To the boy who thought he was a man before his kids were born;
Man, I bet you’re terrified.
You wouldn’t have been ready for this, five years ago.
You don’t have to admit it. It’s ok.
You’ll do well.
For a while there, you lived like there was no tomorrow, throwing your body into the fray like you had a replacement ready and waiting.
*For a few decades, even.
No replacing you though; just parts, bits and pieces, a ligament here, there.
Irreplaceable, you. Except for this and that and those bits and these….
You’re slower than you were and life has calmed you down. You wouldn’t be ready for this otherwise.
Can’t replace brain cells. Which ones? All of them.
Fatherhood changes you.
You’ve brought into this world a piece of you and you’re responsible to see this through.
Not without help.
As terrified as I was, as concerned as I may be at moments for their future, any concern and any fear is greatly overcome by the simple joy that accompanies seeing either daughter smile when they see me or from counting the small milestones, like both sleeping through the night, rolling over, holding their own bottle, murmuring constant incoherent babble.
I also babble incoherently at times. Don’t tell anyone.
These milestones help us as much as they help them; some take a small load off a surprising larger but manageable plate; some are a step towards something greater, the days ahead where you see your child grow ever more and more.
Nothing will replace those small moments and when they’re gone, they’re gone. You don’t want to miss that, because if you do, you won’t know what you’ve missed.
You could have had something, but you didn’t; and if that happens, you never will.
All you have to do is show up. That’s all you’ve ever needed to.