A well run dry

     That last 5 months have been about survival. In addition to getting shockingly little sleep we moved, Pen got a new job and I started nannying again. It’s only now on the other side of it that I feel like I have a teeny bit of space for anything other than existing. 

     Motherhood is beautifully exhausting. The existing we’ve been doing is so much more than that. We are thriving. Pigment is sleeping more (halleluia!), Pen is starting a job he’s legitimately excited about and I am finding a groove in caring for both nanny child and my own. Things are falling into place to such an extent that I had a moment to address my woefully neglected inbox today. I came across this in my drafts from 2014: 

     “My mother once forbid me from shaving above my knee without explanation. “Don’t talk back.” she said; which actually meant “Don’t ask me any questions ever.”

     I have two prominent scars on my ankles from learning to shave. She could never be bothered to teach me. After endlessly asking for help I learned… eventually. Every now and then I’m still dumbstruck by the fact that I’ve never once cut myself shaving since. Call that the learning curve of a child unwanted. 

     For a long time I didn’t want children. I guess that happens when you’re up in the middle of the night with a newborn while your 8th grade math homework sits unfinished in your backpack. There was no time for math, and no one home to help anyway. 
When I realized I might want kids I fought the idea tooth and nail. All I’d ever seen was a mother who resented hers.
     The little girl I nanny tells me she loves me as she walks by. Down the slide, pick a flower, come back and tell me again. She is how I know I am not my mother.”
     Sometimes people ask me why I want to write down all the terrible parts of my childhood. My answer is this: it makes them real. It reminds me that my feelings about being treated that way were valid. Keeping your pain tucked away deep inside causes it to fester. It eats away at me until I doubt my own memories. 

     I’ve been feeling guilty again for ending my relationship with my mother. 

     “Don’t go to the well,” Pen says, “There’s no water there.”

     He is so right. Because of the choices I’m making right now Pigment will never know the echo of a well run dry. 

Advertisements

Okay

I have gotten into the habit lately of looking back through all the photos of Pigment after he’s snuggled in for bed. This is ridiculous because I spend the majority of my day eager for the glorious 3 hours of freedom that come after his bedtime and before ours– but I do it just the same.

Scrolling through Instagram I’m reminded of the highlights. I’m reminded of why it’s a good life. And to be honest, I’m reminded that I’m happy.

I am. For the most part. Can I tell you something else though? Sometimes I’m miserable. Sometimes, I feel like I ruined our lives.

I can still remember. I think that’s the real problem. I can still VIVIDLY recall how easy my life was before parenthood. I seldom did anything I didn’t want to do. With the exception of mundane tasks that I had to make fun with podcasts in the background or a phone call to a friend… I rarely committed to arduous tasks that weren’t in some way fun for me. My life was completely my own. I liked my job, I had endless free time, a marriage that was bursting at the seams with love, joy, good conversation and even more money than we needed.

I remember, and that is so hard.

Last weekend Pen had just one day off. We spent it at home with no real agenda. Pigment however, is going through some big developmental leaps and was inconsolably fussy. All. Day. Long. His disgruntled murmurs and angry coos became the soundtrack to our day.

We passed him back and forth, from when he woke up until he went to bed. Shushing and swaying, singing and snuggling. As challenging as days like that are; they’re nothing compared to weekdays.

Weekdays, like last Friday when I called Pen to come home from work early because the baby would not stop crying.

In those moments it’s hard, but what really gets me is that there is no reprieve. Literally, ever. Sure, I can get some air or leave him with Pen but what he wants most is his mama so for the duration of time that Pigment spends his waking moments screaming I will be the one hearing him scream. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. Next week. That’s the job. That’s what I signed up for. Heaven help me, that’s motherhood.

I’m not going to sugar coat my words here. If you can’t ascertain that I can love my son even while struggling through this transition you can see yourself out. I refuse to be one of those moms who is honest about her struggles and in the same breath says, “oh but it’s so worth it.”

