When I came home today after working out, I saw what looked like the results of a baby nursery explosion in our living room. Turns out that it was the explosion of the basement of some friends of ours who are moving and left us some of their baby stuff (Thanks, K & S...that's a lot of very useful stuff!). For those of you who missed the first post about the baby, the details are:
My wife and I are in the process of adopting a baby from China. We recently became DTC (Dossier To China), and expect to travel there to pick her (p(girl)=±.98) up on April 20 (with a SD of 8 days). We have a nursery, although I prefer to call it the "baby's room" because I just can't stomach living in a house with a room called the "nursery". The crib and dresser are assembled, the clothes are starting to accumulate (thank you, e-bay for the hand-me-downs), and some of the toys are prominently displayed. (We've known for a long time that we're adopting, and in the absence of the physiological changes associated with biological child-acquisition, accumulating kid-stuff early helps us psychologically prepare for her arrival.)
But I wasn't quite prepared for my reaction to the K & S basement-explosion in our living room. Baby gates, bibs, and swim noodles everywhere. It propelled a change in my thinking. A paradigm shift, if you will. I used to think, "We're going to be the parents of a baby." Now it's more like, "A baby is going to live. HERE!"
I mean, sure, I knew it before but now I think I know it, if you know what I mean. The cliché is that parenthood is scary. But I have always read that cliché as meaning that it's scary because of the overwhelming responsibility that you're not sure you can live up to. But it's almost the opposite for me. I'm pretty sure I'll be a good parent. I mean, I have a lot to learn, but I think I understand kids well most of the time, and I think I know what it takes to be a good parent, and I know I'll live up to it. But that's what's so scary. So much of my life will be changing. And I like my life. I like my hobbies; I like spending time alone and with my wife; I like sleeping. And so much of that will be subject to change. I'll still do some of them, of course, but not in the quantities I like. It's the loss of my comfort with my life that's scary, not the possibility that I'll fail as a parent.
I realize I shouldn't be so attached to the activities of my life. Attachments create desire, and desire causes suffering. And all that other Zen. And I'm sure S (of basement-explosion fame) is 100% right when he says it's all worth it the first time you see your baby grin at you and say "daddy". When that happens, I very well may lose it and (yes, I admit it) tear up. And yet...cliché or not...parenthood is scary.