Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fatherhood 2.0

I never thought I'd ever be a dad. Children were a mystery to me. I kept them at arms length, even those cousins who might have been dear. I had no sense of their language. They were utterly foreign, and utterly incomprehensible because of their alienness. When Fox and I decided to have a child after four years of marriage, I was terrified. How could I be a dad? I'd never changed a diaper, never held a bottle, and had not the merest notion on how to communicate with a child. Then Thorn was born in the spring of 2009 and I was a dad. No schoolroom, no textbook, no certificate. Just me, a baby, and things that had to be done. I learned to change a diaper. And then I learned to change one quickly. I learned to hold a bottle, to burp an infant, and to settle one when he cries. I learned that I loved children, and that I could communicate with them, could speak to them, and could understand what they wanted to say to me. My son gave me that. He gave me fatherhood, and I am better because of it. Now, I am home. Thorn sleeps. I have tucked him in...twice. I have kissed his lips, his nose, his eyes, and his forehead just below the curls. Kit sleeps, too. My littlest son. My baby boy. He sleeps on my lap as I type this. I am a father for the second time, and I have come to understand at last how much fatherhood has given me. I do not think it has made me wiser, though I hope it will. It has given me more patience. It has given me more stability. Fatherhood has given me eyes to childhood, and to a whole language that I thought would always be barred to my understanding. Thorn's curiosity in the smallest details. Kit's little face when he frowns at a too-bright light. These things bring enlightenment. These things bring contentment. I don't know how my work will go, or what tomorrow will bring, but I do not that tonight I am a father, and that feels very, very good to me.

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