Why do we do that? I’ll tell you why… It’s because we’ve been shamed into believing that GOOD moms never feel how I’m feeling. Society tells us that if we’re not enjoying every moment we are doing it wrong.

Fuck that.

Know what I am? I am a really good mom. I love that little boy more than anyone else I’ve ever met except the guy who helped me create him. And most of the time, I really love motherhood.

But when I don’t, that’s okay. When I hate it, that’s okay too. And when I fear I’ve ruined my life because I can distinctly recall all the trappings from my old life that are dead and gone and will never be again? Good grief, that’s just logical. And okay. It’s okay because we HAVE TO SAY THESE WORDS SOMETIMES.

It helps. It helps because nothing ever feels as bad as it does when you feel it in secret. Left unspoken these feelings eat away at me and chase me into dark corners. They scream that I don’t deserve such a perfect little boy because I don’t appreciate him. But that is a lie. It’s a mean and ugly thing and isn’t even a little true.

I am a whole person. I am a human, a woman, a wife and a mom. I am all of those things simultaneously but I am also each of them separately. The human part of me misses when my life was all about me. When my tank never hovered below half full.

I’m no less a mom when I’m a human.

I hesitated to put these words down. But I think it’s important. It’s important that I crawl out of the dark corners and take ownership of my experience. It’s important that other moms see it’s an okay thing to do. Most of all though, it’s important that my son have a mom who doesn’t allow herself to be shamed for her humanity. I want him to always know that it’s okay to struggle through hard things.

We’re all in process. I’ve never done a hard thing in my life that didn’t make me want to run for the hills somewhere along the way. Running isn’t my style though. Instead I’ll probably take a walk with my perfect little boy and feel sad and happy and miserable and filled with joy all at the same time. And all of those things will be okay.

An Anniversary of Sorts

On this day one year ago my whole life changed forever. January 1st, 2015- the day I found out baby Pigment existed. I won’t find it on any timehop though. The fragility of the teeny life inside me was too delicate to share. I’m sad now that I couldn’t allow myself to celebrate. We sat scared for months with baited breath willing this child to grow.

It wasn’t long before we clued our innermost circle in to the delicate dance of waiting and hoping. For that reason every time I spoke the words “I’m pregnant” it was followed by a tentative “but it’s early” and “let’s just wait and see”.
I went to the doctor to check progesterone and HCG levels every few days for two weeks. They put me on a twice daily dose of progesterone almost immediately. I felt certain to shouldn’t get too attached to this child.
After I began the progesterone they wanted me to come in to see how my levels had changed. I was waiting for that call when I attended a yoga retreat in the deep Appalachian mountains. No cell service. I ended up missing the call on the drive and couldn’t call back, leaving me an absolute wreck for a weekend I had intended to be for healing and peace. I journaled that weekend my worst fears. I wept with strangers and begged my body to hold onto this precious child.

The first trimester after a loss is excruciating. Every twinge is suspect. I hadn’t yet learned to trust my body to alert me if something was amiss and so there I sat, on the edge of my seat, for three whole months.

We first saw baby Pigment at 8 weeks. We breathed a little deeper that day. Being caught on the razor’s edge of not wanting to miss all the firsts and not daring to get attached left me exhausted. Or was that the tiny healthy baby boy rapidly growing inside of me? I’ll never know.

As I type now, 15 lb baby asleep in my lap, I’m astounded. He is pure magic. Parenting is without a doubt the hardest and still somehow most incredible thing I’ve ever done; and we’ve only just begun.

I have a hard time writing about being a mom because all my words feel too common. This experience is changing me in every moment and yet all I can ever find to say is this:

I had no idea.

I had no idea how deeply I would love him. How innately I would want to care for his every need. I’ve spoken before about my fears of being my mother. She made parenthood look so arduous. Every task a burden or a chore. I recall with crystal clarity being asked to do things she didn’t want to do to care for my infant brother that I delight in today . I am not her. Her inability to delight in motherhood was hers alone.

