This blog is all about shifting perspective. It originated with that life-changing diagnosis, which has continued to be an important lens in my life. Just last month I had my latest checkup at Dana Farber; six years, cancer free. It’s hard to believe that much time has passed.
That lens will always be important. And now I’ve got a new one to add to my kit. One that I am certain will let a whole new light in, to see the world in a different way: fatherhood.
Okay, lots of drama. It was in the title for crying out loud. But honestly, just writing that word—fatherhood—gives me goosebumps. In just six weeks I’m going to be a dad, and that is f’n crazy. Don’t get me wrong, this was all part of the plan. My wife and I knew we wanted to have kids. Parents that I talked to would tell me, you’ll know when you’re ready. And I definitely feel ready.
Recently I was caught chatting with a friend who is a dad about how to make our own baby food. A coworker, and mother of two, overheard and stopped us in the middle, stunned and impressed to hear two dads having this sort of conversation.
Baby food aside, there’s some pretty raw matter being formed right now in my head and heart. Already we had our first scare; a complication pretty early on in the pregnancy. Going in for an emergency ultrasound was actually the scariest moment in my life, I think. Waiting, hand-in-hand with my wife, to see on the screen that little heart beating. My own cancer diagnosis was a walk in the park compared to this. Fortunately, everything turned out just fine.
Now the delightful anticipation continues. What a gift it is, to be able to bring a child into the world. I can’t wait to meet you. Will you be a girl or a boy? That’s the first question, right? But much more important, who will you really be? What sort of person?
What a responsibility. There’s the physical taking care of you part, which I’m sure will be plenty of work, but then there is the shaping of a human being. That feels like a whole other level of responsibility.
I’ll do my best to help you grow into the person you are supposed to be, not the person I think you should be. I have hopes, sure. I hope you will be a caring person. I hope you will learn to be empathetic, from your mother especially. I worry about the world you will be born into. It is a beautiful place. And yet so many people struggle everyday. We are fortunate.
My primary concern will always be your future. That means I need to be concerned with the future of our planet and everyone else on it too. I want to teach you Ubuntu: I am because we are. This will be truer than ever for me. I am, because you are. I am yours. You are because we are and because everyone else is.
I try to be a better global citizen, but we’re only just beginning to see our life that way. Even when I was younger, we were not so connected to each other. As the world gets fuller, with more people, it also gets smaller. How small it will be when you grow up. We cannot forget how fortunate we are. We have to give back, always. Because in the end, we didn’t really earn all of this. It belongs to everyone. Our fate was partially decided by the place we were born.
The road ahead will be full of turns and bumps, I’m sure. I can’t predict what will come and so I can’t say how I’ll respond. But as I’ve written about earlier, I can be fully present. That, in and of itself, will be so important. In the sleepless nights, the long days—I will be present for you.