I became a 1st-time Dad just over a year ago. I’ll never forget the excitement, anxiety, bewilderment, confusion, and mind-numbing fear I experienced when leaving the hospital on B-Day (Baby-Day) with a our very own brand-spankin’ new, fresh baby! Everyone says the same joke “where’s the instruction manual” because everyone feels that way!
In addition to rounding off my first year as a new dad, we have our second kiddo on the way! I have learned a lot in the past year, and will do a better job with baby #2, Maximus Excalibur. (Sigh… sadly, my wife keeps vetoing this name.)
IMPORTANT CAVEAT: I definitely have NOT done all of these things superbly, or even decently at times. I have learned a lot from my wife and others. By the grace of God, I am improving and growing. Nonetheless, you can file all of this wisdom away as near Gospel. You are welcome.
I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but this first year has been really… well… weird, exhausting, annoying, frustrating, and wholly overwhelming. In a previous post I shared a couple major epiphanies about being a new dad: [Ponderings of a New Dad] God’s Love is Illogical and I Surrender All?.
For most guys, it is difficult to connect with babies. I am most guys. At initial, selfish glance… they just get in the way of life, marriage, sex, social activities, happiness, hobbies, and sanity. Side Note: Speaking of hobbies, say goodbye to those for the next couple decades. You have much more important things to do.
It DOES get better. It can be awesome. I have grown more than I could have imagined. There is a reason the word “exhaustion” appears many times throughout this micro-eBook of a post.
My love, appreciation, admiration, desire of and attraction to my wife has never been as high as it is now. It really is growing at alarmingly rapid rate, despite the inevitable tension that has occasionally flared up [more than the combined history of our pre-baby marriage ]. I am frequently overwhelmed by the stature, strength, heart, compassion, beauty, and innate motherliness of my wife. I remain baffled at (and learn from) how easy everything seems to come to my wife AND the constant insecurity she feels regardless of how awesome she is. I feel like a bumbling buffoon…
Here is what I have learned…
It is definitely interesting how being a dad has changed my perspectives on life, the world, and scripture. Today, the Christmas story from Matthew and Luke was illuminated to me in a completely new and wildly unexpected way.
My heart was awakened as we sang the classic carol “O’ Holy Night”. I started picturing the classic nativity scene. Then, the Christmas sermon our pastor delivered recounted the birth of Christ… comparing the evil tyrant King Herod, with the loving, humble, powerful King Jesus.
During church, I started reflecting on my wife’s pregnancy and the birth of our son. During my reflection, I started comparing and contrasting our experience with the experience of Mary and Joseph as new parents of Jesus.
I assume most new Christian parents think these things… however, it is new to me. My meditation on and experience of the miracle of Christmas is profoundly different than a year ago. So, here we go…
At church a few weeks ago I had another “new daddy” experience that broke me in half in a wonderful way.
It involved holding my baby son in my arms, while standing beside my sweet wife, as we sang “I Surrender All” at my church…
Before I share that moment, I’d like to set the stage a little.
So… an odd, incredible, and somewhat important event occurred about eight weeks ago… my wonderful wife gave birth to our first child!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A beloved baby boy.
Having your a child is a profound and momentous occasion. You would think I would be glowing and gleaming with flowing blog posts about it the joys of fatherhood. However, I have found myself at a loss for words. Being a part of and observing the creation of life is so big and perplexing. I have found myself baffled and dumbfounded.
I really just haven’t known what to say.
My fantastic mother-in-law has asked me a simple question a couple times that I usually would not hesitate answering. Though no fault of hers whatsoever, the question has annoyed me for weeks. She asked, “What has being a new parent taught you about God and His love?” It was a great question. I felt like a paralyzed deer surrounded by headlights. My head and heart responses were the equivalent of white noise. I could not figure out why, and it really bothered me.
The question was straight-forward, clear, and made plenty of sense. The entire Bible is about God’s fatherhood and love, as shown through the offering and sacrifice of Jesus. Surely… with my loving Jesus, being a “spiritual” and ridiculously sentimental fella, and my being part of the miracle of life alongside my lovely bride and dream girl… I should be able to feel something magnificent and deliver a powerful, spiritual sounding, and deep soliloquy… or at least muster up SOMETHING. Anything!
As I hold the tiny, precious, and helpless human that God has blessed us with… and look at his beautiful face… tears well up. I often have no idea why.
Yet… I have been unable to respond to the simple question, “What has being a new parent taught you about God and His love?” The question has been a dripping faucet in my mind.
Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
This week, I think I figured out the reason…