And so, on this auspicious anniversary, I’m elated to say that it was all unquestionably worth it. 2015 was a year of triumph unlike any other.

Headlong Into Heresy

A few days ago I was scrolling through Facebook and stumbled across a thread in which two of my friends had entered into a lengthy theological debate with one another. People treat religion like it’s a sporting event, and every congregant is n bench-pew quarterback screaming that their plays are the only ones that matter. I skimmed through the first few comments before I felt a tidal wave of existential ennui come crashing down upon me.

How could we possibly know which of them are right? What difference would knowing possibly make? In that moment, I felt absolutely suffocated by what Christianity has become in America. I tried to take a breath, but it had filled my throat and gotten to my lungs. I couldn’t breathe. I needed to step out. I needed fresh air.

I have tried my best to make sense of the schizophrenic state of American Christianity. The religion part is easy– love God, love people. That’s it. The end. That part I can get behind and support. Everything else though… Honestly, I can’t take it anymore.

The way Jesus gets trotted out to push political agendas. The way Christianity has become an excuse to remain ignorant of science and of suffering. The way Christianity continues to be used to draw lines between “haves” and “have-nots”.

For the past decade, I’ve watched as my faith has crumbled around me. I’ve stopped believing that the Bible is meant to be understood literally.  I’ve stopped believing that the Bible is infallible. I’ve stopped believing that God “blesses” anyone. I’ve stopped believing in the devil and hell, in the traditional sense. I’ve stopped believing that Christianity is the only means to a meaningful afterlife.

These were not easy conclusions to draw. I had to wrestle with each and every one of these points. I desperately wished I could just go to church, raise my hands, and believe what everyone else around me believed. It would have been so much easier. This process has terrified me. I’ve lived in a constant state of fear that I’ve finally “gone too far”.

But here’s the part you, dear reader, should be frightened of: God led me this. I fought it. I tried to remain conservative and theologically sound, but it wasn’t to be. God flung me headlong into heresy. 

It’s scary. There are no certainties. Every day I’m painfully aware that everything I know could be wrong. I could wake up tomorrow and have to start from scratch again.

But you know what else I’ve found? Every time I’ve stopped believing something, a wider, warmer, more inclusive belief replaced it. I’ve found freedom, out here in the margins. There is liberty to be discovered in the gray. Not only that, but there’s also God; unadulterated and unshackled by dogma or orthodoxy.

I’ve found God in the uncertainties. And I’m finally embracing it.

It’s taken me years to be able to say this, but I don’t care about any of it anymore. I don’t care about your quadrilaterals. I don’t care about your denominations. I don’t care about your take on speaking in tongues, handling snakes, or abortion.

It doesn’t matter. 

It’s all window dressing. All I want, the only thing I need, is God. If your beliefs aren’t making it easier for me to know or understand God, then I don’t want or need them. If your beliefs aren’t making you more loving, kind, compassionate, and an all around better person– guess what? You don’t need them either.

I’ve given it all up. Everything. Reading the bible. Going to church. Reciting wish lists out loud and calling them “prayers”. I’m done, I’m out. It’s over.

I don’t feel right calling myself a “Christian” anymore. Not just because of the schism I feel regarding religion, but because labels carry weight. The notion of American Christianity has veered so far, I’m not thrilled with being associated with it.

So for now? I’m not a Christian. I don’t belong to any particular ideal or to any sect. For now, I belong to God, and that feels like enough.

 

My Son, the Wolf-Boy

Since I’ve become a parent, I find there are two sneaking suspicions that underline my entire existence:

1.) There’s almost certainly a better way of doing whatever you’re trying to accomplish, and if you had just read the heaping pile of books you purchased in the first trimester you’d probably know what it is.

and

2.) Every other parent in the world has read that pile of books, and what’s more, they all know you haven’t, and they’re judging you for it.

