Well, I'm back. It has been about a month since I last graced a cover of section E here in the zone. I know I know, everyone throughout the Mahoning Valley has been asking the same question "what happened to that bald guy?" or "my life seems less meaningful since he went away."
OK, the last statement wasn't so much a question, but I think it makes a good point.
Since I last wrote, my life has changed in dramatic fashion. I am happy to announce that on Feb. 24, my son was born as perfect as a baby boy can be. My great fear at the beginning of pregnancy was ... well ... everything. I was worried about his health and whether everything was going to come out right. I suppose this is a common worry for soon-to-be parents, but as an obsessive-compulsive pessimist I think I may have worried a tad too much.
This first month has gone by faster than I could have ever imagined. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was preparing my wife and myself for the coming of our baby. I will say that there is nothing more incredible than watching a natural childbirth. I will keep what I saw to myself, but there is nothing more amazingly disgusting than that. I watched my wife display such strength that I now realize that no matter what, she could take me. And when I saw my son for the first time I understood that my life was no longer that, it belongs to him.
What really made me feel that I was going to be all right was when the baby was born. The doctor introduced him to my wife and I, and then proceeded to move the baby back and forth in a sort of mock dance. It was such a special moment that I had no other option but to laugh and ruin it. Then the doctor asked me to cut his cord, which I had been dead set against. He insisted and then told me that it was like cutting licorice, to which I replied, "who cuts licorice?"
Then it was done. He was in the world, and no matter who else is in our lives, my wife and I are responsible for this young life. He looks up in my eyes and there is a trust behind them that I don't share with anyone, but to him we are his entire world.
I am not a cliche-loving individual, so when I am asked what it's like to be a father, I struggle to find the right thing to say. But those things are true. He has given me a purpose that I never could have believed until now.
That is the thought that leads me to another understanding. My father was right, and I can finally say that I think I get it. He used to talk about how he could hold me in one hand and that no matter how big or how old I got, he would always have that. Now, during our favorite bonding time of the day - 3 a.m. - I look down at my son and find myself in awe that this little baby will someday become a man and it is my job now to make sure that he becomes the best man he can be.
I recently spoke with a good friend of mine who is also expecting his first child and we talked at length about how our sons would become as close as we were when we were young. He said something that really stuck with me. "No, Josh, they are going to grow up and be better versions of us," he said.
Maybe that is the point of all of this. We live our lives and make mistakes, and then we are given the gift of new life, and through that we are expected to make sure they don't make the same stupid mistakes. In doing so, we are working our way toward a better generation of men and women who live their lives to make the world a better place.
Then again, I may be way off.
Josh is looking for ideas for a name for this little column. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.