Fear, Excitement and Anxiousness as Fatherhood Approaches

There are moments in life for which perfect preparation is impossible – moments where, no matter how much effort and energy you put into getting your world ready for its alteration, it is impossible to truly be ready for just how dramatic the change you are about to experience will be. I am standing at the precipice of that kind of change. I’m having a boy, my first child. I am approaching fatherhood.

When the Mrs. and I first found out we were having a child, I immediately went on one of those mommy sites and created a calendar based on our due date. The calendar essentially outlines day by day tidbits and important notes based on where you are in your pregnancy. I pretty much check it daily. Today’s update:

“Babies born now are considered full term.”

How exciting is that? It’s essentially saying he can come any minute now. Obviously, with such a major event staring me in the face, I’ve got a ton on my mind. Today I want to share with you all a few of the unadulterated, uncensored thoughts running through this expectant father’s brain.

5. The Sins Of The Father

“If the prophecy’s correct, then the child should have to pay, for the sins of the father so I barter my tomorrows against my yesterdays…” ~Jay-Z

My father has been gone for almost twenty years. Still, sometimes, when the sun is at my back at just the right angle and I catch a glimpse of the shadow’s gait in front of me, I see him and it scares me. At no time in my life have I ever thought more about all the wrong I’ve done than I have as I’ve awaited the arrival of my son. I don’t mean this in the Old Testament, biblical sort of way… I mean it in a practical and pragmatic sort of way. My son will watch me and in doing so, I hope the best parts of me soak in. But it is inevitable that at some point he’ll become acquainted with the parts of me I fight against. These last few months I’ve spent more time than I care to admit thinking about how my shortcomings will show themselves in my son. Just how close to the tree will the apple fall?

4. I Want To Meet My Son.

“To be a successful father… there’s one absolute rule: when you have a kid, don’t look at it for the first two years.” ~Ernest Hemingway

Right now everything in our life is about preparing our world for this little man whom I’ve never met. He’s this little thing, this little omniscient presence impacting everything we do without ever having been seen. He exists, we know he’s there, he kicks and punches and gets the hiccups, and we drop what we’re doing to pay attention to him in futile attempts at ascertaining his unascertainable motivations. Still, I have yet to meet him. All of this thought and preparation for someone I’ve never met is a bit surreal. It’s impossible to explain to you how out-of-this-world it feels to have a person be this here but not really here.

Sometime soon, there’s going to come a moment when he goes from being something I’m imagining to something I can touch and hold. Sometime soon, I’ll be able to attach a face to the little guy that has so dominated my thoughts these last 9 months. I can’t wait for that. And looking out further into the future – I can’t wait to meet my son as an adult. To sit down with him, man to man – loving each other as only a father and is son can.

3. What Will His Personality Be Like?

“A man knows when he is growing old because he begins to look like his father.” ~Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not at all into horoscopes. But as far as predicting what the little homey’s personality will be like, that’s really all I have. Here’s what the stars say about an Aries men:

Let’s start with a disclaimer: you might not like what you hear. Or, you might just shout “finally!” The Aries man has a very specific, grand and demanding vision for his ultimate relationship. In life, he orders everything customized to his tastes, and those tastes are very particular. He may not subconsciously realize that human beings, imbued with things like personalities and free will, can’t conform to his fantasies on demand. He’d rather just find that “needle in the haystack” relationship, the impossible dream come true. When he finds that, he gives it every ounce of his being. He turns off the selfish switch and pours on the giving. So why would he do that for just anyone?

The Aries man is great at either having lots of sex with lots of different people, or being completed devoted to one woman. Nothing in between. He’s too impatient to master the finer points of courtship. It doesn’t even occur to him. The Aries man is endearingly authentic to a fault. Even if he’s dating multiple women when you meet, he’ll just tell you outright. Although it may seem crude, his open-book policy can actually create a space of greater trust.

On a more personal level – I wonder whether he’ll be more like me, or more like his mom. The Mrs. is very chill, laid back – until you get on her bad side. She’s a generally kind hearted and good natured woman. She feels things, deeply and passionately. She likes to do… stuff. Me, I’m an extroverted introvert. I’d probably rather be home chillin, but if I’m out, I’m gonna be the life of the party. I can be a bit cold at times, but I can also be loving and tender when I want to be. How will our personalities come together in him. Will he be a mama’s boy (please Lord, no), will he love sports like I do? What about women – will he be a ladies man? What if he happens to play for the other team? How might I handle that?  And what will he look like? Will he have her forehead and my nose? My eyes, her mouth. I have this stupid little dimple thing in my chin… is he gonna have one of those too? Both of us are a pretty short… where will his height max out? All these sorts of things run through my mind constantly and all will be answered in due time.

2. What Is Like To Love Unconditionally?

“If the relationship of father to son could really be reduced to biology, the whole earth would blaze with the glory of fathers and sons” ~James Baldwin

I’ve always believed that love was a choice. Love for me, isn’t so much something you feel as much as it’s something you decide to wake up every day and do. The kind of love folks say they feel is really just a smattering of emotions that come and go, changing – sometimes with the seasons. It’s not really love. I want to know what it’s like to be incapable of not loving someone. I want to know what it’s like to love someone from the moment you set your eyes on them. I think i’m going to feel that when my son comes. I hope I do.

1. I Am Afraid Of Dying.

“In the little world in which children have their existence, whosoever brings them up, there is nothing more finely perceived or finely felt as injustice.” ~Charles Dickens

I’ve never been afraid of death. I realize that it’s pretty popular for black men to say they aren’t afraid of anything. We grow up hearing our favorite rappers say things like “I  fear no man but God,’ and naming their albums ‘Ready To Die’. Fear, in our community is loathsome – anti-masculine. But my lack of fear – as it relates to death – was not born out of some sort of unhealthy adolescent idolatry. I never feared death because I came to know it… intimately.  I’ve seen death, been as close to it without it actually being me as one possibly can and the thing that’s stuck with me most from being so close to it has always been its inevitability. We’re all going to die and there’s no way around that.  I’ve always had this feeling in the back of my mind, an inkling that my time on this Earth might not be too long. This preoccupation with death has never been severe enough to significantly alter how I approach living, but the thought has always been there, nagging. When I first got married I told my wife how I wanted my funeral and what to do with her life should I meet an unexpected but unsurprising end.

Everything is different now. I’m afraid of dying – not for me, but for my son. So much of who I am has been constructed around what I’ve lost. And while I’ve always loved the me that has been wrought from the absences I’ve endured, I don’t want the foundation of my son’s personality to be based on him getting over me. I don’t want his pride to be built on how he survived. I don’t want him to wonder what unconditional love feels like. I want him to grow and reach his full emotional potential. And long after I’m gone, when the sun is setting at his back, I want him to look down at the gait of the shadow cast before him – see me – and smile. I want to live – for him – and that desire has created a fear in me that previously never existed. And you know what … I’m ok with that.

My son is on the way y’all. I’m going to be a father. Pray for me and also pray for the world because only lord knows whether or not it’s ready for Lil’ Sprads. With less than one month left to go till his arrival – I’m telling myself the same thing I’m always telling you …

stay low and keep firing.

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