On July 12, my son Owen came into the world, somewhat urgently and with more medical questions than we had hoped, but beautifully and perfectly in his own way. Five weeks later, baby and mother are all happy and healthy. We are all settling into this new life of ours.
He is beautiful. I love watching him as he comes to understand himself and the world around him – just a little bit more every day. I love being a father. Immediately, I feel more purposeful and carry a sense of pride about this incredible new being I’ve helped create.
As the weeks go by, slowly but surely, my new normal is coming into focus. I am beginning to step back into my routines, creating new ones, letting go of others. I am back at work. I am still trying to spread the good news. I am beginning to get back into running.
But I’ve noticed it has taken me a long-time to get back into my writing routine. I think this is probably mostly due to sheer exhaustion and a (hopefully) temporary inability to string multiple coherent thoughts together. Letting myself not go there has felt like a much-needed gift to myself at a time when I’ve been drained and stretched thin.
But I’ve noticed too, I feel a nagging pressure to write something profound about this new phase of my life, to have come to some grand new discovery about myself, to somehow demonstrate how changed I am and to capture the wonder of parenthood in writing.
The truth is this process has been disorienting. I don’t know what to write about it or how. Most of what I think and feel about parenthood so far would feel more fitting for a Hallmark card than this blog. Any profound changes in me, if they exist, have not yet coalesced into anything that I could articulate.
But more importantly, I’ve found that, beyond all these pressures I put on myself to change or to appear to have changed (why does my ego always insist on this?), the question I’m honestly more interested in is: What am I unwilling to leave behind? What must I keep in my life? Which of my routines feel essential to me being truly me?
How can I use my experience as a father not to lose my sense of self – as I’ve always feared would happen – but to become more myself than ever?