Mr. Momming it

Mr. MomThere will be no washing machines overflowing with laundry soap; no kitchen messes so vast the children are lost; no poker using coupons or exploding ramen noodles.

Today is my first day home alone with Sierra. I begin my paternity leave. It promises to be a special time, sitting in the house, alone with Sierra during her last days without daycare and my last days of vacation until next year.

And if I said I wasn’t a little nervous, I’d be lying.

No. Nervous is too strong. I’m not expecting mass disaster, or any other stereotypical “man watching the kids” type of bull honkey. I’m no Michael Keaton. I’ve got a lot of skill over Mr. Mom. So no, I’m not nervous

Apprehensive, maybe. Not of my ability to do it, but of my ability to do it right. I mean, how hard can it be? I understand the basic steps in taking care of a child – after all, I’ve been doing it after work and on the weekends for the past two months. But there are subtleties that I’m sure I’m missing – the kinds of subtleties that Kerrie was able to glean from of constant attention and undying dedication over her maternity leave.

Now, here I am. Alone. With Sierra.

It’s wonderful, actually. It’s the joy of parenthood mixed with the joy of a day off. I’m still in my pajamas. Sierra finally fell asleep after her bath and is now rocking gently in her swing. She’ll eat when she gets up, and then we’ll go run some errands. It’s all in the name of stay-at-home-fatherhood, and I’ll have to admit, over these last few hours I’ve really gotten to enjoy it.

Parenthood isn’t hard. Yet. Though I doubt it ever gets truly difficult. It’s all a matter of where your mind is and what tips your scales in the wrong direction. And if you can put the trivial annoyances aside and realize that the fussy little monster that’s screaming bloody murder for her bottle is actually a small little person having just as hard a time of life as you are, then parenthood is a breeze.

And that, my friends, is the talk of a man with two entire months of experience. Take it for what you will.

That being said, it’s hard not to realize that everything in life fades to the background, that if there’s a cure to loneliness, or hate, or even wider problems like war or discrimination, that it has to start with a child, the eyes of whom are wide and open minded, ready for anything, waiting for everything. A child prepared to make a difference, regardless of whether or not any of us know what that difference is going to be.

Sierra’s waking up. Here goes nothing.

This was lovingly handwritten on September 26th, 2007