It was a great night. I came home from work to find Michelle had made me my favorite meal consisting of chicken cordon bleu, alfredo noodles and garlic bread. Afterwards she had a present for me. Now up to this point I still had to idea what was about to hit me. Every now and then, to tell each other how much we love and appreciate the other or to reward the other for a recent achievement, we will make a special meal just for them, give a little gift and write a little note. I thought this was just another one of those nights and was very grateful for it.
I opened my present, which was a Steeler shirt, and on top was a note that read, “I got you this because you are a great husband.” A great big smile grew on my face. Then I noticed there was something else underneath a layer of tissue paper in the same box. I lifted it back and found a Steeler onesie with a note that read, “I got you this because you are going to be a great daddy.” I had to remember to breath.
I was in shock. Totally blown away and speechless. I had a tidal wave of emotion wash over me. I embraced Michelle and thanked her. I told her how much I loved her and what a great job she did getting pregnant. Thinking back now, it sounds ridiculous saying “You did a great job getting prego,” but somehow it seemed right at the time.
Unknown to me at the time, this was news that would change me as a person. When first told, I was very excited. Feeling ready for a baby and starting our family was something we had talked about many times before. Also, we weren’t exactly trying to be “careful” during what I understand as “…in the good times…” of our wedding vows (wink, wink, woof, woof, hubba, hubba).
Quickly after my excitement calmed, reality started to set in and my mind turned to our bank account. Was there enough there to support a child? After the bank account, my mind turned to our house. Is it big enough for all of us? After the house, my mind turned to what ultimately worried me most. Am I going to be good enough? A good enough dad? A good enough mentor? A good enough provider? A good enough protector? A good enough boo-boo band-aider? A good enough goofy face maker? A good enough anything?
At times I could see Michelle was having these same thoughts, so to pick her up, as well as take my mind off myself, I repeatedly told her she would be a great everything. As her baby bump grew, so it seemed did her confidence in herself and abilities. Me, on the other hand, just tried to keep busy with readying the house to keep my mind off of the mountain of responsibility that was awaiting me just a few layers of flesh deep in Michelle’s tummy.
Art the time, Michelle was already a good few weeks into her pregnancy, so we decided we would tell our families on Thanksgiving. This meant we had to hold onto our little secret for six days. it was the longest six days ever. We tried our best to stay away from our families and not talk to them at all leading up to Thanksgiving, fearful we may give something away. When we told them the news you would have thought we gave them a million dollars. Right away we knew Ava would have a great support base.
In the quiet times by myself, my mind automatically drifted to Ava and our new family. All the good times ahead and hopefully the less frequent times where things aren’t so tranquil. The new experiences. The joy of being together. At the time I didn’t know what type of dad I would be. All I knew was that I wanted to be good dad. Someone for Ava to look up to and realize that I was the type of man she wanted to be with one day. How could I be successful at this? Who knows, there is no book.
All I knew is that I had the steadfast will and motivation to want to be a good dad. I took confidence in knowing that, no matter what, I would put my family first and always be there for them. To do whatever needed to be done. To provide for them, protect them and see to their happiness. Since Ava has been born, so far, so good. Though I still have many years and tests ahead. Bring it on.