Sunday, April 26, 2015

One Month

Our son Owen just turned one month old, and among many things I've learned climbing the steep learning curve, I'll start by imparting one slice of wisdom to the new parents-to-be out there:

When you have kids you'll age twice as fast.

But not for the reasons you think.

Sure, there is the exhausting scenario for all you new dads of being in more hours of meetings in one work day than you had in hours of sleep the night before.  But you'll survive it.  Anyone who's been there before *should* cut you some slack.

And for the moms, there's the trifecta of terror:  getting spit up on, urinated on, and cleaning up projectile feces from the coffee table all in the same afternoon (while dad is stuck in the office.)  Congrats - you are basically laxative production factories at this point, so take careful note of what is in striking distance downwind from the changing table.  Diaper changes become a military operation - swoop in, dodge the sniper, get out as fast as shit (literally.)  After all, Seal Team Six didn't waste any time knocking out Bin Laden.

Actually these experiences aren't the ones I have in mind - in fact many of them are quite the opposite for the "older" new parent.  They teach all of us know-it-alls that we're really still rookies ourselves at this crazy game.  Owen's learning to empty his bowels, we're learning how to construct the perfect swaddle, begin a bed time routine, and stop the next meltdown before it happens.  The fact that we got the little guy sleeping in his room was one small step for Owen, and a giant leap for Megan and I getting more rest before we became the living dead.

So here is the real reason it will *seem* as if you are aging twice as fast:  

Time moves twice as fast because you get a day older AND your kid gets a day older.  

Here's my anecdote to go along with this seemingly obvious realization:

Last Saturday night the little dude downed his usual midnight bottle, then looked at me incredulously with eyes agape as if to say, "uhh... that's it, man...?" - before throwing down another whole bottle, finally passing out after a good two hours only to pull the SAME THING again just two hours later.  That's 12 freaking ounces between 12 and 4 AM.  Pound for pound that's the equivalent of me putting down 20 beers in a night, which would have been a masterful feat even back in the Chapel Hill summer of rugby house keggers, living with a guy I only knew as "Shirtless Dave."  I literally could see Owen's bulging head growing before my amazed eyes like a cartoon character.  As astonished as I am that he didn't vomit his guts out, I'm even more that I didn't wake up to find a grown ass kid shaving a mustache, bitching about chemistry homework, and asking to borrow the car.


Time accelerates... I look back on pictures from the first two weeks, and I see a squishier, alien version the same kid now staring back at me with wondering eyes.

I think back on the moments when Megan was struggling to adapt, when now she seems like she's been doing this for years (we owe lots of people thanks along the way...)  In the moment it was the hardest thing we'd ever done together, but now the hours clip on by.  The marriage/partnership is the foundation, the key to success can be summed up in one word:  COMMUNICATE.  

Megan has this mom thing down now!
Owen and Callahan Lee

I can go an entire rainy Saturday without leaving the house once, wondering where the time went.  I fall asleep during a commercial break during my team's run to win a 5th national championship and wake up to my mother-in-law poking me and saying "Duke won" before I think wistfully back to 2001, glad I had that experience because I'm way too exhausted to enjoy the 2015 version despite only being 20 minutes from the quad.  

I read race recaps of this year's Boston Marathon and think back fondly on running through Hopkinton on a sunny Monday morning last April... when I go days on end without running or doing anything but catch up on plowing through hundreds of work emails at night and maybe slip in a blog/journal in my "spare" time so I don't forget all the little things that happen.  

And at the end of the day, I'm glad I did everything I did before this point.  Working my butt off for twelve years to grow a nest egg, the Europe trips, the West Coast trips, all the shows, writing most of a book I can't get off my ass to finish or publish, and running, running, <getting injured>, running some more...

I needed every year I got.  

And when this "happened" it was still tough, but that wasn't unexpected.  What's making it tough now is this:  waking up to go about my business, leaving the house at 7:30 AM with Megan snuggling in bed with Owen, and wishing I could hang around a little longer... 

And at 5 PM each day itching to get home... not to run, not to read a book, nor spend hours finding new albums... but to see him again, because he's going to keep on guzzling down bottles, that head's gonna keep on growing, those legs are gonna keep on getting chubbier and chubbier, and soon enough he'll be a little person running around on the soft grass after school with friends and I'll be watching from the kitchen window wondering where that fuzzy headed, squirmy, football sized kid went.

I don't need to tell anyone else it gets better after the first two weeks.  You already knew that, I hope... and you'll get there on your own.  One hour at a time.

credit: Aurora Deluca

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