I mentioned in the previous post how my using the term “daddy” instead of “father” was significant. I’d like to take a moment to explain that.
In my mind, I was all prepared to be a “father” to my child. When I think of a “father,” I think of someone who kind of stands above their child, someone who has an air of authority about them. You wouldn’t want to mess with someone who is a father, because they are likely to kick your butt. However, there’s also an air of detachment from their children; at least there is when it comes to my point of view.
Admittedly, it may come from my experience with my own father. I always felt a little separated from him as I was growing up. He was just always this presence in the house, someone who provided for his children, and that was about it. I don’t think I ever really bonded with him, and to this day, our relationship is kind of awkward. To be honest, some of that is due to some of the rather horrendous things he has said to me, but despite those things, he still feels obligated to support me in a way, even if it is only financially. I don’t really understand it, but that’s just how things are with him.
So here I was, all ready to be a “father” to my child. I say that because I have never felt any real love for children. I was never the type to coo over or coddle a baby or a little kid. I have always spoken to them as I would any other adult. I don’t treat them any differently because I never saw the point. I have always been very straight forward, and with very little emotion on my part. Even with my own nephew and niece, despite me honestly caring a lot about them, I feel as though I am a bit aloof at times, frequently putting my own interests ahead of any desire to see them. There are times I feel that I am just playing the role of an uncle, instead of feeling any special connection to them. I have always been confused by how excited they are to see me, despite me feeling as though I am sort of a mediocre uncle to them at best. People have always told me it will be different when it’s my own child. I always just blew them off and went, “Pffft… sure.”
Not to say I was planning on being a “father.” It’s just that when you take some time for introspection, and if you’re really honest with yourself, you can get used to anything. Better to know how you could be beforehand then to regret your behavior later in life when you find yourself wondering why you couldn’t have been a better whatever. If you have an idea of what to expect, at least you can fine-tune your behavior so that you’re the best whatever you’re going to be.
So over the course of the pregnancy, I was preparing myself to be the best “father” I could be. I thought about what kind of lessons I’d want to teach my child so that I could pass on my knowledge. I thought about how I’d correct her behavior if she did something wrong. I thought about how I would answer the myriad of questions I knew was going to come my way, because children will always incessantly ask “why?” I thought about how I’d handle all the big moments in her life so that I could at least show her that while I may not be the kind of person that was emotionally attached, I still cared about her, and that I wanted the best for her.
I know, reading that, you wonder what kind of person I must be. “How would anyone preplan their reactions to spontaneous events? How could you be so cold?” Truthfully, I’m the type of person who just thinks about every potential scenario, and tries to plan accordingly. I have this maddening habit (you can ask my friends, they’ll tell you) where I’ll let completely hypothetical and near impossible scenarios play out in my head, just in case. Everything from, “What happens if it rains sometime this week?” to “What would I do if a terrorist tried to commandeer a plane that I’m flying in?” I will acknowledge that as much time as I spend on these thoughts, 99.9% of them are complete wastes of time. But whether it’s due to paranoia, or just some odd quirk in my brain, I feel that it’s worth it to spend a little time thinking about these things.
However, the day of the birth, all of that preparation, all of that readiness for being a “father,” flew right out the window when I held little Rinoa in my arms for the first time. I took one look at her, and all of that exterior seemed to melt away. I knew, from the moment I looked at her, that I was hooked. I was not going to be a “father” to her. I was going to be a “daddy.”
The thing is… I’ve never thought about what a “daddy” really is. I try to wrap my brain around it, and there’s nothing concrete for me to grab on to. I just know that there won’t be any of that disconnect that I had with my own father. I look forward to her calling me “dada” or “daddy” or whatever she wants to call me the first time she learns how to speak and wants my attention. I’m anticipating the day that she wants to jump into my lap and curl up with me just because she wants to be near me. I can’t wait until she buries her head into my chest because we’re watching a movie, and something scares her. I want to be there when she feels sad and needs something to make her day better. I want to be the kind of person that she’ll still call “daddy” on her wedding day.
Turns out all those other people were right after all. At least when it comes to me, anyway. Holding her in my arms, looking into her tiny little face, I feel different. Prior to her birth, I always felt like I didn’t think I could really handle having a child. I knew I was going to try my best, but ultimately, I was just going to be another one of those “fathers” out there who went about their business while their kid grew up. Now… I feel as though I could move mountains for her if she asked me to. All just because she’s here.
I can’t wait until she asks.