But this morning, something changed.
I'm sure the same thing happened to millions of new fathers across the globe in countless cultures. Instead of the job being something that used me, I started to look at the job as something I can use. The role I have at the office is NOW just a minor part of my life. Although I still love every single second of my work, it no longer carries the same meaning. (I'm not trying to be profound here, I'm just saying what I feel.) Nary a sane man can look at these photos and not feel the same way I do.
Nat sent me a few photos and a video from her day today and it made me ache to be home. I'm sure this 'newness' will eventually wear off, but right now, I can't stand to be away. Where I work is like no other place on earth, but after the past few weeks, I've come to realize that it just a job - a great job at that, but what really counts is a happy and healthy wife and daughter.
Like I've said elsewhere previously, we've only had her for a small time, but I couldn't imagine life without her. However, in those 2+ weeks, there are a few things I discovered that I enjoy and a few, well, not so much. As a waymarker down the path of fatherhood, here's my list 2 weeks in.
Good: The pureness in her. I've never been associated with something so wonderful and pure. She lights up my life (even with all the spit up and diapers - more on that below). After talking with (at least) one dad about the 'connection' that appears and grows between fathers and children, I'm pleased to report that we're well down that path.
Good: Diaper changing. I really don't shy away from changing her diapers. Maybe it is the 'process' part of my brain, but if all the supplies are there, I'll change a diaper any day of the week. The movements, the subtleties, the purpose - I envision myself in some sort of diaper 'pit row'. I think I can take most other "new" dads.
Good: Moving cars/strollers. Didn't take me long to figure this one out: babies like movement. Being the middle of winter, our stroller isn't getting put through its proper paces, but I've made sure to move the dining room table over a bit so I can scoot by with her strapped in. A few minutes of rolling around and she usually settles down.
Good: Portability. I'm aware that this will, indeed, change, but for now, the babe is incredibly portable. 2 dinners out already and she sleeps (in her car seat) right through them. Pre-tay, pre-tay, pre-tay nice.
Bad: The guilt. With a breast-feeding wife, I'm working with a serious resource limitation. The tools at my disposal are the basics: changing of diapers, bouncing around, and a tight swaddle. I can't give as much to the babe as Nat can - and I know that will change - but for now, it feels like I'm not pulling my full weight.
Bad: The lack of response. Sure, I get a few smiles, but for the most part, that's just gas. If she's clean, full, and not too cold, all is well. But that's about all that matters now. I yearn for the day when I can make her (genuinely) smile and react to the world and to me.
In Between: Baby farts. No one told me about these! Maybe my girl is more gaseous than most, but she is LOUD and forceful. Kinda funny, but kinda not.