I feel like this new role is going to fit me like a glove, and everyone seems to be in agreement based on their observations of my interactions with children and teens. I can picture myself as Phil from Modern Family, or Chip from Fixer Upper, having an absolute blast with my kiddos, being their best friend and hero, and driving my wife crazy in the most adorable and memorable ways (she’ll roll her eyes at us and our exploits, but she’ll fall more deeply in love with me at the same time!)
All of this said, I am a bit nervous about a couple of things. I know me better than anyone else, and I slowly shake my head in concern sometimes at some of my personal idiosyncrasies – especially when I consider them in the light of all that a baby will bring into my world. I actually like these things about me, but I fear they are incompatible with this new season of my life. Because it will no longer my world – it will be my baby’s world.
First, I like things clean.
I really do. When I think about cleanliness, I close my eyes, breathe in the sweet air around me, smile contentedly, and let out a long, peaceful exhale. Cleanliness is a freshly washed white t-shirt sun drying on a clothesline in the middle of a breezy meadow. It’s soothing. It’s comforting. It’s downright lovely. My home is like this. While sometimes I have stuff laying around that I need to put away, you honestly could eat off any surface in my home pretty much at any time. Carpets, tile, countertops, tables, desks in my house – they are all clean. I sweep a lot, mop a lot, vacuum a lot (well, Rachel does, thank you love!), and go through antibacterial surface wipes like I’m a hypochondriac (thank you Amazon!) (I am not a hypochondriac). I just don’t like messes. In particular, I don’t like stickiness.
The problem is that babies are sticky. And they are going to make everything else sticky. My table and chairs and floors and bed and everything within reach is going to now be sticky. And after I wipe them down, they will get sticky again – probably within minutes. I am starting to tense up just picturing this. Whoa, I just felt a definite physiological reaction. I clearly have issues. Okay, let’s move on, quickly.
Second, I like things quiet.
Actually, I love quiet. Oh, I love it so much. Just thinking about quietness right now makes me wish it was tangible so I could give it a big ol’ hug. There is nothing better. It allows me to think through my problems and emotions, constantly talk with and listen to God (my best friend), and come up with neat new ideas (and remember things I want to remember). I seriously don’t know how people do life well with so much noise and distraction and stimuli around them. Quietness is such a beautiful thing.
The problem is that babies are not quiet. Often they are the opposite of quiet. That is just reality.
And so it feels like I am losing something major in my life. Cleanliness and quietness. But yes, I know I am gaining something so much more major. I mourned the loss of solitude when I married the love of my life, but I got used to having someone else around. And now I miss Rachel tons when we are apart and I like doing life with her. Actually, I love doing life with her. I would gladly trade solitude to be with her.
But to be honest, that was kind of a leap of faith for me. I didn’t know for sure how I would be able to handle it. I just believed and trusted that God brought us together for His eternal purposes and our collective joy, and would take care of the details. And He totally did, and my struggle was very short.
I know I am called to be a father, and that He is actively involved in preparing me for this. I know He’s working on my heart and thought processes even as I write this, helping me to prepare, and helping me to get over myself. And though I am currently mourning the forthcoming loss of cleanliness and quietness in my world, I have to believe that He is going to help me overcome any struggles I face. And just like with marriage, parenthood is going to be so great, and so very worth anything I think I am losing or giving up.
I hope this doesn’t sound ridiculous and selfish to you. I do realize that the problem isn’t that babies are not clean and not quiet. They are babies, and that’s how babies are. The problem is me. But I need grace, from myself and from others. You may think this is small potatoes and that I am whining about the stupidest of things, but perhaps you also have small potatoes in your life that are magnified because of your personality and habits. Maybe you also make molehills into mountains, in at least some area of your life. Maybe we all do.
We’re about to have a baby. God’s got me, and I’ve got this, and all will be well. He doesn’t call the equipped, but He equips the called.
This is me, being equipped.
Eight months in, and one month to go.