In a few days from now (or maybe even in a few hours), I will become a dad for the third time.
And it’ll probably be the last.
I mean, I know, I know, “never say never” and all of that, but the truth is that all along, my wife, Monica, and I have talked about having three and getting out. Three kids, a perfect family size for us, and we’d call it a day. Still, the thing is, you don’t really think about the proverbial leap at the end of any long cool trip, really; not until you slam right up to the thing just when you were running so fast and so good, you know?
That’s where I find myself now, I guess.
I’m standing at the edge of a brand new cliff, the hard-riding posse of my years and my age and my realities all closing in on me. I can hear them all gathering steam not too far behind my back. If I turn around, I’m pretty damn sure I will see their quick-rising dust coming my way.
This will more than likely be our last baby. My last baby.
And even though I haven’t done too much of the grunt work (bad pun intended) when it comes to creating life and carrying it around for a good portion of the last five or six years, and even though I know that Monica bore that burden with way more courage/class/dignity than I could have ever even mustered for a half-day or so, let alone as long and as often as she did, and even though my wife puked all the puke and had to grow and expand and become exhausted and lay there, night after night, unable to even sleep because she had a freaking human growing inside her guts while I just kind of sat around and tried to say comforting things that didn’t amount to much at all… the truth of the matter is that I’m still going to miss this whole pregnancy thing a helluva lot.
I just am.
In this life, there are certain lines you end up crossing where you end up getting this weird feeling down in your bones — a silent notion that you’ll never ever cross back this way again. That’s how I’m feeling today. There is a rampant excitement, a wild anticipation blazing through my blood because there is a baby on his way to us. And that’s the greatest feeling in the world, hands down.
But in the back of my mind, I understand that I won’t likely pass through these parts anymore. Three times now, I’ve been lucky enough to spend huge chunks of my life and my energy and my heart on awaiting the arrival of a child. Oh, what days they were, too.
First, it was my Violet.
Nearly six years ago, when Monica told me she was pregnant for the very first time, my world exploded in every possible awesome way known to man. Each and every day, each and every breathing second, I spent thinking about this little girl who was beaming down to us. She changed my life way before she got to us, that kid did. And she has kept it up ever since. Me loving her has been the biggest, brightest thing that ever happened to me, really. A game-changer in every sense of the word, Violet has a thousand strings pinned up in my heart and she knows it.
Then came Henry.
Almost four years ago now, finding out we would have a son was like getting a notice in the mail that I had been chosen to live forever. It was overwhelming and magical and I spent my days back then loving one kid that I could hike around with, her little legs bouncing against my back as she rode up in her backpack, all the while falling in love with another kid who I simply could not even touch. Monica was so sick with him flipping all around in her womb that somehow we both knew, long before we ever met him, that we were going to have a tried and true little boy. We were so right, too. Hank is amazing and sweet and insane, and I couldn’t love him anymore even if I grew 50 new souls.
Now, last but not least, another little boy.
How lucky am I?
I know the answer.
I’m luckier than hell, that’s what I am. That’s what Monica and I are.
I’ve never stopped being excited about having a new child, that much I can tell you for real. No matter how weird or tough or sad or kick-ass life became while their mom was busy creating them, I have never ever gone even one day when I didn’t feel some shooting star thrill about impending fatherhood streak across my inner dark.
I have loved every second of waiting around for these kids, man. I really have. I have tried to think about each one long before I ever got to touch them for the very first time, and I have been enchanted by their distant tiny breaths way before I ever even felt one of those suckers brush against my big fat cheek.
Now, I’m thinking that that particular ride is pretty much over for me and it makes me kind of sad, I guess. But at the same time, I know that’s sort of a selfish feeling to have.
Still, it is what it is.
In the end, love is so funny and strange, ain’t it?
Love is so funny and strange and mysterious and beautiful all at the same time, and it comes falling down out of the thick, heavy sky in so many ways that we often fail to even recognize it at all.
I’m so glad I remembered to keep my eyes wide open.
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