Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"Are you ready?"

When people know that your wife is pregnant, one of the things they always ask is, "Are you ready?"  I always say yes, and then typically follow it with some description of the baby items we've amassed, an update on my sanding & staining of Baby Girl's dresser, something like that.

But really, that's a pretty thin defense of my "readiness."  If I'd just gone out and bought myself a kayak, paddle, and helmet, would I be "ready" for some class five rapids?  Absolutely not, I don't know the first thing about navigating rapids, or kayaking, for that matter.  The gear does me little good.

I always say "yes" to that question though, because anything else would worry people.  You need not worry, so I simplify my answer, and everyone's happy.  Just this once, though, I'll try to more fully flesh out my state of "readiness," and say that I'm "excited, a touch anxious, and flying blind, but as ready as I can be."  See?  You're already worried about my child, and I just told you not to be.  Allow me to explain a little:

I'm definitely "ready," in the sense that I want to be a father.  I am ready to see my little girl, to tell her what her name is, to rejoice in the miracle of birth alongside my wife.  She's probably going to be really cute, and I'm ready to have her fall asleep on me in some cute position that makes my wife cry.  That'll be fun.

I'm mostly "ready," in the physical preparation sense.  The nursery is nearly put together - Tori would like the crib to be white to match everything else, so I'll try my hand at painting fancy, knobby woodwork, but that's really the last thing that will require any real effort.

Mentally and spiritually, I don't know how "ready" I can be until it happens.  I think parenthood is something that is inevitably learned on-the-job.  I've been thinking about my responsibility to her as her father, to do my best to show her the love of God, her Father, in a tangible way, to bring her up in a loving family where she has confidence in who she is and can be free to love and serve others in light of that.  And the new task of balancing the roles of "father" and "husband" at home, to continue loving and leading my wife while doing all of the above for my daughter, and demonstrating for her what  a healthy relationship looks like.  Man, that's a LOT.  If you say, "Yeah, I'm ready for all of that," you're probably not seeing the whole thing.

So that's my real answer.  Am I ready?  Sure.  I will be.

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