Sentimentality time… you’ve been warned…
You know, 12 years ago, we had our first child. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have many memories of that time, as, quite literally I was working around the clock to protect the world from the bad guys. I never gave her a bottle, never had much time holding her, never changed a diaper, or fed her food. It sucked.
You know, I don’t even know how SHE feels about being robbed of the experience. Never having a father for all of her “firsts”, or who was home on holidays, or was awake at 3 in the afternoon, or who regularly made an appearance at meals. And I have never wanted to ask her. I am not sure I want to know, because at THIS moment in our lives, she things I am pretty cool, and I’ll take that any day. I am sure this time next year, as a teenager I will be “past it” but right now, I like things the way they are.
Tonight, I watched my 1 year old, at her first big outing, at a rock concert. Watched her sing, and dance, and laugh and smile, and watch the concert with an awe that only a baby could have.
I made a promise when our 2nd child was born, that I would be there for her, for every minute of the important parts of her time of discovery.
I did everything I could, I changed diapers, I got up in the middle of the night to give her a bottle, or to rock her to sleep. Hell, when the wife went back to work *I* was the primary caregiver for about 4 or 5 months. To this day, I take on the chore of making sure everything is in order for her, for the next day. I’d like to think I did a pretty good job, but as a man, it’s hard to tell these things. She HAS acquired my tastes in food, music and TV, so that’s something, right? 😉
This is when it hit me… Getting her things ready for tomorrow, and… I no longer have to prepare baby bottles, because she has mastered the art of the sippy cup. Every night for the past year I have made up 8 baby bottles, by cleaning them inside out with a brush, cleaning the nipples out with a brush then steaming the whole batch in our steamer to sterilize it.
All of that.. gone now… she doesn’t need them anymore… then it sunk in.. she doesn’t need ME anymore.
She eats mainly regular food, and that organic junk (so no more mashing or grinding food). She can drink out of a cup (so no more preparing bottles), she can walk, and play, and sit, and stand… all on her own. Suddenly I have gone from “caregiver” to being relegated to “spectator” in my child’s life.
Why am I saying all of this? All of those moments are special, if you are lucky enough to be part of them, treasure it…. if you are a husband, and the wife asks you to make up a bottle, or change a diaper, or hold the baby while she cries, do it, and be proud that you were part of it, because those moments come to an end all too soon.
After what I USED to do for a living, I quite enjoyed the Mr Mom duties, and I am quite sad because in a little over a year, it has practically all come to an end.
I guess, what I am saying is, I wish she would have stayed “helpless” just a little while longer. Part to make up for lost time with my first child, part because it’s been a long time since I felt “needed” it was nice to be the most important person in someone’s life again, and part because I just didn’t want to let go. I didn’t know what to expect coming into this, but she has evolved soooo quickly, I don’t know how to feel about it, and suddenly… here I am, the permanently disabled, ex-lawman, who 3 times this week had a migraine brought on by his bad neck that totally immobilizes him… and nobody needs me…
Don’t feel bad though, it’s all good, I am proud of my accomplishments, both out in the world, and here at home… it’s just an observation of how fast the world moves.