Mythical wife and I are currently staying overnight at the NICU right now. No, nothing is wrong with mythical baby, this is just a mandatory pre-requisite that parents of NICU babies are required to do at this hospital before babies are allowed to go home. So ultimately, this is very much a good thing, and one of the last bullet points we have to check off before our baby is actually going to be coming home.
When my daughter was first admitted into the NICU, one of the more frustrating things was that we couldn’t get anything remotely close to a concrete timeline of how long to expect her to be here; after all, every single baby is different, and I can’t blame anyone for not wanting to give false hopes or expectations to anxious parents, but it didn’t change the fact that we had no real ideas of how long she was going to be in the NICU, instead of at home, giving mythical wife and I a semblance of actually beginning to feel like real parents.
At one point, we were told 10-14 days for a baby as premature as ours was, and then another doctor came along and said that she might possibly be here as long as she was early, which for us was a little over five weeks. During one of the daily visits, one nurse predicted “maybe one to three more weeks,” leaving me feeling drained and dejected.
But it doesn’t matter anymore, because after 16 days, our baby is on the cusp of heading home, with our household becoming complete, and my family all existing under the same roof. At this point, it’s almost feeling like a dream is coming true, because the sense of time during these last few weeks was definitely distorted, and especially with the way the world has become so warped and weird due to the whole coronavirus thing going on, literally changing the way America is running currently.
It’s past 1:00AM at the time I’m writing this, and although I am a little tired, I can’t help but feel this compulsion to be staying awake so I can write all of this, not to mention I’m paranoid as hell with the fact that the safety net of having nurse supervision has taken a step back, and that we’re a day away from having none of them at all, once we’re home with our baby.
Every single noise and stir that my daughter makes has my head quickly looking over her to make sure that everything is okay. I know there are weeks and months of sleepless nights awaiting me, so it seems silly that I’m voluntarily forfeiting sleep now, just so I can sit here and write in near darkness, but I’m already becoming a parent in the sense that I want to make sure that my kid is safe, even if it means losing some sleep over it.
I think what’s really driving me to stay up and watch my kid is that when the day is over, I want to put in some sort of writing that my one of my only real genuine wants in this world is that I just simply want to be a good dad to my kid and a husband to my wife. Not a tremendous amount of other things really hold much candles to these wants, and it’s not to say I don’t have superficial crap I want or ambitions for myself, but I think if I can accomplish being a good dad and a husband on a regular basis, then everything else should theoretically take care of themselves.
Like really, few other things really matter as much to me these days than the family that I’ve built. All through mythical wife’s pregnancy, I didn’t really want much more than to be supportive and not be one of those deadbeat men who can’t take care of the person taking care of their future child. And now that our child is here, I know my life is more or less forever changed in the sense that I am literally responsible for another living human life, and that truly few things can really be about just me anymore. I’m okay with that, and up to the challenge of raising another human being, and I can only hope that my daughter can grow into a well-adjusted, intelligent person whom I hope has a strong work ethic, empathy and a lot of overall positive characteristics.
Needless to say it goes without saying that I am 100% all-in on being a dad, and there’s already pretty much nothing I won’t do for my kid. Our house is pretty well-prepped for the arrival of our daughter, the nursery is set up, furniture assembled, bassinets and playpens in place. I put a baby on board sign on my car’s rear window, despite the fact that it refuses to stay up. I changed my imagery on Facebook to reflect that I am in fact, a dad with a child now, and I’m proud to be a dad to a daughter.
I always envisioned that I would have a girl, and it’s almost like fate or that mythical wife and I willed it into existence. It’s not that I have any objections to having a son, but I guess that the vast majority of my life I was surrounded by women in my heavily-female family, I didn’t really expect it to be that much more different in my adult life with the family that I cultivate myself.
Already, I love having a daughter, and I already have anxieties of the inevitable passage of time and how she’s eventually going to be walking, then driving, then becoming a grown-ass woman who wants to leave the nest, and then I’m going to have to accept the fact that she’ll have men, or women in her life, that will someday potentially be her spouse.
Perhaps that’s why I’m not sleeping just yet, because even now, I can soak in the visuals and the memories of my little girl being just that, a little girl, a warm tiny baby and my first child that I’ll always cherish these moments for as long as I live. Nothing else really matters, at least in the sense of all the other bullshit I typically brog about; no local hypocrisy, the political scene that tends to engulf all other conversation, perceived racism; not even all the sport leagues that have folded for the year, or even professional wrestling which has embarked on this art nouveau journey of performing in empty venues, as not to facilitate the spreading of coronavirus, which is basically the story of 2020 to everyone except for my wife and I, because we’re always going to remember it as the year that our baby girl was born; in the middle of a global pandemic.
That’ll be one hell of a story for our kid to have to come to terms with when she’s older and understands the gravity of the circumstances in which she was born. But until then, my only real true goal is to raise her as best as I can, and be as involved and a part of her life as possible.
I just want to be a good dad.