Up until yesterday I was a bit nervous about becoming a dad, but not any more. Now I can report that things are different. That edge of fear and that nervous chill in the back of my mind have changed. Not gone exactly, just that they’ve merged like some horrible science experiment and morphed into full blown TERROR. I still have a few weeks left before I officially become a father (3 weeks if the baby keeps on schedule). But I feel a bit like I’m strapped in a space shuttle while NASA Command runs through the final pre-launch countdown. Only I suddenly realize I missed all the classes that taught me how to be an astronaut.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled to start this next stage of my life. I’ve always wanted a family. But the anticipation isn’t like how you might feel in the days leading up to, say, the new Harry Potter movie. Rather, it’s more like the thrill of anticipation you’d get in the moments before you go sky diving for the first time, you know, as you wonder if the chute was packed properly.
I honestly didn’t expect to feel so nervous. And it’s not the actual caring for the child that worries me. I mean, I wouldn’t call myself a complete novice in the children department. I’ve changed hundreds of diapers, fed dozens of babies, and babysat more nieces and nephews than I knew I had. And it’s not like they’ve always been little lovelies to dear old Uncle Steve, oh no. In fact, it would be a fair statement if I said my nieces and nephews are monsters forged from pure evil. Every last one of them (FYI: they range in age from a few months to seventeen and they are a ruthless mob 26 strong!). To this day I don’t go near the youngest and weakest among them without a pocket full of crucifixes and four litre jug of holy water.
When I really think about it, I’m reasonably certain that my unease at being a dad comes from the weight of influence I’m about to have over a new life. I am going to have to be a role model and I don’t think I’ve ever been that before.
Is that something you can fake?
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to dismantle the crib for the twentieth time because I suddenly had a thought that I might have used size “C” bolts where I should have used size “D” bolts. The last time I took it apart it was because I found an extra screw and three extra washers, little did I know those pieces were just extras, put there to mess with new parents stressing about crib construction.
Darn you IKEA! You and your Swedish practical jokes.