A few weeks ago, as I was waiting to meet a stranger on a streetcorner to buy a BabyBjörn (thanks, Craigslist!), I got to thinking about the strangeness of the prenatal phase in men. Consider this a pre-Father’s Day post.
Somewhere between the Jumperoo, the Björn (our second one), the sleepsacks and the Hanna Andersson clothes, I have become completely screwed up. Somewhere in my mind are other, more tantalizing things to buy and do: Nintendo, home theater, running, barbecues, MAN stuff. Yet these priorities are suddenly taking a backseat to miniature socks and “jumpers” (what the hell is a jumper, anyways?). I feel like a new part of my life has suddenly revealed itself, like a door at the end of the hall that I’ve never opened but always knew was there. I don’t mean this in a positive or surprising sense, mind you — it’s more like one day, I realized that I was going to be a father of twins, and I just started thinking that way.
At the same time, there are all sorts of new moral imperatives and weird quasi-doctrines running hrough my mind. I picture in my mind my children-to-be staring down at me from Heaven and giving either their prayers on my behalf, or, more likely, simply giving a play-by-play. The thought gives me comfort and at the same time it completely weirds me out. It’s pseudo-doctrine of the worst kind, like My Turn On Earth, which I hate, and yet I find comfort in it. Sigh.
Even worse, I’m worried that I’ll start giving a tinker’s cuss about abortion. I find myself interested in the notions of when spirit enters body, and I fear that soon I will begin to care about issues of late-term abortion, a woman’s right to choose, leche leaguers and so on. This vortex of cultural debate cliche looms in front of me like a black hole. Is there any hope??
Some people I know talk about how the prospect of becoming a father has softened them, chastened them and made them anew. Many of you have no doubt witnessed this change in me already. Joking aside, I do see a new life coming for me, and I’m not sure what it means. But I’m looking forward to it.