All is relatively quiet except for the hum of machines and equipment. A doctor and nurse discuss in hushed tones what’s to come as they prepare for her arrival. The air is filled with immense jubilation but it’s also tinged with anticipation and some nervousness on our part. Everything is serene and still. It’s just the two of us, calm individuals awaiting the massive change that’s about to take place in our lives.
The time arrives and there’s a flurry of activity. Where moments before she was relaxed, she now enters a state of heightened awareness and along with it, a fair amount of stress. Where there was euphoria there’s now pain. No longer a passive observer, I become an active participant. Muscles contract and force is exerted. Time slows down and there’s a fierce intensity charged with every passing second. Fatigue sets in but there’s just a little more to go. The night seems to last forever.
Then it happens. A newborn’s first cry heralds her arrival, leaving us all silent for a brief moment. There was only four in the room and now a fifth enters the world; a simple and commonplace miracle but one nonetheless. A family unit of two becomes three. In mere seconds I enter the realm of fatherhood and for a brief moment, I am scared. The weight of that responsibility had been pressing on me for months but today it was a reality that was firmly crystalized. I was ready.
Eleven years ago last month I went from being just a man to being a father, a title that’s suited me perfectly and a role I absolutely cannot fathom not ever doing. When I think about change, I think about what took place outside of me but most importantly, within me. Because of that, I am a far better man.