I recently read the DAD section of “What to expect when you are expecting.” Why? Well… Lorraine is pregnant.
There are a lot of new and somewhat scary topics in the book, really stressing the responsibility that is upon me. But I found that it does not make me nervous. Actually, I have surprised myself by how calm I am in general about having a child.
I believe that my calmness is a product of the experiences I have had through my involvement in my younger siblings’ lives, who are 6.5 and 13 years younger than me.
Let me give you some examples:
About 5 years ago my parents were out of town and left me in charge of my sister. During that time she experienced her first menstrual cycle, which I was not expecting. I knew that it was important for me to be able to help her understand what was going on and feel comfortable with the changes in her body. So…we watched some educational videos, talked a bunch, and bought the appropriate supplies. I was nervous but stumbled through the episode successfully. That experience, among others, has helped me develop the confidence that I will be able to handle situations that come up as a father.
When my brother was applying to colleges, I spearheaded the process of identifying which schools would be the best for him to attend. I created a spreadsheet with different items that were important to him, and then we visited the top two choices. We settled on Boston University. BU ended up not being a good fit for my brother and he returned home after a year. For a while, I felt guilty about not being able to help him make the right selection initially. I was hesitant in helping him make other decisions for fear of repeatedly pointing him in the wrong direction. But eventually I realized that it is okay to make mistakes (both him and I) as long as you are trying to make the best decision at the time, and am now fully open to helping him make decisions in his life. That experience helped me embrace involvement regardless of the outcome.
Back to being a dad:
I am definitely going to be involved in my child’s life. I am going to stumble and make mistakes, but you better believe that I am going to be trying my best and moving forward with confidence. I am lucky to have had such rich interactions with my siblings that have helped me develop the comfort in taking on the task of raising a child.
Lorraine and I are super excited to have Baby Shamah join us in June.