Saturday, October 11, 2014

Yup we're having a kid

The rumor is true, Megan is carrying another TAJ, which is a mind-blowing reality to me.  

Let's be honest with ourselves on this whole topic of "family planning" (i.e. when these events are not accidents, but intentional...): 

Deciding to bring another one of YOU into the world is a sign on some level you love yourself (or is it that you loathe everyone else?)  

The idea that someone whose DNA is roughly 50 percent comprised of YOU is going to roam the world for presumably another 20-30 years after you are dead and gone requires a certain level of self-appreciation.  

You sometimes get a little help in this area with the other 50 percent.  If you are fortunate you find someone else that you find attractive-cool-smart-fun, someone that makes you a happier-better person and if you so choose and nature allows you to scramble up all the bits and parts of the two of you - maybe, maybe, just maybe if you are lucky enough you end up with someone that is the best possible combination of the two of you.

Yeah... it don't work out that way too often.  Or else we'd all be presidents-CEOs-rock stars-Olympians in some obscure sport...

Nonetheless, you love what comes out all the same.  Or so I was told, but learned for real the first time I saw our kid flapping its mini-toothpick arms and sucking its thumb on the ultrasound.  That's a real person like me in there!  Whoa...

2002: the beginning of it all
we could have an 11 year old right now!?!

2008: it becomes official
we could have a 5 year old right now!?!

2014:  getting wisdom from the Ancient Greeks
ok, maybe now we're "ready" (are you ever?)

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Now, everyone asks how Megan is feeling.  With the exception of being "a bit tired" she is doing great (thank you very much!)  She is sixteen weeks in and I have yet to see or hear her puking all over the bathroom.  She even toughed through three days at the Austin City Limits music festival recently, braving the South Texas sun, crowds of teenage Iggy Azalea fans, drunk fratty college kids, and dodging a cumulonimbus cloud of marijuana smoke (separate post on all this fun later!)  I couldn't have gotten her to participate in this indulgent craziness as a non-PREG-O five years ago.  Turned out that she's a pregnancy champ to the point where she almost feels guilty about it.  Maybe in some parallel world centuries ago she would have been one of those Irish mothers with like ten kids.  Let's just hope it stays going this way...

Now, what about ME?!?  How am I feeling?  Never mind the fact that Megan has had to rearrange her entire body, can't drink a beer or glass of wine after a tough day or eat half the things she used to, and the fact that she will have a watermelon sized infant pushed through a body cavity in a few months - no one ever asks about the dad.

As it turns out, there is something called "Couvade Syndrome" and I was totally unprepared for this.

Facts:  1) I have been pretty freaking tired myself, more so than usual... I felt like the walking dead through most of Megan's first trimester (coincidence?)

2) I have barely run at all in two months (post Continental Divide injuries mostly to blame, ouch) - running friends I promise I am still alive.

3) I have put on ten pounds in sixteen weeks.  Must be all the fro-yo and pancakes.

I won't disclose how much Megan has put on (none of my business or YOURS) but let's just say it's got to be a close early race for who puts on the most over 9 months  (only I'm not the one with the human growing inside of me).

Also fact:  I am really excited about all this, and yes a bit nervous.  More on this below.

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Due to some marvels of advancements in genetic testing we learned early on we are having a boy.  Great!  That really puts the extra pressure on me to make sure "Baby Ozzy" (the nickname for said fetus that I am terrified will now morph into his real name...) turns out to be a decent overall dude.  I think I was secretly hoping for an "Ozzigail" because for some reason that meant my kid wouldn't remind me of myself as much... and I could take her to Girls Rock camp.  I guess I can always settle for School of Rock.

In truth, being a dad quite honestly was something I really didn't think I was cut out for through most of my twenties and early thirties.  Being a parent always seemed like HARD work.  Shoot - even being an adult was hard.  I stayed late in the office, went out for runs for hours and hours, and traveled at nearly every opportunity I had.  How the heck was I going to raise a kid?!?

What I really had to get over was PERFECTIONISM.  It's the absolute devil.

At some point you have to stop caring about certain things or the world turns into a soul-sucking vacuum - conquering life in 2014 is energy management just as much as time management. And parents are scrutinized today for two extremes: either caring too much or too little.  I rarely see parents get compliments for "caring appropriately" but truth be told for parents or parents-to-be like us - those of us starting in our mid-thirties - we don't get too many chances to "get it right" anymore.  Mess up on a kid and it's not like you have five or six more in the queue to get it right.  The pressure is always on.  See k-selection theory.

So I won't make any promises on what type of parent I'm going to be, but here are some starting principles.  Umm... I want to be a GOOD parent?  And of course, I want TAJ version 2.0 to be happy.  But I also want him to be a resilient non-entitled person too, and someone who knows to "do the right thing."

For years I looked at all the reasons NOT to have a kid.  For years everyone asked when we were planning to try, if we were going to have kids... like every married couple we faced questions ad nauseam... Trust me on this, every major decision WE make as a couple is hyper-analyzed to the nth degree and this one was not something quantifiable.  We didn't know what we were doing for most of the first 6 years but it's not like we weren't talking about it - and since we were the ones who had to deal with the outcome 24/7/365 it sure was important that WE were on the same page.  Maybe not on everything, but at least on the "go" / "no go" decision.

And my unsolicited advice to those struggling with the same question:  no one can or should tell you when or whether you should or should not do it.

I can point out all the specific things I am or am not looking forward over the next few years, but that would be a dull exploration in the known.  I have a pretty good handle on what I won't be able to do as much of - and the reality is I rocked the 28 to 32 age range (running, career, seeing cool places, doing cool shit).  Without kids, 33 to 39 would be more of the same with a few more grey hairs and a fraction less energy.

With kids, what I am looking forward to are all the surprising moments of joy, the unknown happiness that comes in random simple moments in the future.  With Megan, Ozzy, and I.

A "tear-jerking" video to share for those who haven't seen it (sorry Beyonce wouldn't let me post this to YouTube) - but you already know the punchline.

And a special shout out to the courts for finally extending the same civil liberties and rights Megan and I enjoy to ALL couples in NC.  It may seem ironic this coincides with this post, but I can't think of anything more fitting: #equality is a right ALL should enjoy and a family rooted in love is a strong family regardless of the gender composition and deserves the same rights as a FAMILY under the law.

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