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 haven’t written much lately. Frankly, I haven’t had a lot to say. But the other day, I was in a weird funk; something I’ve written about before but has weighed heavily on my mind:
I turned 41 about a-week-and-a-half ago. I lost The Old Man two-and-a-half-months ago. Needless to say, it has me thinking about my own mortality. A LOT lately.
I am The Human Bomb.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that I am the World War II era comic book character, or his modern day successor. But like Captain Picard says in “Star Trek: Generations” I’ve come to realize that I most likely have fewer days ahead of me than I have behind me. And that sucks.
The Old Man was 67 when he died. That means if I live no longer than he did, I have about 26 years left on this Earth. That scares the hell out of me.
I’m not dying or anything. Hell, I’m not even sick. I feel better than I have in a long time. Aside from the time I was working out a couple years ago, I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt in my life. The truth is, I feel like I’m just getting started. Divorce is the great reset in 21st century American society and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. i want A LOT more than 26 more years with The Auteur and the family that we’re building together. There’s just so much I still want to do in this world.
I’m reluctant to use the expression “mid-life crisis”. I’m not about to get a sports car. I’m sure as Hell not about to leave my family. But maybe it’s time I start on my Bucket List and crossing things off of it.
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…
I’ve been thinking a lot about this stuff lately. This felt kind of timely, with the new year approaching…
Coming to the hospital, it hit me – hard.
I’m going to lose my father. Probably sooner rather than later.
It’s been all but confirmed: he has cancer in his liver, his lung, his pancreas and on his bones. I’m assuming we’ll get an official confirmation in about 8 1/2 hours when we meet with his doctors.
I’m not ready to lose him, but I can’t stand seeing him in this kind of pain. The drugs he’s on are making him speak in non-sense; see things that aren’t there. Now, he’s talking about things from when he was a kid. If I didn’t know better, I would suspect that it had spread to his brain; or that maybe he has Alzheimer’s.
The son becomes that father and the father becomes the son.
In the last two weeks, I have watched him transform in sickly, old man. It’s a pretty surreal transformation to witness when there’s still the spirit of a five-year-old within you who is convinced that your Dad is the strongest person in the world.
I’m spending the night in the hospital room with him. The overnight nurse suggested that someone stay – partially because of the way the drugs affect him; and partially because of his overall condition. As eerie as this vigil feels, I have the feeling I may be very glad I agreed to stay with him tonight.
“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.
Last Friday, I picked up my new-to-me-car. It’s a 2004 Ford Taurus; perhaps not my first choice (and definitely not my lasr choice either) but beggars cannot be choosers. Besides, I’ve never really been much of a car guy. The most important thing s that I have a car again.
Sometimes you forget just how essential an automobile has become in our society. It’s more than just a status symbol. In the world we live in today, it is almost essential. Having gone nearly two years without owning a car, this is a fact that has not escaped me. Owning a car again is going to make a lot easier for The Auteur, 1B and myself: We’ll be able to work differing schedules, we can take 1B to and from school and other extracurricular activities. We’ll be able to split everyday errands between us. The list goes on and on…
I’m so grateful to my parents, without whom getting this car simply would not have been possible. The car has a few miles on it, but it is in remarkably good shape. I see myself keeping better care of this car that I have for any other vehicle I have ever owned. I feel like I simply am not going to take this car for granted. Like my teaching certificate, it’s an essential that I needed to achieve the goals I have set out for myself in this life.
In other news, The Kid started second grade on Tuesday. So far, he seems to enjoy it. I need to get in touch with his teacher so that we can communicate throughout the school year. He also took up karate a few weeks ago. He hasn’t said much about it but seems to be enjoying it too.
Today I substitute taught at a juvenile correctional facility.
I had heard about the facility a while ago, and i was tempted to fill-in there but it wasn’t until I talked to some teachers at another local school that I really thought i’d give it a try.
Like a lot of people, I was nervous to go there. I was intimidated by the fact that the kids there are…incarcerated. But the more I heard about it, the more intrigued I was: small class sizes, no possibility of snow days, kids whose very freedom depends on their cooperation with authority. From what I could see, these weren’t bad kids. they are kids who did some really dumb, or even bad things; but they themselves did not seem like bad people.
