There’s nothing romantic about having a baby. I know because my wife and I just had one on Christmas Day, 1:34pm. With the baby has come sleepless nights, wondering why he is crying, getting frustrated at my wife, she getting frustrated at me, us getting frustrated at the baby, and baby getting frustrated at us. We worry about his weight loss, his red spots, and all the people who want to hold him. During labor, I had to keep myself from crying just seeing the excruciating pain that my wife was going through–and then having to wait an hour just to get some attention from the anesthesist. There is nothing romantic about having a baby.
But it does not mean that it is not beautiful.
I left for a measly 45 minutes to go run an errand for my wife, and all I could do was think about my little boy. During one of our frustrating all-nighters, he fell asleep in my arms, curled up into a little ball–and all I could think about was how cute he was. Sometimes when he is curled up, I can hold him in the palm of my hand. What am I saying…all this still sounds romantic.
I love my baby to death. But when I am unable to calm his red-faced screams in the middle of the night, I just want to give up. I want to spend all my time just staring at him and enjoying him staring back at me. But my ‘paternity leave’ ends this Sunday–and I am expecting to be busier than I ever have, even without the baby.
My baby has changed me already. I can now look and smell poop without hurling. I can jump out of bed without having to snooze. I can feel refreshed after sleeping a solid hour. I can talk in a high-pitched voice without giving a damn as to what others think.
What am I getting at here…
I don’t have a sense that “all will be well.” With a newborn, I feel as if it is a day-by-day thing. One day, my wife and I felt like we’d conquered Mount Everest. But the very next day, we felt only the bitterness of Chinese medicinal tea. It is a struggle. Sometimes I remember to pray.
One of the most puzzling movie lines I’ve ever come across is from Chariots of Fire, where the runner explains, “When I run, I feel the pleasure of God.” When I say that having a baby isn’t romantic but beautiful, I think I am trying to explain what the runner felt. There is a certain grace that warms me when I own up to my fatherhood and love and care for my son. When I rock my Caleb to sleep, I feel the pleasure of God.