Sometimes you grow up and get to have a child.
And they are so tiny when you catch them, slippery and bloodied, straight from the Mama, who’s been pushing and screaming and crying for hours, and waddling for months and peeing around the clock and eating weird stuff.
The Mama’s being so brave and, sure, you’ve been there for her, you guess, maybe. But you know it’s all about the Mama, because it’s really obvious she’s doing The Hard Part and you’re just some geek trying to be the provider and protector that Nature intended. Except, you’re not sure you’re very good at providing or protecting, so you try to hold the door for her sometimes and maybe you’re funny sometimes and you try to make her happy.
But now she’s made you a baby, a tiny copy of you that will carry on your good parts and your bad parts and your last name. And you can’t make babies, so it’s the most gracious and amazing and mind-blowing gift that you can’t possibly ever repay. That’s why it’s all about the Mama, and will always be all about the Mama, because you’re just the Dad and maybe you’ll teach the kid to play baseball someday or chess or something.
But, at that moment, right when she’s freshly arrived, for a few seconds it’s just you and this tiny new person, and suddenly you have The Entire Future of Mankind in those big clumsy hands of yours. Time kind of stops and the room empties and it’s just you, holding your child. She’s at once the most beautiful and terrifying thing you’ve ever seen, and O-M-G you are now The Man. In a blink of her tiny eye you are changed forever, and you know somehow your life has a purpose and no more excuses buddy and this small helpless human is counting on you so don’t screw it up.
But for that time, right then, you look there in your hands, and she’s so new and so pink and so angry, and wow look at those tiny fingers, and she totally looks like you, and she’s screaming and healthy and everything is just so very perfect.
And a tiny voice, deep, deep inside you says, “It will never get any better than this.”
Happy birthday, Oldest Daughter. I love you more than you can understand. Yet.