I am not sure where the time has gone this Fall but I feel like I have barely had time to sit down and think. I now have a five year old child who is in school! The past five years have been a whirlwind of changes, adjustments and lessons learned. There are times when I am not sure how we made it this far. And there are times that I can’t imagine any other outcome.
I have grown a lot in the last five years. I have had to. It would have been catastrophic had I refused to change or acknowledge the changes around me. If I could go back in time to those first few months with my newborn son I would give myself some advice. I would tell myself;
It Gets Better– ‘Listen I know you were not expecting to be a dad this quickly. I know all you can think about right now is how difficult it will be to finish school, and that you never really got a chance to just learn to be a married couple. Those feelings are fair, and real and true, but there is nothing you can do about them other than talk them through with people. Talk them through with people. Don’t just hold on to them because you feel like they make you a bad person, tell someone. Let yourself get past this so you can enjoy what is coming up. It is going to get so much better.’
It Gets Worse- ‘I am not going to lie to you this is going to be hard. You will feel a sense of tiredness and stress like you have never known. Coffee won’t cut it, and naps will just put you behind causing more stress. The times where you really just need him to sleep he won’t. Hiding at your office or at school might make you feel better for a bit, but it will drain Meghan more and you will pay for that when you get home. You won’t believe me now but eventually you will adjust and things will go much smoother. It will just take some time, and some tears to get there.’
He Will Become Like You– ‘You know that feeling you had when you first held him. A surreal feeling of holding yourself. It was more right than you realize. This little boy is some strange combination of sponge and mirror. He is listening to you and watching you. He hears the things you say, and the things you don’t say. He hears the tone you use. He sees what you do, and what you do not do. He’ll notice the shows you like, and the things that make you laugh. He will discover your buttons in a way that you didn’t even know. And one day he will start to say the things he heard you say. He will use the tones that you spoke in. He will start to act the way you do. He will pick up hobbies and interests that mirror your own. For better or worse you are one of his primary models of adulthood. And he will follow you.’
Actually You’re Cranky– ‘I know you honestly believe that the whole world is currently conspiring against you. No one can drive right. No drive through moves fast enough. Everyone has become demanding. Everyone has become loud. Everyone has decided to laugh as annoyingly as possible. Everyone has suddenly decided to constantly say stupid things. On and on I could go. The truth is the world has not gotten slower, dumber, or more annoying. You are just really cranky. Find a few minutes, centre yourself, have a coffee, and calm the frick down.’
You’re Going To Be Good At This- ‘You’re not going to win any awards. No one is going to give you a standing ovation. But you are going to get the hang of being around babies and toddlers. You are going to help this little boy become a smart, funny, and happy kid. I mean let’s not get ahead of ourselves. 5 is not the end of the journey. You’ve barely scratched school. In the near future we will have to deal with bullies, broken hearts, sex, the internet, and a whole list of other things. But you will manage to put down a good framework to work from. You feel like you are going too drowned but you won’t, you are going to learn to swim.’
Christopher is the pastor at Sackville Baptist Church. He is the father for three and the husband of one. He is a self professed geek and gamer. Read more about family, faith, and geekery at http://ModernManOfTheCloth.com