Editor’s Note: This is an old post but it happens to be my favorite. It doesn’t seem to get viewed very often so I thought I would it post it again for those who may have missed it the first time. Thanks for reading.
I was never in a hurry to become a father. I put it off as long as I possibly could and since I have no brothers it was totally up to me to carry on the family name by producing at least one son. My wife and I had five blissfully childless years before she “talked” me into it. I really enjoyed the making a baby part but no one ever told me anything about the consequences of having a baby. Make no mistake about it, fatherhood starts at the moment of conception. From then on your life as an individual is effectively over. Impending fatherhood is just as complicated as the real thing and you better be ready for it. If you want to measure up to the standard set by Cliff Huxtable and Ward Cleaver you will be on call 24/7 until that baby arrives.
The low point for me was the night my wife woke me from a dead sleep and informed me that I had to go to the store right then. Right then was approximately 4 AM. My brain does not recognize 4 AM as an official time of day to do anything, much less go shopping. It wasn’t until I got the shopping list that I bottomed out as a father. She only wanted one thing, Preparation H. Let that sink in for a minute. I was being asked to get out of bed, get dressed, drive 5 miles to the nearest store that was open at 4 AM and purchase a medicine that I wouldn’t be caught dead with in public, at any other time in my life. This was truly above and beyond the call of duty. Of course pregnant women know no limits when it comes to their needs. No man will ever win this argument. I finally relented when I realized that my chances of even seeing another human being at 4 AM were slim. I would encounter a clerk somewhere but if you’re working at 4 AM you’ve probably seen it all. I wearily rose from the warmth of my bed while my wife encouraged me with “Hurry up, I need this!” I drove to the only store that was open, which was a convenience store. Much to my surprise there is life at 4 AM. I stood in line with what can only be described as the dregs of society. Everybody else was buying fun stuff like beer and munchies. You cannot call yourself a father until you have stood in line at 4 AM with a tube of Preparation H and have to deal with the stares from drunks and potheads. They just snickered when I tried to explain that it was only for my pregnant wife. I returned home contemplating the train wreck that my life had just become only to be greeted with “Well it’s about time!” Did I mention that pregnant women lack empathy?
Then the baby came two months later and Preparation H wasn’t even a blip on my radar. We had done all the childbirth classes together and I feigned interest in this process just to please her. When the day came to demonstrate my well honed skills, I had none. Why we ever went away from dads in the waiting room smoking cigars I will never know. I was not about to watch the home version of Alien be played out in vivid color right before my eyes. The idiot who came up with that idea needs to be shot. I sat as far away from the action as I could and still be called a participant. I held her hand as she tried to rip off my arm. I even asked her to share her medication with me. That request was met with the scariest look I have ever seen. A woman in labor has no boundaries whatsoever. Whatever you do is wrong so don’t bother trying to be nice, just shut up and take it. After several hours of becoming a newborn father I was rewarded with a son. The sense of relief I felt when I realized that I would never have to do this again was overwhelming. I was absolutely sure that my wife would be scarred by this experience to the point that my next visit to the doctor would be for a vasectomy. Unfortunately, women are amazingly resilient when it comes to pain. I guess as long as they get to inflict it on someone else they can deal with any amount of it themselves. Four years later we were right back here again and this time we had a girl.
Our family was complete at this point and we stopped having children. I thought the worst was over. I will never make that assumption again as long as I live. I’m saving my next blog for the parenting part. I can tell you this, raising children is about like herding cats.
©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.