I played basketball with the boys’ PE class. It was probably the one time of the day that they are allowed outside and the closest thing they currently have to a sense of freedom. I’ve never been much of a basketball player. I’ve always lacked the coordination for the sport; but I wanted to connect with the kids. I actually scored 8 points.
The entire day was a very…humbling experience. It really helped me put a lot of things into perspective. Concerns and stressors that I’ve had lately suddenly didn’t quite so important. The kids with whom i worked were pretty much stripped down to the basics – literally. These are young people who have lost their freedom. The experience mad me not only appreciate the small things; but it also made me realize that things currently can and will work out .
Naturally, seeing these young people there naturally got me thinking about The Kid and hoping that he stays out of trouble. Given the chance, I would most certainly work at this facility again.
A valuable lesson in checking your e-mail on a timely basis:
This past Sunday I opened an e-mail from Jabba explaining that her dad had died that Friday night.
It seemed both crazy and not at all unexpected. He’s had health issues for some time. I also know that the last few times I asked Jabba how he was doing, her response was “not good” though she never really elaborated. I suppose I should have expected such curt responses from her. After all, we are divorced; but I was always legitimately concerned with her father’s welfare. I wonder if I’ll ever get used to the fact that I am now at the age where my parent’s generation – The Baby Boomers – are slowly beginning to die off and we, the children of the Baby Boomers – Generation X if you will – are inheriting the Earth.
Jabba’s Dad was always very good to me; regardless if how bizarre her mother got at times. Even after Jabba and I split up he was very friendly with me when I was in SC dropping The Kid off at their house. During my previous life, I even got to the point where I began to address her parents as Mom & Dad; so it was a little weird when Jabba and I initially split up and I began to call him by his first name.
As I always tend to do when someone I know dies, Jabba’s Dad’s death has me thinking of mortality: mine, my parents, The Auteur, even our kids. Life is too short and I often feel like I’ve been just spinning my tires. I’m 40 years old and what do I really have to show for myself? I know, it often takes years for people to rebuild their lives following a divorce; but for me it feels like the same old problems in my life. Something, a lot of things, need to change.
I really worry about how The Kid is taking all of this. He’s holding up pretty well, from everything I’ve seen and heard. This is probably the first death of a real close loved one he’s dealt with. Jabba’s dad lived with them for almost two years after her and I split. That’s got to affect him more than we realize. Jabba’s mother died a few years ago, but he was way too young to remember that. The sights and sensations of a funeral may stay with him for a long time. I wish I had the means to be there for him tomorrow. Even if I could, I’m not sure how appropriate it would be for me to be there.
The funeral is tomorrow, so Jabba and The Kid are in town as Jabba’s dad is being buried in his hometown here in Michigan. The Kid and I got together for a few hours yesterday. Though the reasoning behind The Kid’s visit made me sad, I was so happy to see him yesterday. We played at an indoor playground called The Treehouse. It was the kind of pure unadulterated fun that I desperately needed right now. I’m especially happy to say that he’s still small enough that I can life him up and put him on my shoulders. I know that sounds corny, but I want him to remain small for as long as possible. I already miss far too much of his everyday life for my taste. Saying goodbye to him was, of course, sad. I hated to see him go. I know he hated saying goodbye to me too.
I miss him more than I realized. I miss doing everyday stuff with him: playing, hearing about his school day, meeting his friends. I have to find a way to visit with him this summer. I’m not sure where we’ll stay or for how long, or how I’m going to fund such a venture, but I have to find a way to make it happen. The truth is, I’m not involved enough in his life. I have to change that. I have to force that change if necessary.
There’s a sign in the classroom that I’m subbing in today that reads “Conflict Facilitates Change”. That’s some food for thought today. We’re watching a clip from “America: The Story of Us” covering the start of the Great Depression. The overriding theme of this segment is the American “Can Do” attitude and our ability to persevere through adversity; again, more food for thought.
Maybe Shirley Manson said it best when she sang “the trick is to keep breathing.”