I was a biological father when I was sixteen years old. At the time, I was far too self-centered and inexperienced to be able to marvel at the miracles of birth. I don’t mean this in a spiritual “gift from God” sense, but rather the very practical miracles of all the little things that happen to a woman and a growing fetus, as well as the things that happen after birth: nursing makes a woman’s uterus contract, for example. I’ve learned a lot about the human body during the pregnancy, and I expect I’ll learn a lot more as I watch my daughter grow up.
I’ve been a step-dad to two different sets of kids now. And while that’s very rewarding in many ways, there’s always a bit of a gulf between the kids and I that will never truly be removed. I’m not their parent in the same way that their biological parents are. I’ve longed to raise my own flesh and blood for quite some time now, and I’m absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to grow with Josephine.
I’ve watched a number of friends have babies in years past, and like many people I’ve felt a mild sense of unease as I hold their little ones. The thought running through my head was always “Oh no, what if I drop this baby?!” As I held my own daughter for the first time, that thought never entered my mind: I would not drop my daughter, so the “what if” was a complete non-issue.
It amazes me that I can sit and do nothing more than stare at my daughter, and yet feel complete contentment. Feeling her squirm against my body as I hold her, hearing her gurgle after she nurses, or just listening to her soft breath as she sleeps in her bassinet next to us: these are things that make all else slide away, if only for a little while. If I were a poet, I’d have inspiration for innumerable poems.
We are fortunate to have a healthy baby, and while I am usually loathe to use the term, we are truly blessed.