The Magical Moment
Checking in at the triage ward of the Women and Children’s hospital is a moment of reckoning for a man. It means you’ve arrived with the mother of your child to bring said child into the world. If all goes well, you’ll leave that hospital not as a pair, but as a trio. There will be a physical part of both of you—flesh and blood—alive and in need of you from there forward.
And there you are, man, not the usual patient that comes into the triage ward at any given moment of the day. You are there as support, both moral and physical. You are there as the other half. The responsible party. You are, in essence, the one that caused all of this, and so yes, you sure as hell better be there.
You’re excited, you’re scared. You’re puzzled, too. Concerned, but still about yourself, your own needs. When can I eat? Did I pack enough shorts? How long will we actually be here? And then you meet Anne Marie. Stacey. Leilani. Labor and delivery nurses that have seen and done it all, and they will ask for you, Dad, when they need you, m’kay?
Dad. That’s right. YOU ARE THE DAD. And you will be the dad very soon. You will soon hold your new son or daughter in your arms, you will coo and cry, you will be delirious with exhaustion, elation; you will be bewildered with love. It will all make sense to you in that moment. This little being is the person you and your wife have been waiting for, preparing for. Your wife however, has known this little angel from early on. She’s been feeding it, sleeping with it, giving it her blood and oxygen, talking to it, bathing with it, walking it around the house, taking it on trips all this time. She’s been a mother since the magical moment, and though you’ve technically been the father since that moment, too, YOU, Dad, can now spring into action.
So, this is all you now. Everything you’ve built, installed, painted, those new clothes and devices, the tubes and bottles and cannisters and packages, you will open, change, refill, wash, and replenish them. You will go get the food and the supplies and place the orders. You’ve been waiting to steer this new ship, and here you finally are, at the helm, next to Captain, because, guys, she’s still in charge. You my friend, are now the first mate, cook, and deck swab.
Did you enjoy that burrito you ate alone before you went to the hospital? It was your last as a man. You are now a father.