Well, you did it! Can you believe it? Can you believe that there is a little human (or two...or three!) on this planet who gets to call you "Dad"? That you know how to change a diaper with one hand, while reaching for a wet wipe with the other? That you can swaddle a flailing baby in 5 seconds flat? That you can survive on 3 hours of sleep? That you can clam a baby who has been fed, changed and is fussing for absolutely no apparent reason? Can you believe how much love you have for your wife? For your child? How much harder and richer your life has become since the BIG DAY?
You see, from the first time I met you, I knew you had it in you.
I remember how you looked that day as we sat in your living room (or coffee shop). I could feel how badly you wanted to support your beautiful partner during birth, but you just didn't have a clue what that would look like. The more we talked about birth and what to expect, I first saw you get really nervous... you had NO IDEA it would entail all of THAT! But as we went on, I watched as you settled into and even welcomed this new role. You began to picture yourself loving and supporting your partner through contractions. You began to imagine yourself as a father. You thought about what kind of dad you wanted to be... and not be. You began to realize what this journey would require from you, and you met it with confidence and courage. You began to trust yourself.
Then the big day arrived. The look on your face when I walked in was a mixture of excitement, exhaustion, and total relief. I took in the energy of the room, sensing how the new mom was doing, and with one look, you and I connected. We spoke in hushed tones, glances and gestures for the duration of the birth. We ferried water and snacks, took turns replacing the cool cloth, rocked the peanut ball, squeezed her hips, and murmured words of encouragement. You were a rock star that day.
Each birth I attend teaches me something, and you taught me about love. Love is being right there while your child is being born. It is taking a cat nap sitting upright in a hospital chair, so you can have some energy when the baby comes. It is standing next to the bath tub, spraying her back with the shower and not mentioning how cold you are because you, too are getting wet. It is stepping out of the room for a quick snack with out disturbing her, knowing that the smell of your burger will make her vomit. Love is telling her she's doing an amazing job, when deep down you aren't certain that what is happening is a completely normal part of labor. Love is watching her give birth, and not be able to take away the pain, or fix it. It is simply being by her side, holding her hand, and breathing with her.
I often think of your grounding presence in the birth room and I want to say thank you. Thank you for going along with your wife when she said she wanted to hire a doula. ( A doula? What the hell is a doula?!) Thank you for trusting me, and being candid and honest as you prepared for this unknown event. Thank you for letting me be a witness to one of the most important days of your life. Mostly, thank you for just being you. It is because of all of these things, that I know you are a great dad.
I will forever cherish the moment I looked over and saw you fall in love with your child (and your partner, all over again!). I am humbled and in awe because of the power of the Lord, the fullness of His strength and the covering of His grace. Thank you for sharing this moment with me.
Click here to read the Mom Version.