May 18, 2009

Death and Normality

- I never would have believed how normal it would feel to be a father. When it came to the life altering moment of bringing another human being into our independent-married-for-eight-years-family-of-two world, you wouldn't think normal would come to mind. Since the glorious events on February 21, I have not slept longer than a six hour stretch and every night we wake up together at least a couple of times for the feed and change routine. It wasn't until early this morning at 4:40am when I was brilliantly changing her diaper without breaking her swaddle (a feat I have never accomplished before) that I realized I have been waking up twice a night for twelve weeks without batting an eye. After two continuous decades of sleeping straight through the night, you'd think this sudden change in sleep patterns would drastically alter my state of mind. The same level of normality can be applied to changing her diaper five to eight times a day (depending on how often we remember), another parenting act I had done only a handful of times. Yet here I am, wiping a pile of three-day build up of yellow poop off her bum, celebrating her bowel movement by singing a "you pooped" song I made up during week two. I wondered pre-fatherhood if I would venture through every day slightly shocked by this new presence in my life - I even wondered if it would be at all possible to look into her all too familiar eyes without thinking in amazement to myself, "Holy shit. This is my little girl." Of course I still have these moments from time to time and of course I love her beyond anything I could have imagined, but what I have found to be the most shocking thing about all of these changes is that all of them seem completely normal to me. I am a father now. This is simply what I do.

- It is astonishing to me how many times during the week I am thinking of another way she could die. Call it morbid or over-worrying or first child anxiety, but it doesn't seem to go away. I just don't want her to die. She could somehow miraculously climb out our 7th story window. She could fall off our loft bed during a nap. A crazy LA cabbie (yes, I realize a cab in LA is an oxymoron) could run a red light and jack her stroller, sending her flying through the air. A homeless schizophrenic from neighboring Skid Row could pass off a dangerous disease. And just when I think I have thought of every way possible, we have a 4.7 magnitude earthquake last night, causing our building to sway back and forth for way too many seconds. [I realize now that many of the potential causes of death have to do with our location in Downtown wonder parents move to the suburbs.] I'd rather have these thoughts of death escape my mind forever, but I can't help wondering if they help keep her alive, another part of our parental intuition. Whatever the reasons for why these life ending scenarios keep popping into my mind, she is still here at week 12. Hallelujah.


Hope's Mama said...

Josh I just clicked on to this post, looking at your new layout and checking out some of your old writing and all I can say is...... wow. Can you believe you wrote this, then Margot did actually die? And even though you though of so many ways you could possibly lose Stella, I bet you never imagined the way you ended up losing Margot. Life is strange. And cruel.

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