First Month Reflections
Well, today our little Lydia Grace is one month old. My wife and I were reflecting (in a brief hour of silence) on what has turned out to be the toughest month of our lives. Now I say that with a certain degree of perspective--we are infinitely blessed in having a healthy baby. My heart goes out to parents of children who are ill or disabled or are otherwise more of a challenge (including multiples...I can't imagine how you do it!).
When you are expecting a child, you get no end of comments about how it will change your life in ways that you can't understand. They talk about the lack of sleep, the colic, the isolation, the confusion with a tone that I used to find condescending. The implication was that "You can't understand until you're there...." As a fairly eggheaded cerebral type I took some umbrage at that attitude. In my naiveté I thought, "I'm an intelligent and sensitive person. Of course I can imagine the difficulty that such a situation would cause...."
Now I know better.
This is the most intense work I've ever had to do in my life. I was saying to my wife it's like starting a brand new job--only it's 24 hours a day, you don't get any training (let alone coffee breaks or holidays), and what is riding on your performance is only the most important outcome ever, the health and security of your child.
I have learned so much about myself, my wife, my child and life in this brief month. I feel so much less significant some ways. My sense of myself as a strong, together person is being replaced by a more accurate image of myself as a grown up child. In some ways I wonder how I could be responsible for this little life when I feel that my own is so seemingly fragile and hastily constructed. I feel a sense of humility like I have never known. And I feel a sense of purpose that is urgent and strong. I suddenly have a reason to be the person that I always wanted to be and at times have had the illusion that I was.
Our trials and tribulations have been common, I think. No emergencies or disasters. Feeding, changing, trying to figure out her patterns and rhythms. We've recently been dealing with the uncontrollable crying of colic, which is the most difficult. The other night I held Lydia as she cried until she was hoarse and red in the face. All I could do was hold her and share her pain. All the books say that they don't know the cause of colic--they can't find any clear physical cause. I'm beginning to think it's existential--she is beginning to deal with being human and all that it entails. When she was crying I felt that she was crying with my voice and so we sat there, sharing our pain but doing it together. Which is part of being truly human....
I am so happy to be a father. I love my daughter. I adore my wife. I have never been happier. I gladly accept this challenge and intend to all I can to be the strongest person I can be--for my family.
© 2005 - 2012 Hal Levy and the above captioned author.