Wednesday, January 5th, 2011
Something I had always been acutely aware of is that when two people have a baby, there’s a good solid 6 weeks that go by where you stop seeing them in public. But shortly after that, the couple begins to dare to make random public appearances. Like last week, we attempted to take Jack with us to buy groceries. Really, there’s no need for me to paint the details of that story; if you can imagine it, that’s what happened. Therefore, today I went alone to buy groceries. It took just as long being that I’m a guy and we, the male species, don’t have instincts to tell us things like where to find vanilla extract or even at our own house where the cutting boards go in the kitchen.
But with me still not having a job yet and with the cold winter weather, the three of us have spent a lot of time indoors. Now I know what it’s like to be a 29 year-old retired millionaire who gets to stay at home all day in his pajamas and eat cereal for lunch. Minus the million dollars and plus the need to actually make a living. So after a month of constantly looking online for jobs and applying, and taking care of Jack, and watching random documentaries instantly on Netflix through the Wii, we decided we were brave enough to take Jack to church for the first time; out of the womb.
Of course, despite giving ourselves plenty of time to get there early, Jack decided he wanted one last snack of milk right as we were heading out the door. Then we had to change his diaper. So we arrived 10 minutes late and the only place left to sit was up in the balcony. This turned out to be a pretty good location though; since we were right next to the door for the moment he would inevitably start crying. He lasted 35 minutes before we had to dart for the door with him. We were impressed.
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Thursday, December 30th, 2010
Maybe somewhat surprisingly, I am a proud Country music fan- though I’m ultimately a Dave Matthews Band/Guster/John Mayer/Bruce Springsteen/Tom Petty kind of guy.
In the past few weeks, in the midst of leaving our lives behind in Nashville and entering uncertainty and a current status of “in between jobs” in Alabama, not having much to do but constantly search for jobs and take care of our baby, the lyrics to a Country song by Andy Griggs from 1999 keep coming to my mind: “I promise you now, you won’t ever be lonely.”
Though the song is obviously written from the perspective of a man in love with a woman, looking forward to spending the rest of his life with her, the lyrics now speak to me in a different way:
“You’re safe from the world wrapped in my arms and I’ll never let go. Baby, here’s where it starts and I promise you now you won’t ever be lonely. Here’s a shoulder you can cry on and a love you can rely on. For as long as I live
there will always be a place you belong.”
But while the words to this song obviously make perfect sense in the perspective of me speaking to my child, they actually are more relevant to me in this mindset: I won’t ever be lonely. Not just him. But I won’t ever be lonely.
I am better able to understand now why there are so many pregnant teenagers and why MTV’s 16 and Pregnant is such a popular show- because so many kids today are lonely.
(I am under the crazy notion that a good number of pregnant teens and extremely young parents are not getting pregnant simply because of the careless lack of birth control, but instead because they subconsciously want to be have a baby in a attempt to be loved by someone.)
So many daughters have never been told by their fathers that they are beautiful. So many sons have never heard their father tell them “I’m proud of you”. Having a baby definitely changes the lonely factor in many ways. Even if the 19 year-old father who works for minimum wage at the oil change place bales on her soon after the baby is born- at least that young mother will always have someone depending on her.
Granted, I haven’t been lonely in a long time. But I can easily remember it. It can be painful; literally. Last week I watched a National Geographic documentary on solitary confinement where I learned that loneliness is processed in the same part of the brain as pain. I can easily remember being 20 years old, feeling lost, out of place, an unmatched. I wondered for the next five years if I would be like the actor who played Mr. Belvedere, who never married or had children his whole life. But at age 25, my wife and I met each other and those heavy and desperate thoughts of loneliness haven’t entered my mind in over four years.
Now at age 29, I am the opposite of lonely. I have a wonderful wife and a beautiful and hilarious baby son that I will always matter to. And I have a feeling that the older our son Jack gets, the more attention and energy of mine that he will require. At least until he reaches 7th grade and gets too cool for me.
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