I want to be involved. I want to be an active participant in my son’s life. I want to be an amazing father. I want to be a glad dad bad ass. So I read articles. Paint and I talk ad infinitum. I’ve joined facebook groups. If there’s any truth to how the media portrays fatherhood, I’m over here batting like, a thousand touchdowns. (That’s how sports works, right?)

All that, and I still spend a significant portion of my day feeling like somebody who  got their job by lying about their skills on their resume. Now I have to act like I know what I’m doing.

This is all further complicated by the fact that Paint has spent years of her life as a nanny. She has practical, hands on experience when it comes to dealing with the little ankle-biters. As a result, it’s really easy to rely on her to do everything.

Not because I’m lazy, but because I’m scared. I don’t want to screw anything up, least of all my son. It would be so simple to just allow the cultural gender roles do their dark work and assume that Paint will handle the child rearing, and I will bring home the bacon.

However, that’s a shitty thing to do. For one, there’s no reason she should have that responsibility heaped upon her shoulders. Despite my inner monologue, it turns out I am a capable, fully functional grown ass man. Two, that’s not the kind of dad I want to be.

 

Fortunately, I’ve recently stumbled across an epiphany that changes everything. It came about because for the first time since he was born, I had plans to go out on my own and grab dinner with a friend of mine. I came home after work and reminded Paint about my man-date. She said, “Oh, that’ll be fun. You should take Pigment.”

I frowned.

You see, something you should know about my son is that he seems to be part werewolf. Once the sun goes down, our sweet, docile, little boy goes feral.  His red blood darkens and becomes pure rage which transforms his adorable coos into sanity shattering howls. 

I say he’s bent on our destruction. My wife says it’s gas.

Either way, it happens nearly every night. If we catch it early enough we can give him a hit of holy water and he’ll recover. Some nights, though, nothing helps. After we go through our bag of tricks, all we can do is gently speak to him and be present for it.

This was the reason for my hesitation. I was confident that if Pigment was in a good mood, taking him out wouldn’t be a problem at all. However, it was still early in the evening and the moon could come out at any moment.

As it happened, his stomach chose nearly that exact moment to let out a low, ominous growl heralding the approach of his transformation. Paint and I sprang into action. Holy water? Administered. Back? Patted. Songs? Sang. Tummy time engage! Gaseous emission in three…two…

Safe. 

Time had passed. It was late enough that I needed to be gathering my things to go. I looked down at Pigment, now smiling with big, bright eyes and cooing like a particularly good-natured dove.

It was an easy decision to make. Once we’ve beaten the Change it usually waits a few hours before trying to reclaim him.  The missus was beside herself at the prospect of getting time home alone (a first, after ten weeks of baby handling). I could smell the rich scent of brownie points baking in the oven.

“What the hell?” I thought. “I’ll gather him, too.” 

When all was ready, I scooped him up in my arms, ready to show him off to the world. Unfortunately, I had neglected to take one thing into account: I am not his mother. 

This is relevant because it just so happens that at the time, Pigment held a not insignificant preference for his mother. Cognitively, I understood this. At his age, his neural network isn’t dense enough to hold space for two caretakers; all children begin bonding with only one person. Since I wasn’t the person sustaining his life with my own body, he chose his mother, and I was downgraded to “the hairy helper that helps sometimes”.

The moment I lifted him off the floor and began to make my way toward the door, he began screaming. Paint offered me a thousand opportunities to relinquish the child and just go be my own man. This was it! The chance I was waiting for! An open door to continue being the dopey-dad who doesn’t actually know how to parent while his wife does all the heavy lifting.

Actually, it turns out, that’s not what I wanted.

From somewhere deep within me, I knew that I needed to take Pigment with me. I wasn’t sure what the night would look like. I didn’t know how it would go. But in that moment, I knew that if I wanted to be able to look at myself in the mirror, I had to let it happen.

