, but it was still a great feeling. It has been a long time coming. Not just for the time that I’ve been back in Michigan, but even for the few years that I bounced around from job-to-job in South Carolina. I feel vindicated, but it’s going to seem pretty hollow if I don’t land a teaching job soon.
As for the present, this weekend is the 48 hour film festival. This year, The Auteur decided to head up her own team and asked me to help write. I was very flattered that she asked me to be a part of it and I think that the others writers and I came up with a pretty cool script, if I may say so myself. I’m dying to see how the story evolves through the creative process: Me and two other writers wrote. As director, the Auteur has he own take on how she reads the script and what she wants to see on the screen. In turn, her director of photography is the person who actually films the movie. Finally, there’s the actors themselves who are the physical manifestations of the characters we’ve put to the page. and i cannot forget the post-production crew, who takes the pieces we’ve all built and puts together a movie from them. It’s all very fascinating and all very new to me. No doubt I will have more to say about it in the days ahead.
Clearly this is a lot to be glossing over. I’m sure that I will be going into more detail in the entries that will follow…
The first time I ever heard of Mitch Albom, was when he was just a sportswriter for the Detroit Free Press. Although I think he has tried to branch out a bit much over couple decades, I absolutely loved Tuesdays with Morrie. In fact, it’s the first novel that I taught as a student teacher.
I think he raises some great points in this piece. The furthering of certain agendas – including but not limited to those of lesbian couples and single mothers – has not only pushed their respective agendas, but also diminished the role of men and fathers in our society as well. I don’t think it was through any malice; it’s just the way the cultural pendulum shifts after the status quo in one particular extreme for do many years.