I’ve been a Dad for a whole month now or 36 days to be precise. Just when I thought the bachelor life was the one I’d be living forever I met my wife and just a year and a half after the wedding I have a daughter sleeping in the room next door to where I’m typing.
It’s taken a month to try to figure out what the hell is going on inside my head, a month before I was able to write anything about it all. The strangest thing to get my head around was the fact that the most personal, unique experience of my life is also one that has been shared by so many others.
At first we couldn’t understand what everyone was talking about, she slept so well and ate on time and stuck to a very nice routine. For the first week. Then everything changed and it changed again and again and again. Now Maya is five weeks old and she’s decided that sleeping at night just isn’t for her, so we take turns looking after her until she falls asleep. Then when she finally falls asleep we can’t descend into slumber out of fear that there’s something wrong. Why is she suddenly so quiet? What’s happening over there? And so on.
But sitting with her last night at some ungodly hour of the night/morning I found myself looking into her face and realising that these are the best times. These moments she will never remember I will never forget. These moments when it’s just me and her, while she’s still so tiny she fits easily into my arms.
These past five weeks I feel like I have been in a cocoon. Some terrible things have been happening in the world but though I have heard about them I have felt their impact only fleetingly. For the first time perhaps in my life I have more important things to worry about than those that occur beyond the confines of my home. Of course what goes on inside my home now fill me with more terror than anything ever before.
I’ve embarked on a journey now and the final destination is anything but certain. It’s only been five weeks since Maya made the world a better place by taking her place in it. Since then I’ve experienced highs and lows of emotion and been drained and energized in ways I couldn’t have predicted and by the most ridiculous things, I take pride from her sneezes, her yawns, from every tiny movement and I don’t even know why. But there it is. Parenthood.
As she grows, I have grown, when she is unhappy I am unhappy, when she lies relaxed I couldn’t keep the smile from my face even if I’d wanted to. When we told people we were pregnant they rushed to tell us about the late nights, the diaper changes and the hardship. They didn’t warn me about how all of these things would pale into insignificance every time she looks into my eyes.
I have been given many names over my lifetime by many different people. Now I can add Abba to that list.