If all goes well, then somewhere around November 20th I will become the father of a little baby girl. Much can change as the universe ebbs and flows, but I hold hope that all will be well and that time will flow smoothly. There is nothing unique about the new fork that will present itself with the birth of my child; humans procreate as an essential part of the life cycle. There is nothing new beneath the moon and stars. However, it is a milestone that I never expected to reach, nor is it a road that I felt I wanted to walk until I met and married her mother. Children were for other people, and I had my career, travel, money, photography, motorcycles and intellectual pursuits to occupy me beyond my available time. I have lived a spectacular and rich life full of struggle and victory through sheer willpower. So now what? And then what?
I would never regret or change anything that I have experienced. I have met wonderful people, I have met mean souls lost on the way to self-destruction. I have been saved by some only to lose them to the tempest of unexpected floods and fires. But none of that truly matters once our child exists; she will become the reason I take action. She will become what I protect until she chooses her own journey’s path. However, no matter how much she needs from me, I will never abandon the three little dogs or surrender the love I give to them each day, I will not forget the love I share with my wife, nor will I forsake my own identity. I will not become the father who mutters “I could have been this…if only…”. I will not regret the early nights or the 1st world travel. Why? Perhaps it is because I will now have a little person to fill with the experiences, imagination and laughter that I could only share with my students. Students who leave me from one year to the next and for whom I am “that teacher”.
I am not excited. I do not really ever feel that emotion, but I am joyous and cautiously interested. I know all that can go wrong, so I hope for all that can go right. I do not worry about cooking, cleaning, taking care of others or not getting sleep – I do those things now. Instead, I am intrigued and anticipatory. Christmas can become magical again; all of my strange skills can serve to amuse my daughter and build a strong sense of family. Will she think I am cool? Who cares…I am cool, but she will hold her own opinions and make her own choices based on the world I show her and the way I model my own life.
At the Rorion Gracie seminar, he spoke about modelling a healthy life for our children; a life where parents are vibrant and never become a burden of worry and care for their children due to poor health that was preventable. I have two months to reformat my self-care so that I will still be able to dance, sing, roll jiu-jitsu, and do all of the other things hope their fathers can do…I just have to do them until I am past 65 years old.Life is an amazing journey through darkness and into the light. Next stop: fatherhood. Grab your bags and check to make sure you have not left your passport behind.