Posts Tagged ‘ She’s Having a Baby ’

The First Time Dad at Age 29 Club

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

At 8:37 tonight, I will turn 29 years old.

I can think of three 29 year-old first time dads right off.  John Krasinski playing Jim Halpert on The Office.  Zack Braff’s character, Michael, in the movie The Last Kiss.  And Kevin Bacon playing Jake Briggs in the movie She’s Having a Baby.  And now I shall be among them.

Of course, I’m not an actor or a character in a movie or TV show.  But it’s natural  to look at them and think, “Hey, I can relate to them. And if they can pull it off… so can I.”

I have a habit of subconsciously giving myself reassurance based on the lives of actors and fictional characters.  The truth is, we all do.  I admit I used the characters of Stephanie Tanner (from Full House) and Winnie Cooper (from The Wonder Years) as the standard of the girl I wanted to marry.

Mission accomplished.  My wife is a fun-loving all-American middle child from northern California (like Stephanie Tanner) and sweet, respectful, and passionate (like Winnie Cooper).  I can’t deny that my personal life is affected by fiction.

So I put myself in the shoes of the average guys I see on my TV screen every week.  I am average, like them.  Arguably normal, like them.  Clueless to fatherhood, like them.

And from what I’ve learned so far about being a first time parent is this: Being clueless is sort of the whole point.  No one actually knows what they’re doing.  It’s a character building experience, just like marriage.

I think of this banking commercial that was airing a few months back.  A first time dad brings his newborn home and holding the baby up to his eye level he says, “I know.  It’s not about me anymore.”

Yes, my life as I know it is ending.  In November I will begin Life: The Sequel.  I will instantly be transformed from Married Guy to Married Guy With a Baby.  Totally cool with me.

Because I can easily admit that the transition from Single Guy to Married Guy has done nothing but make me a better person.  I’m less self-centered and more easy going because I have less personal expectations to be met.  My expectations revolve around someone else, as a Married Guy.  I am a helper and a partner.  I don’t mind those roles.

So how much more will I improve in my journey of becoming a more giving person once the baby gets here?  I can only imagine: that much more.

Born into this world as a baby who was completely dependent on others for everything, I have spent 29 years learning to do things on my own, having no choice but to realize it’s not all about me, more and more each day.

I had nay sayers trying to warn me before I got married how much I would miss the single days of answering to no one.  But almost two years into being married, I don’t feel that way at all.  I was not cut out to be a Single Guy.  So glad those days are over.

While I am fully aware that having a baby changes everything, I welcome this change.  What good would it do to spend the next five or ten years just trying to save up money to try to afford to have a kid? I would never reach that point of affordability or personal readiness.

I was married at age 27, the average age for an American man to be married.  And I couldn’t find Internet research to back it up, but I would have to assume that it’s safe to say that age 29 is the average age of a married, first time dad.  Despite my overawareness of my own quirkiness, I live a pretty normal life.

And that’s what I want.  A normal life.  Dirty diapers and all.

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

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

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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?”

“No…”

“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:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

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