That shrill cry was something else, otherworldly. It stirred everything from deep within the recesses of my soul. Oh how I wish I could put that moment and the ensuing emotional deluge into apt words, alas I am no poet! Thankfully, Plath’s words ‘Love set you going like a fat gold watch’, dance twinkle-toed through my mind since then. I got to know him as her belly grew, as the sudden kicks protruded the stomach, and even more as his little fingers instinctively engulfed mine upon his seismic arrival. His side eye peering at me left me dumbfounded. From those initial embryonic moments; I was, in a word; hooked.
I shall never forget the drive home that night; I was simply put; in a stupor. My son was born, and I simply had no words or use for them at least. The elixir of seeing your son being born, as you stand there trying to keep upright, is the most stupefying of substances. I floated home trying to find an apt song to blare to suit the moment…yet none could ever suffice; my old reliables did enough to create some ambiance all the same.
The ensuing weeks passed in blur of sleep deprivation, ineptitude and awe. To say I was on the ropes was an understatement. Back to work I went, trying somehow to appear competent in at least one realm of my life. Failing badly I am sure. It is amazing how we can roll with the punches all the same.
A year on
Fast forward a year and not much has changed; still on the ropes, rolling with punches and a bit punch-drunk to completely wear out the boxing euphemisms. Yet, everything has, of course, changed. The boyeen has changed basically every day. I was of the ‘they do damn all the first year sure’ brigade prior to this. Yes, now I am indeed a ‘parenting has taught me so much’ kinda person.
Every day he surprises me with something new; some new methodology to arrange his toys in. A friend once said ‘ you just love them so much’ when his own arrived and I can certainly concur. It is completely out of your control, away on the journey you go, almost as much a spectator as one at a match.
I am adapting and growing myself. It was in knowing that I had everything to learn that I began my journey into parenthood on, what I’d feel is the right note. I am willing and trying to learn and certainly know I’ve it far from figured out. I will not be able to prevent problems along the way, however, day by day I am getting more confident in my ability to solve any issue as best I can, and simply be there to pick up the pieces.
To be a father or a Dad?
‘I tried hard to have a father but instead I had a Dad’, is one of many of Kurt Cobain’s sharp, acerbic witticisms. On the opening track of In Utero called Serve the Servants. The line jumped at me for more than the obvious Cobain wit that grabs you and makes you burst with laughter and go quiet with thoughts of the isolation and rejection he felt growing up, all at once.
I am trying to be a father methinks. I have decided to strive to be the man I want my son to be. Lofty ideals for sure and some reflection needed to assess is my own house in order?! Of course certain changes had to be made. AA Gill talked about his son picking bad habits around alcohol from his genetics but not from his father’s actions, and I concur. Daithí may gain a plethora of poor choices from his genetics, but he won’t see his father downing a pint like he might have in the past, a goal and an achievement at the same time.
My life has changed utterly since his arrival, and this change is the best of all. No more cognitive dissonance around having a beer or not. No more undermining myself. I am also aware that giving away all of myself to be a parent is not on either, what will be left when it’s time to let our boy fly the nest? No, instead leading my son by my example, with a keener sense of self, is for the betterment of both of us, what else can we truly pass on?!