This week, a blog more on the parental side of things. I started working on this post back in August. By the time you're reading it in December I'll have made countless edits, additions. Maybe I'll even have written it and erased it a dozen times. I'm evolving a working process here that is unlike anything I've ever done, because I'm not someone who has really written with any regularity throughout his life.
When it comes to the topic of fatherhood I find myself in a constant state of questioning at this point: will I be able to handle a small and delicate child? I'm not a delicate person, really. Will I feel some sense of connection? Will I have a hard time pulling myself away from home to go to work each day, and what changes will I feel in my commitment to my work and training?
Because the things that I have worked to establish as a habit and ritual in my life are things that are important not only to who I am, but who I want to be in life and legacy. Losing them is kind of an odd thought to me. I don't want to become a zombie, because that would pull me out of my goal of being involved and aware in my own existence. Can I handle the added strain of helping to parent a child?
When I feel this overwhelming sense of self-questioning, I usually try and turn to books. I look up experts in the field. But I think this is an area that no one can really offer advice in, because it seems like all of my doubts can only be answered experientially. Sure enough every time I look up a book on raising children, or raising a daughter, I'm hit with an onslaught of concerns that belong to someone else.
"Well," the books say, "You're going to have to put up with the fact that girls like pink."
"And also," they continue, "They really like Disney."
Well, OK. Maybe those are someone's concerns (and honestly, I doubt that person has anything beyond a passing knowledge of parenting) but they are not my concerns. My concerns have to do more with connection and remaining connected to who I am, making sure that I don't change completely, making sure that this is an element of my life I can work to support.
I want to be an involved and active parent, not only for this child but also to support my wife. We've always been a good team, and I don't want to let her down in this endeavor either. I know she is going to be awesome at this -- but will I be the weak link? What would that look like? Would I be able to adapt and overcome it?
Ultimately I know this is something that can only be answered with time. I have to believe that a lot of these fears and self-doubts are things everyone goes through -- and that they are things I've been through before when entering into situations I've never experienced previously. In every situation I enter into I can also achieve a level of comfort -- a willingness to continue on, and then my doubt abates as I have faith in myself to continue. But, parenting seems like a really alien thing. My own parents weren't great models in this regard. What if there's nothing to fill the gap where my model of a good parent goes?
Some of these questions are unanswerable at the present time, but I'll be sure to update on these concerns as I go. Once I get into the meat of this thing, I'm sure there will be plenty to write about. Of that I am almost certain.
We're getting close.
Ready for the plunge.