One Year A Father
I cannot believe it has been a full year since the birth of our little girl Madex! Time just flies by, and like a boulder rolling down a mountain, gains momentum until it reaches its resting place at the bottom. Like the boulder, our lives seem to gather velocity, spinning out of control as we desperately grapple with trying to slow it down and not miss anything passing by. This is what it has been like for the last year of my life. Watching baby Madex grow and change every single day, wondering how she could have changed so fast in such a short period of time. Without a doubt, it has been one of the hardest – but greatest, unproductive – yet fulfilling, year of my life. You might think that I have gone a little crazy, but crazy is my middle name, and I cannot think of any other way to describe it.
I have been very fortunate having the opportunity to spend the majority of Madex’s first year with her. It has allowed me to grow as an individual and learn what it is like to be a stay at home father. It has given me the experience to really understand what parenting a newborn is about. I admit, I was pretty green coming into this role and had many misconceptions about what it was going to be like. After Madex was born, I could not believe the abundance of love I had for her. I thought that my love was so great that I could not possibly be capable of ever getting angry, or even annoyed at her. I am a fairly patient individual and thought, that because of this, I would always wait patiently as my child continued to develop and learn new things. I thought that it would be tiring at times, but because I was not working, it would not be that awful. I thought that I would be busy, but again, because I was not working, would have the time to do many of the things I always wanted to do. I was so convinced by this that I made a sizeable list of all the things that I was going to get done. I had delusions of being an almost perfect father. I thought, I thought,… I thought wrong! Madex has challenged me in ways I could not have imagined. She has made it very difficult to be the father I always imagined I would be. With Madex, no two days are the same, and there is very little time to do anything. She has tested my patience to levels of frustration I have seldom felt before, and pushed the boundaries of my fatigue. As I become more exhausted, I become more agitated and exponentially older, which then causes me to become more exhausted, more agitated, and even older. It is a negative feedback cycle that I cannot seem to break. Every negative feedback cycle in the body usually ends with something forceful like throwing up, or birthing a child. I often wonder what forceful thing is coming to end my cycle? I wait exhaustedly for the chaos to stop the way a solider waits in his fox hole for silence to replace the constant exploding of bombs around him.
I have had the added luxury of trying to raise Madex during a global pandemic. This has been especially fun as pools are closed, playdates are cancelled, and mom and dad groups only exist online. It is fun to share stories, but the truth is, no two babies are alike. Furthermore, when Madex has had limited exposure to other kids and people, it leaves a lot of time for two people to get acquainted. Our home is the battlefield in which Madex and I go to war. Shrapnel of toys, spilled treats and thrown food can be found upon the field. Finger prints cover every reachable window and mirror in the house, and every accessible drawer holds wrinkled clothing that were once stacked and nicely folded in rows. Together we joust back and forth claiming small victories, and learning each others strengths and weaknesses. She is a very worthy adversary, and the likes of one I have never encountered before. She has super powers over me that no one else has ever had, and it terrifies me. I try not to show her my fear, but I am certain she sees through me. I have finally found my purpose in this world, and in the most unexpected and unlikely of places. To succeed at parenthood and as a father. Someone once said that parenthood is the scariest hood you will ever walk through. I do not know if it is the scariest, but it will definitely have all your senses heightened and tuned to every direction, as you never know what is developing around the next corner.
“A child is kind of like having a blender but you don’t have a top for it.”Jerry Seinfeld
Admittedly, I have let Madex win most battles, choosing carefully which ones I must not let her win. My hope, is that my sacrifices and loses will see victory years down the road when Madex is a respectful, strong-willed, smart, hard-working, determined young woman who is grounded in strong beliefs and morals.
The most truthful thing I have learned over the last year is that everything you think you know about parenting will likely not work. Everything you plan doing, you are best not to put a timeline on it. I say this, because truthfully, there are no guarantees that what you know, or have been taught, will work for your child. Furthermore, if by chance what you planned, or learnt, works for your child, there is no guarantee that it will continue to work a day later. I believe the best advice I could ever give someone about parenting would be telling them to become as fluid as water, and flexible as a willow. By doing this, you allow yourself to be completely adaptable and not too rigid when making choices which best suit your child. I have always lived by a philosophical quote that Bruce Lee wrote in his book “The Tao of Jeet Kune Do”, and it has never failed me. It could not be more applicable to raising a child.
Now that I have somewhat vented about the challenges of the past year, I stop and smile, because as hard as this last year was, it was absolutely incredible. To live everyday moment to moment because you cannot predict the next minute has sure been one hell of a ride. Even when I think I have it predicted, I am proven wrong. It is absolutely crazy, and I love it! With that I want to say: “I love my daughter, I love my wife and I love my life.” Today March 18th, I celebrate both of their birthdays. They are the fireworks that light up the darkness. They light up my life and keep me focused on all the things that matter in the world. May they forever challenge me and continue to make my life interesting and magical.