 

Plus, I kind of liked the idea of being the single dad for a night. It would be a growing experience. Hell, it would be a bonding experience, right? Right?!

He screamed as I kissed Paint goodbye. He screamed as I walked outside. He screamed as I opened the car door. He screamed as I fit him into the car seat. He screamed as I got in the car and he screamed as I backed out and headed to our destination.

I was meeting my buddy at a restaurant about ten minutes away. He screamed the entire time, pausing only to gasp for breath. I sang songs at him. I defied all known laws of physics and managed to reach behind me, find his pacifier, and get it into his mouth. Sadly, it turns out this must be a grave insult to his people because this only served to further enrage him.

By the time I pulled into the parking lot, my nerves were frazzled. Okay, we’re here.  Step outside, close the car door. The silence crashes into me like a wave. Cleansing breath. Get your energy on point. Alright. Here we go. I open the door and it’s like opening a psychic blast furnace. I steel myself and strap the baby carrier to my chest while trying to sooth him with my words.

He’s exhausted. He’s nearly screamed himself into oblivion, so he doesn’t put up much of a fight as I struggle to get him situated. Finally, we’re ready. His cries are now being muffled by my chest, but he seems to be calming down. I walk a few laps around the car before heading inside. When I reach the door, I glance down and see that blessed sleep has claimed him.

That ends once I actually enter the restaurant. The moment I step through the threshold, he is awake and howling. We chose a casual burger joint, and I was grateful to find that his cries were largely drowned out by ambient noise. I leaned down and gently shushed his ear. Just that quickly, I watched sleep take him once more.

I blinked.

I honestly hadn’t expected that to work. The fact that it did lit up my brain like a Christmas tree. This was the first time my actions seemed to have any immediate effect on him. I ordered my food and met with my friend. We chatted while I tried not to drip any condiments on my baby’s head. We talked about parenthood, and I told him some of the ways it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but how sometimes it’s also the best.

After about an hour or so, Pigment had enough and decided to once again voice his discontent at his lot in life. I stood and gently swayed and bounced and bobbed and weaved as I tried to tune into some kind of magical frequency that would lend him some calm. It was not to be found.

I ended up saying good night to my friend all too early, as I once again got Pigment secured in his car seat. I was hoping he would be tired enough to go to sleep once the car got rolling.

No luck. Instead, it was a repeat of our trip down. Screams without ceasing. Paint heard us approaching well before we reached the door. She was ready for him and swooped in as soon as I entered, wielding her mommy magic to make our boy happy again.

Later that night, I was replaying the evening in my mind. When Pigment was crying, I felt utterly insufficient. I felt useless because I couldn’t calm him. I felt like a shitty dad, and I didn’t particularly enjoy that feeling. I began to realize how dangerous the situation I was in could be. It’s a cycle.

You feel unprepared and overexposed as a father because you lack hands on experience with your child. Those feelings then push you toward refusing opportunities to gain that experience the next time around.

The only way to break out of the cycle is to fling yourself headlong into disaster.

This, my friends, is the epiphany:

Sometimes you have to act like the person you want to become, even if that’s not who you are yet.

At the end of day, despite a screaming infant, despite a dinner that got cut short, nobody died.  Nobody called the cops. No one threatened to take my son away. I’m still here. 

And next time? When we’re at the library and my son deafens everyone in a three-stack radius? I’ll survive that, too.

I guess what I’m saying is, parents, even when it’s shitty, you will survive this. And next time? It’ll be easier. It’ll go smoother. You’ll begin to get it figured out. Just keep trying, and eventually your wolf will grow tame.

What a difference a day makes

Exhaustion overtook us both. Pigment slept 10-4:30 last night and I feel like a new person.  Already today I showered, snuggled in the glider watching the rain, face-timed with a dear long-distance friend, chatted with mom for over an hour, got out of the house for our Friday play group, picked up a prescription for this terrible thrush and now we’re at Einstein brothers. Pigment is snoozing away on my chest while I enjoy a jalapeño bagel and write a grocery list. 

