Originally written June 2009.
There are two types of men out there. Well, there are more then that, there is even more then one grouping of two types of men: those who are single and those who are married, those who like football and those who like basketball, those who masturbate and those who….well nevermind. But today it is those who are fathers and those who are not. Once you have had a baby it is like you have left one club and joined another.
I acquired three stepchildren when I got married and loved having them but thought that was all I wanted. The youngest was around 8 or 9 when I moved in so that meant I had skipped all the diaper changes and all that other baby stuff. Three kids was enough for me. Now a few years later and we have a nine month old boy in the house and plenty of diaper changes and feedings and all that other baby stuff. Not something that I thought I wanted but now that he’s here I wouldn’t trade him in for nothing (besides, they lose half their value when you leave the hospital).
So now I’m a honest to goodness father and things are a bit different. Gotta watch that selfishness, video game time is shorter, pray that he doesn’t wake up while being intimate with the wife. But on the other hand, I get to watch this life grow and develop and become a man. I get to feel like a kid again, seeing everything through his new little eyes, the joy in something as simple as sitting in a swing at the park.
Guys will still nod a greeting, hold doors open when you’re pushing a stroller through but they got a certain look on their face, the “There but for the grace of Trojan go I” face. I am sure that I have worn the same expression and its hard to blame a twenty year old not wanting to shoulder the responsibilities of a father.
Then there is the fathers you run across. All of a sudden you have joined their club and they are enthusiastic members. I have never had so many strangers strike up a conversation with me just because I’m pushing this stroller around. Or the shared looks when you pass another at the market with a baby in the Snugli against the chest. Its different for me, I am not used to having people I don’t know start talking to me on the bus. But I suppose its just a welcome to the club.