It's official - I'm going to be a dad ! Prior to this realization, the closest thing I've ever come to being a father is my apparent sense of humour and excessive use of what my friends like to refer to as "dad jokes". In the few short months since learning of my paternal fate I've learned a few new things that I thought I would share:
1. YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO BE NUMBER 1...AND IT'S OK.
Let me start off by stating that I don't want this to come off as one of those self-sacrificing statements - more on that later. Instead it's a realization I had that there are two people whose needs I both must and want to put before my own. The bebe for obvious reasons, but also Joy, since my biology prevents me from carrying a child.
Truth be told I don't think I ever put myself number one - again, more on that below. Now I know what you're thinking - "But Walker, what about your needs?!?" First, thank you for your consideration. Secondly, I fully realize the need to honour my own needs and wants. Nothing good comes from one sided relationships and I'm a big believer that everyone deserves to be a little selfish now and again. It's this very reason (amongst many others) that I know I've found the perfect life partner in Joy.
Just as I put her needs (and now the bebe's) before mine, I know she does the same for me. It's in this mutual selflessness that we've found a beautiful equilibrium of care, satisfaction and fulfillment.
The moral of this short story? The Bebe gets the best deal and is everyone's number 1. She wins this time...
P.S. Dad joke of the day: I heard there was a new store called Moderation. They have everything there.
2. THE LITTLE THINGS COUNT MORE THAN THEY DID BEFORE
There are a lot of things I do throughout the day that I give very little thought to. Perhaps it's my morning routine, or driving a familiar route, performing a routine task - you get the idea. While our routines may remain the same, we need to be aware of how our environment changes and the different effects our repetitive tasks may have as a result.
While its been business as usual for ME, things have certainly changed in Joy land. Our changing landscape has required me to do some new things as well as some things differently. Whether it's doing more of the grocery shopping, making a simple dinner or even sleeping on the other side of the bed - its changes in the little things that often yield the greatest results - and appreciation.
I can hear Joy's voice in my head as I write this: "Walker! You're making me sound like I don't do anything or that I'm demanding". Let me assure everyone reading this that Joy is neither of the above. Instead I'll draw your attention back to point 1 and that should explain it.
3. DON'T PROTECT - ADVOCATE
Since becoming pregnant I've been approached by many many people, some friends and family - others complete strangers, who feel the need to remind me that "You better take good care of her...blah blah blah". In the context of friends and family these statements are jokey and light-hearted, but when strangers started offering me the same advice, my first reaction was to be a bit insulted.
What makes these people think I'm not already taking care of her? Why the ominous threat of "or else"? I of course understand the good intentions of this kind of small talk and I'm over it 5 seconds later. But it had me thinking...
Is it my job to take care of Joy? To protect her? What about our little bebe girl? Then I read something that completely changed my perspective. It's really not my job to "protect" Joy, but instead my role is to advocate for her best interests, just as hers is to advocate for mine (again, see point 1). I can be far more effective by advocating on her behalf than I can be by protecting her.
Really, who do I have to protect her from? This isn't a superhero movie, I don't see any villains or dragons to slay - this is life in 2015. The most daunting thing I'll need to protect her from is a spider. I think the same will go for our bebe.
While the younger years will require me to protect her from the obvious (stairs, hot surfaces, etc.) my real job will be to advocate on her behalf to give her the best chance at an incredible life.
So there you have it - the 3 things I've learned so far. I'd love to hear your thoughts - comment below!