I’m seeing tiny glimpses of what our new normal will be. Life requires much more flexibility on my part now. But in exchange for my patience I get to watch someone grow right before my eyes. I get to be the mama. I’m loving learning how to navigate this role. 

I don’t want to forget this time. Pigment will be 2 months old tomorrow. Already it feels like a blur. I love who this child is. I’ve never met a baby with such presence. He’s magnetic. I can’t believe he’s ours. It’s such an honor to have a front row seat for someone’s life. 

He makes me be present. Tomorrow is new; but today is so real. 

Gratitude overflows. 

Asking

Had a hard hard night. Up every hour at least. 

Paul left me a crying mess this morning. 

Ushering him out the door with assurances I wasn’t sure were true.

Got vomited on. It was in my hair and down my back. 

Cried again. 

But then I took a shower. I took some good advice and put a restless Pigment in the rock n play next to the shower and regained some sanity and clean hair. 
Put the baby in the sling and tidied. Made a cup of coffee I forgot to drink. Felt better still.
But the loneliness. No one talks about how unbelievably lonely this is. Maybe it’s not this way for everyone but it seems insane to me that there could be houses upon houses of lonely people who are all lonely together; but still alone. 
So I sent a text. Then another. I reached out and took the risk I’ve been avoiding. Up until now I’ve been desperate on the inside but oh so cool and collected on the outside. “Wanna hang out?” I ask. Totally nonchalant. No big deal. All the while my soul is screaming. 
Today I said it. I’m so lonely. And no fewer than the number I confessed this unspoken truth to heard my soul and reached back. It’s going to be okay; but we have to ask for the help we need. 

The Other Side

I had my very first really terrible day of motherhood today. It was actually just a really terrible morning. I was not my best self. It all started with an expectation. I’m learning that expectations can make or break a day in the world of a stay at home mom. When I file “sleepless nights” into my list of expectations I’m not surprised, and therefore not the least bit bothered. However, when my 4 week old gives me two gloriously restful nights of sleep in a row apparently my expectations shift. That combined with a wayward alarm clock that woke the whole house at 5:30 and just like that I found myself in desperate need of an attitude adjustment. But before I could see myself clearly, I had to cry and really feel all the monsterous emotions that were welling up inside of me. I had to grumble that the tiny human who trusts me implicitly was fussing. I had to throw my own grown up tantrum about him pooping 30 seconds after I changed him and got him reswaddled and then another over our latch troubles that no doubt frustrate him even more than they do me. Here he was being the exact same baby I adore but I was oh so angry.

After the alarm heard round the world he screamed for around 3 hours; spiraling me deeper into my own despair with each wail.

There was a part of me that REALLY wanted to blame the alarm clock. Scratch that, what I actually wanted to do was blame Pen. I was doing that very thing, in fact, when I realized who else likes to blame her circumstances on the people closest to her.

My mother.

I had fallen into a habit I didn’t even realize had been modeled to me my entire life.

But, I saw it. I saw it for what it was and snapped out of it. It was a crystallizing moment of clarity for me. I am experiencing triggers from my childhood, noticing the way my body stiffens at them and correcting the ingrained errant messages I received over and over again.

Motherhood is hard. Brutal, sometimes. I expected that. What I didn’t expect is that it would demand I be better in every imaginable way. And so I will.

Eagerness grows

Bastion,

Two AM seems to be when the world dissolves, leaving just you and I. Together we run out of things to “do” and finally I look to you, still held snugly in my stomach, expectantly. My eagerness to meet you is beginning to surpass my love of pregnancy. I have so loved growing your body inside of mine. I’ve loved watching you grow and experiencing the privilege of being the one you need the most.

