Sunday, October 30, 2011

Everything She Knows, I Taught Her

I asked Jeremy to write a guest post on how he feels about becoming a dad. I realize now how hard it must be to sit down and consolidate all your excitement and fear into one blog post, but in Jeremy's eloquent fashion, he did. So enjoy! (The title of the post is from a song by Loudon Wainwright called "Daughter".)

Jeremy's Thoughts on Becoming a Dad

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to become a dad.  These thoughts range from overwhelming joy and pride to a slightly-less-than-panicky anxiety.  And this may seem strange, but I think it's mostly about finally growing up.  Not that I have some weird Peter Pan complex, but becoming an adult - like a real-life, bona fide adult - has been on my list of things to avoid for a long time now.  In my mind I'm still in my early 20's.

Quinn, scheduled to arrive in just eight short days, is changing all of that.  Along with all the normal cuteness, sweetness, sugar, spice, and everything else nice, she's marshaling in a new era of responsibility.  Whether it's my morning routine of loud music and coffee on the way to work or my less-than-enviable eating habits, she is forcing me to re-examine how I do things.  And I'm all the happier for it.

What she doesn't know (and won't realize for a while), is that her birth is the best thing to happen to Molly Ann and me (at this point, being married goes without saying).  Quinn signifies not only an expression of our commitment to each other as a couple, but also our desire to put the best of ourselves into this brand new person.  I'm sure that most parents would agree that children give us a hopeful outlook on the future.

My hope for Quinn is that we can set her up to do better than we have, but with a profound respect for where she's come from and an eye toward what she can be.

Hers should be a world in which a loving, healthy, and unbroken family is the norm.  I don't fault our parents for making decisions as they did, but there's no doubt that growing up in a broken home was a setback.  Quinn will begin her life with a promise that being together is top priority.  When she's old enough to understand the concept of family, I want her to realize that she has a great baseline from which she can start.  And I promise to show her every day how a man is supposed to love and treat a woman.

Hers should be a world in which financial limitations are the exception and not the rule.  Again, I can't blame our parents for the way things were, but I'd be lying if I said they were always easy.  I have clear memories of doing what we could to get the bills paid each month, Christmas layaway, and parents working multiple jobs.  And I'm not promising that we'll always have what it takes to give her everything she wants, but just as I have learned in my adult years to understand and respect the importance of financial responsibility, I vow to teach Quinn how to live well without digging herself into a financial hole.

Hers should (and will) be a world in which dogs are friends.  This may not be at the top of the list for most expectant parents, but a family dog can be such a powerful addition to your life.  I can't tell you how fun it has been to have Lexi there with me for almost 13 years now.  She has been my friend, my confidant, and my therapist through some bad times, some good times, and some great times.  Ella, despite her apparent need for mischief and attention, has only added to that.  I hope that Quinn will learn early on how important these companions can be, and that she will learn to care for and nurture a creature that depends entirely upon her for its well-being.

So as I take this further step into adulthood, I'm thrilled that I get to work through these things with a sweet, beautiful daughter.  As I mark the end of my younger days, I also happily celebrate the arrival of hers.  Sleeplessness, crying fits, dirty diapers... none of this frightens me.  For me, it's all part of the larger parenthood package, and I promise to do whatever it takes to make this little girl happy.

In writing this post, I've been trying to think of a way to summarize how I feel as we get closer to November 8.  Here's what I've come up with:

One day Baby Q will become Girl Q who will be become Young Lady Q, and she's going to want to know what was going through our heads and hearts during this time.  For you, Quinn, let me say this... I'm already in love and can't wait to meet you.

4 comments:

Erica

I just love this! I am so happy for you both! I know Quinn will bring unimaginable joy to both your lives, and I cannot wait to see the wonderful gifts God has in store for you all. I love you sweet cousins, and I am so excited for you. Love, Erica

Jill

Love this Jeremy!! So neat to hear the dad's perspective! Quinn is very blessed to have such loving parents...you two will be wonderful!! I can't wait to meet Quinn!! Love you both! ~jill

David House

Great post, Jeremy. You are absolutely ready to be a great Dad -- you get the point and Quinn is lucky to have you!

The Houses

Great blog! Very sweet, Jeremy. By the way, did Quinn's due date get moved up from 11/11? She could be here any day now!! So excited for you two!