When you first arrived I took you in my arms and I prayed over your life that you would grow strong, because you were so small, unexpectedly early.
Our time in the NICU is one mixed with both excitement and worry. I wonder how long we can sustain both.
I am amazed at how often you become like a beast - you are more creature than human. You snarl and scratch. Your iron will is to survive.
You slowly take over our lives. You trap us with your howls, and our lives now, undeniably, revolve around you.
I have never cursed so much under my breath.
Sometimes in the morning, your mom and I look at each other and ask each other - how did we survive that? You have no idea how strong my desire is to somehow help your mom and lighten her load - but she’s stronger than me, I think.
I am angry at you, at how you upset our lives, at how you bind us and send us into arguments and frustrate us endlessly.
“He’s still developing” your mom says, and though she’s ragged, I know she’s right. We have a difficult baby, not one of those unicorns like I’d always imagined that we’d have.
Being a father, I realize, is all survival in the beginning. If I can just make it past three months, or six, or fourteen… I’ll start to enjoy it I tell myself.
I’m sorry, son, but I hate babies. I love you, but I can’t stand the noise, the tussle, the screaming. Babies, an empathetic coworker and I agreed, are the worst.
You are my shadow self - being unable to do anything about your cries, your pain, your reflux, your underdeveloped nervous system, is endlessly frustrating. I feel like a failure around you.
When a man feels frustrated he wants to escape.
I read something the other day in scripture - about creation being subject to futility. I thought that was the most relevant word I’d heard in a long time.
I feel the pressure to be more upbeat about parenthood when around other people. My phone is loaded up with cute photos of you that I show others to make myself feel better about you.
Sometimes when you’re in one of your episodes, I film you. I don’t want to be two years out and forget how difficult you are. I want future you to smile sheepishly and tell me, “oops, my bad, dad”.
That would be cute.
If I knew how hard this would be, would I still choose to be here? I turn that thought in my head a lot these days.
Yomi, my fear is that I won’t be strong enough to stand up to your waves.
The people who understand will understand.