But, my eagerness grows. I long to envelope you in my arms instead of my ribs and I know it won’t be long now. I sit in your room and imagine our days to come. It feels impossible that a million moms have come before me and felt these things. 

I never want to forget these long nights waiting for you. My heart aches to see your face. Someday when I am tired or impatient I want to be brought back to this moment here now. May I remember that those same feet you’ll use you carry you through all of life were first felt deep within me. That the eyes you’ll look at me with hoping I’ll be as gentle as you deserve are the same eyes I’m aching to gaze into for the first time. May I never forget how deeply I love you and how longingly I want to you in my life. 

Skin to Skeleton

He’s almost here.

He could come, literally, any day now.

My child. My son.

Do you want to know the first time I felt like a father? It wasn’t when I bought that knife, or felt him kick, or even when I saw him in his first ultrasound. It happened over a year ago, before Paint was pregnant the first time. I was still on the fence about having a child. I was scared that it would break our relationship. There aren’t a lot of husbands and wives in the media that have children and still seem to like
each other. There certainly aren’t any that love each other the way Paint and I do.

Knowing that, I’ve always felt like maybe the rules were somehow… different for us. Yes, everything about who we are and how we interact works amazingly well, but what if there’s a catch? What if there’s a hidden self destruct button that could bring this relationship we’ve spent years constructing crashing down around
us?

I got it in my head that if that button exists, it will almost certainly be a child that pushes it. You don’t have to look hard to find couples that are worse off because of having children. People have kids, and suddenly their marriage isn’t what it used to be. They have less time for one another. They have less interest in one another. They have less patience with one another. And then it’s only a matter of time. Our
decision to not have kids was an easy one to make because Paint was everything and all I needed.

When I shared my thoughts with Paint, she told me that adding a child to our lives didn’t mean there would be less love to go around; there would be more.

I fell asleep thinking about her words. When I opened my eyes, I was in a darkened room. In the center was a blanket with a sleeping infant lying on it. Even as I approached, I knew the truth: It was my son. It was the first time I had ever been able to see him as more than an abstract concept. He had a form. He had a face. I sat beside him and laid my palm on his back. I watched it rise and fall with his breath and felt something I had never felt before.

He was mine. But more than that. He was also a piece of me and I loved him so much. In that moment, I wanted everything for him. I wanted to give him the entire world. I wanted him to have every opportunity. I wanted him to be exactly who he was supposed to be– nothing more and nothing less.

My hope became tangible. I closed my eyes and envisioned it flowing from me, pouring over my hand and onto him like a second skin. I wanted it to make him indestructible. I wanted it to make him fly.

In the end, I settled for wrapping my arms around him and hoping that I would be enough.

My eyes snapped open. I could still smell him, lingering somewhere in my subconscious. I realized what I had just experienced wasn’t so much a dream as it was a vision of the future. It was a foregone conclusion: I was already a father.

Paint wasn’t pregnant yet, but I knew that I had been chosen. From somewhere Out There, I had been seen and selected.

That’s why the miscarriage had been so devastating. But, ironically, on this side of things that’s why it feels like a non-event. We believe that the soul that chose us then, is the same soul that resides in Paint’s belly. It just needed more time. That’s okay. Pregnancy has taught Paint and I how to wait.

We waited for the heartache to subside.
We waited to try again.
We waited for her to become pregnant.
We waited for it to stick.
We waited for him to hit the “safe zone”.
We waited for him to get big and strong.
And now? Right now, we’re waiting for him to decide he’s ready to join us out here.

Every step has felt like the hardest part. This one is no different. It’s important to us to do this whole thing naturally, so we’re working on his time table, not ours. It could be hours. It could be weeks. Right now, in this final phase of cessation, I’m not scared. I’m not worried. From skin to skeleton, all I feel is gratitude that the universe saw it fit to pair me with this woman and this boy. I’m so excited to see what we can create together.