Posts Tagged ‘ first time parents ’

How We Told the Family

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Something else I’ve learned so far about being an expecting parent: People are intensely, genuinely excited when they hear the news.  Now that it’s gone viral (facebook), I have been blessed with all kinds of encouraging messages.

As well as some that crack me up:  A friend from high school said I will be a “fab dad” and that I should have a diaper bag with FAB DAD written alongside guitar-shaped flames.  And my 7th grade English teacher said, “You are like a mom… with testosterone.”

That’s brilliant.

But before the news could go public like it has this week, there was a point in time where we had to find a creative way to break the news to our family first.  It’s not something we wanted to do over the phone, if possible.

Conveniently, we had already planned to spend Easter weekend back in my hometown.  Even more convenient was that my mom’s birthday was exactly one week after Easter Sunday, so we found a way to make her birthday gift the news of the baby.

My wife found a tote bag with an insert on the front for a photograph.  With the sonogram in that slot, as well as a “grandparents’ brag book” inside the bag, we had our strategy ready.  The trickiest part was convincing my sister that she and her husband needed to be there at my parents’ house as soon as we got into town that Friday night at 9 PM.  Fortunately, she didn’t question my shady ways too much.

After the usual “settle in” conversations, I handed my mom’s gift to her, which was inside a larger gift bag.  She lifted up the bag from the bag.  It took about ten seconds.

Then her face dropped.  And the tears turned on instantly.  As to inform my dad, my sister, and her husband, my wife announced, “We havin’ a baby!”

It was everything we had hoped for during the four weeks we had to wait to tell them.  We received our “new parents hugs” in a joyous celebration.

My sister, noticing that my dad hadn’t said a word, asked him, “What do you have to say?”

He responded, “Speechless.”  And a little later: “I guess this means we’re gonna be spending a lot of gas money driving back and forth to Nashville.”  That means he’s really excited.  And again with the convenience thing, our child’s due date is on my dad’s birthday.  No way we could have planned that.

My wife had mailed a card and sonogram picture to her mom in Sacramento, with “do not open until you call me” written on the envelope.  Fortunately, it arrived just a few hours before we told my family.  So both sides of the family were able to find out the same day.

It’s not the kind of news a person can just announce to their closest family and friends through a facebook status.  It takes strategic planning.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:



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She’s Having a Baby

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

The word on the street is true.  And we couldn’t be any happier about it!

Three weeks ago my Mexican grandma (who has always been very religious-superstitious) called my sister, saying, “Do you have something to tell me?”


“Are you sure?  You don’t have anything to tell me?”

“Nnnnno…”  (more hesitantly than the first time)

“I had a dream.  I had a dream where I saw your grandfather in Heaven and he was so happy.  He was pushing a baby stroller.”

In other words, my grandma assumed the wrong grandchild.  She also told my sister about another dream she had where she saw “the most beautiful little girl in a rocking chair”.  We’ll know in about eight more weeks whether or not that second dream is true.

Something I never realized about finding out you’re going to be a first time parent is that it has to stay a secret for a while.  Long enough to make sure it’s not a false alarm.  Long enough to confirm with a doctor.  Long enough to get a sonogram.

We’ve known for over a month now.  It’s a huge secret to keep from the entire world for that long.  What a relief!  Hey, we’re having a baby!

Expected arrival is on my dad’s 54th birthday:  November 11th.

Obviously I’ve got a lot more to say about it all and I will continue to encounter plenty more as time goes on.  Therefore, this is the first of many in my new series I call “dad from day one”.  While it seems pretty easy to find material out there for expectant moms, not so much for expectant dads.

Expectant dads don’t encounter physical changes, but they do experience psychological ones.  In this new series I will be journaling the whole process, from the time we found out we’re having a baby, until… well I can’t say until the baby is born because that’s only the beginning.  And speaking of the beginning, when is day one?

Was it the day of conception?  The day we found out?  Today, the day I’m publicly telling everyone I haven’t already told in person or on the phone?  I don’t know.  Day One is the beginning of this new person I am becoming.

In the likeness of a TV show I’ve never seen but heard good things about, How I Met Your Mother, another goal of “dad from day one” is to create an archive for this kid to come.  To show him or her what was going through my head during all this.

Eighteen years ago, I was given a blank journal by a classmate from school as a Christmas present.  Inspired by my favorite cartoon show at the time, Doug, I remember my first entry:

“Dear Journal, I will be writing everyday so that in the future when I have kids of my own one day…”
Then I stopped.  I embarrassed myself with the phrase “kids of my own one day” because it wasn’t the way I actually talked.  It just seemed too weird.  I threw the journal in the garbage.

Here I am 18 years later, seven months away from the big day.  About to have a “kid of my own”.  Let’s do this thing.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:



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