I’ll never forget the day that I first found out I was going to be a Father.
I’m sure there are a lot of Fathers who will say that.
I’ll never forget the day that I first found out that I was going to be a Father for a couple of reasons. First, in that serendipitous way that the universe makes complete sense while not making any sense at all, I found out that I was going to be a Father on September 27. September 27 is my Father’s birthday.
Second, the day that I first found out that I was going to be a Father provided me with the perfect metaphor of what it was going to be like to transition to Fatherhood.
It was a Saturday afternoon. Annie wanted to go to the mall, so I decided to slam a few drinks to get a little tipsy for the trip. A few years prior to this, when we were in college, my friends and I would get stoned and go walk around the mall for something to do. I wasn’t currently smoking at the time because I was trying to get a better job, so drinks it was. Fuck off with your judgements. It’s my fucking story.
Shortly after we got to the mall, we walked past Victoria’s Secret. I glanced over and did a double take when I spotted this stringy pair of panties on display right in the front of the store.
“Whoa!” I exclaimed.
“Do you want me to get those?” Annie said with a little chuckle. I answered by immediately turning and heading towards the store.
I stopped in front of the mannequin that was wearing them and gawked with a smile on my face, an idiot man child standing there like a boy who had just caught his first peek at a lingerie store.
“Can I help you with something?” one of the workers asked, a bemused smile on her face.
“Those.” I said, pointing at the underwear on the mannequin.
“Ok, what size?” she asked.
“Medium.” Annie replied, that hint of laughter still in her voice. The sales lady found a pair and handed them to her.
“That was awesome.” said a guy who was shopping at the same table with his girlfriend, the girlfriend laughing as we headed to the register.
Later that night, Annie decided to take a pregnancy test. I honestly can’t remember why she decided to take the test. We’d decided that she should go off birth control a couple of months before. We weren’t really “trying,” we were just enjoying our time as newlyweds.
The first test that she took was one of the regular tests where the lines show up. What a lot of people may not know about these types of tests is that usually one line will appear to show that the test worked and then a second line will appear if the test detects the pregnancy hormone. This second line can be basically transparent, the faintest hint of a line, and still be positive.
We read the initial test and weren’t positive if it was showing that she was pregnant. It looked like there could’ve been a line there, but we really weren’t sure.
At that point, we decided to bow to the mighty technology gods that ensnared our generation and use the digital test that says either “not pregnant” or “pregnant.”
“I’m not. I know I’m not.” Annie was saying as she paced around while we waited the few minutes it took for the test to produce a result. I’ll never understand why, but for some reason, in that exact moment, I knew that the test was going to come back and show that she was pregnant. I just knew it.
She didn’t want to look, so I picked it up and read it. There it was: “Pregnant.”
I smiled and showed it to her. She was silent for a moment.
“Babe,” she said, tears welling in her eyes, “I’m pregnant.” she said, something between a statement and a question.
We hugged, we kissed, we cried, and then we went to bed shortly after that.
And that is where I was given the perfect metaphor of Fatherhood and what it would mean to be a parent. One minute you are drunk at the mall buying lingerie with your wife to tear off her later, and the next minute you are going to bed early as you struggle to grasp the emotional weight of having a tiny little human being that you are responsible for.
Six years and a second child later and I’m still trying to figure it out.