A little more than three years ago, my wife surprised me with the news that we were expecting a baby. In just a few short months, I was going to be a dad. [cue head explosion]
Finding out that you’re going to be a parent is like seeing the band KISS without makeup. Nothing can prepare you for it and the experience leaves you permanently changed.
That night, as I was trying to fall asleep, my brain was in overdrive. I got up, sat at my computer and typed what you see below. I never considered sharing this with anyone, but something hit me yesterday. Feeling nostalgic, I pulled it out of the archives. What lies below are the late night ramblings of a pre-parent version of Brandon…
Sunday, July 24, 2016
When I think back on what I found out today, I can’t keep my thoughts from drifting toward God’s sneeze. See, when we imagine the creation story, we conjure these mental pictures of God at his drafting table planning out the wonder which will be the heavens, the earth, generations of humans and the Playstation 4. For something so wonderful and marvelous, surely God spent a lifetime working toward that first of six days he spent creating everything we know. In reality, of course, we have no idea. Maybe all of life is a cosmic-scale Tamagotchi that God plays with in the back of his parents’ minivan. I know this isn’t theologically sound, but I think it’s a fair question to ask, especially when we consider our own role within creation, or more specifically, our ability to affect our own lives and the lives of others.
I really like this mental picture of God. There he is, standing quietly by himself in a vast vacuum of nothingness, and then suddenly feeling a tickle in his nose. Without warning, he sneezes a messy pile of cosmic mucus and snot bubbles in the empty void. What’s fascinating to me is not the idea that it was an accident, but that this seemingly inconsequential action started a chain reaction still continuing in present day, millions of years later. He could have cleaned it up with his sleeve (I like to picture him wearing a kimono), but instead, something about this mess captured his imagination. He watches his boogers take orbit thanks to a newly-generated gravitational pull. Is that when he realized existence had new meaning? Is that when he realized he had purpose? Is that when he understood his responsibilities? Granted, I’ve never been inspired by my facial secretions per se, but today I started to understand what it must be like to discover a grander purpose from a seemingly inconsequential action.
Simply put, a God sneeze moment happened to me today. Sonja graciously requested that she pick out a movie to watch this afternoon. After spending a few minutes in the movie closet, I worried what she might come back with. We laugh about our different tastes in movies. Well, not just different, but opposite. The general equation for finding a suitable shared movie experience is for us both to compromise on what we really want to watch to finding something for which we can both amicably settle.
She didn’t disappoint. She came back with a selection of movies that was random to the point of distracting. She stood over me as I flipped through the stack she handed me. Meet the Parents, Knocked Up, Love Actually, a season of How I Met Your Mother we never opened because we didn’t like it when it aired on TV the first time, and a season of Modern Family. I literally could only think about how random these were. I stared at them, shuffled them in my hands a few times. I thought about the fact we had just watched Knocked Up, and how we could just as easily watch How I Met Your Mother or Modern Family on Hulu. I pulled out Meet the Parents because that’s the only one that had some merit. I held it up and said, well, I guess I would be okay with this one.
“So you pick Meet the Parents?” she asked.
“Well, what if I told you we were going to be parents?” She smiled and pulled out a hidden pregnancy test that she was hiding behind her back. In that split second, and I don’t know why, I looked immediately at her stomach for visual proof. She’d probably be happy to find out I didn’t see any.
I was caught completely off guard. Wow! If my completely anti-theological theory on the creation of the universe is correct, I imagine I felt like God did. In that single moment while Sonja presented me with a stick she had peed on not too many hours before, I felt us get sucked into the next stage of our lives. We were on our way to be a family. Oh! That’s why she picked the movies she did. It had just dawned on me.
It was a great way to learn we were expecting, and I was actually quite impressed that Sonja was able to pull out such a topical list of movies for the rouse.
From there, I went through the typical list of questions. Are you sure? Are you really sure? Like really, are you sure? How long? Did it happen when we were on vacation? Really?
That’s right, we most likely got pregnant immediately after we stopped using birth control. Dang, we’re really good at getting pregnant. We need to keep that in mind.
Sonja sat in my lap and we downloaded The Bump app on my phone. Doing mental math, we thought about how old the fetus might be.
(Side note: is there any term less cute than fetus? Even something like “fetette” would at least conjure the hint of a pleasant image.)
Of course, we’re amateurs, so we did our best to calculate that the baby must be about four or five weeks. According to The Bump, that would make the baby about the size of an appleseed. And man, did it look disgusting at this stage. It’s really nothing more than a weird tail thing and a bulbous mass with some darkish spots that I hope will eventually become eyes.
We went out to eat tonight (Indian) and talked about everything, but mostly we kept going back to how strange and unreal it feels to know that we’re going to be parents. After all, our parents were about our age when they had us. Growing up, I remember feeling like my parents were the smartest, most capable people I knew. Now that I’m that same age, I realize they were probably just as clueless as I am now. It’s amazing how perspective changes everything.
Sonja also took time to explain to me that she found out we were pregnant yesterday, but man, I was in a mood. We were scheduled to watch our nieces for the night, and I was a little annoyed for some reason. I don’t know if I could really explain why – maybe because I was overtired or I was afraid I couldn’t keep control of the girls the way I needed to. For whatever reason, I was just in a bad mood. Poor Sonja was afraid to say something to me then. That was probably for the best. Good call.
As we go through this pregnancy, I’m sure there will be a wide range of feelings, thoughts and observations about the process, so I’m planning to keep track of everything as we go. Of course, I write something like this on the first page of every journal I start, and to date, I have never made it to page two. If I remember to write something tomorrow, it will be a personal record.
To my own surprise, I did actually write again the next night and the night after that. I ended up documenting pretty much every day throughout my wife’s pregnancy. I may end up sharing more of them here.
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