Staring at this Elephant

 For the past week or so my wife and I and my mother in law spend our evenings admiring and quizzically staring at a very large elephant in our proverbial room. We are going about life as usual, well almost. We are expecting our second child very soon. With this comes a heap of anticipation/excitement that makes us just wanna sit there and wait like a little kid for Christmas. But sitting there waiting isn’t gonna do anyone any good, and its definitely not going to make this baby show up any faster. So on with our day to day we go, realizing that we will drop everything at a moments notice, and enter that space where time and space have no meaning. Birth is All of the Emotional, and All of the Amazing, and All of the Breathtaking, and All of the Everything. I have never been a part of something so Incredible, and I cannot wait for this opportunity again. 

It makes it hard to not be a bit stressed and just downright antsy. We just do as we do, and say hi to this elephant periodically. This time we chose not to find out the sex of our child. This comes with some extra anticipation that I can’t quite get a handle on. I am so excited to see our child be born, and then I am so excited to see if we have  a son or daughter. I am not sure what to do with all the excitement. I feel two sources of wonder at the same time, they are so much the same, yet so different. First there is just the excitement of a new life. Then I want to know so bad whether we are having a boy or girl. 

With our daughter we/I was aching to know what we were having. My wife said that she wasn’t adamant that we know but I think she wanted to know just as much as I did. It’s an easy out to put that on me. I may have been very convincing on getting the info from the doc. I wanted something that I felt was a sure bet, so that I could let my mind wrap around what was to come. At least this is what I was telling myself the whole time. And to be honest I felt like it really helped to know that I was going to have a daughter. I didn’t really care about whether we would have the right color of clothes or paint the nursery the right color, since we lived in a 1 bedroom apt. But I did want to have just one little thing that seemed concrete-ish, because admittedly, I had no experience with babies, and knew that I was in for some serious learning.

Now that we have one child, and we know that we can keep a human alive, it is much easier to throw some caution to the wind and just wait it out. I am still happy we made this choice, but am dying to know what we are having. With this decision to not know comes a unique challenge/opportunity. We have gone back and forth over names for some time now. Our name conversation has never really stopped since our daughter. As we approach what we think are the final days before our next child arrives, I cannot help but think that one of these names will stay on the bench, and one will play. We have no idea on the sex, so we are basically there on the boys name, and closer I would say on the girls name. I already love them both, and haven’t even met our baby. So to not use one is gonna be a little strange. It’s crazy what you attach to. Its crazy the thoughts that you have, and what you can build up in your mind. I guess I try to stop my mind from racing about a boy, or racing about a girl. This raging river of thoughts is being held back by this dam that is a huge elephant that we have become so accustom to. We live with this big beautiful beast on the daily. I am not sure which way to turn my mind, I am really just not sure. All I know is the excitement is crazy, daily life seems all to trivial with the impending birth of a child.

Is tonight gonna be the night? Was that text the text? Is this contraction the one? Well then not if tonight, are we talking tomorrow? I come home at the end of the day, say hello to the elephant, I wake up in the middle of the night say hello to the elephant, I get ready to leave in the morning and say goodbye to the elephant for a few hours. My wife can’t sleep because of our toddler. Then she can’t sleep because the elephant keeps nudging her. Then our daughter falls asleep and the elephant wants to hang out. Then its morning and none of them slept. Then another day passes, and we all have our separate days, all the while thinking about the elephant in the room. We come together at the end of the day, and discuss any changes in the elephants demeanor, yet still the elephant is with us. This has been the past 10 days or so.

What a time! What a crazy time. I would not trade this for anything. This is the Good Stuff! These are the best times. I am simply trying to give you a small window into the experience. I hope by the time you read this we will be holding our little one. Maybe. Maybe we will still be hanging out awkwardly yet overwhelmingly excited.

2 years later commentary

Man, its crazy to go back and read this. I remember it like I am right back in that room looking at that elephant. You become so accustomed to it, and so enthralled in its presence. Massive props to my wife on her growing and carrying and birthing and feeding our girls with her glorious body. When this hits you as a man, and you process what actually happened, it grows a much deeper respect for the female body and your partner in this journey.

The build and the breadth of having children is crazy. The day you have reached in your journey seems to be as much excitement and stress and anticipation as you can handle. All the while knowing that the breadth of the growth you have realized has formed you into a new man. If you let yourself take stock of what is going on, which I highly recommend. I think you will have a much greater appreciation for what is going on. Seeing your wife with your child is incredible. Wait till you meet your child. Wait till your child opens his/her eyes and and meets the world, and meets you. Think of the magnitude of these moments.

Sitting there in your normal day, realizing that one of life's grandest moments is on your doorstep is crazy. At any point, maybe after the next breath, or the next time you blink, its time. I can tell you the anticipation makes this even better. The less you know, the better the experience in my opinion. I fully understand both sides, but waiting and truly not knowing is rarer and rarer in this life. This is one time where you can.

Let me tell you in hopes that you might actually take action. If this is you and you are waiting for your baby. Be in the room, actually be present with your wife. Enjoy this time. Step outside of the stress and realize that these days are numbered. Jot down some notes about how you feel. Make a video, take a picture. When I say "These are the best days of your life" I really mean it. There will be a day in some years you will look back and search the corners of your mind for the glory of these days, for the joy that was present in these days, with every moment. Just know that you are here. Take a note from a guy that has been there twice.

Expecting a baby is truly the peak of anticipation. Have your bag ready. But more importantly have your heart ready. Things are about to change. Be available for your wife, and let her know. The most important thing is that you are fully invested in the moment, your wife needs you, and so does your new baby. Write in the comments about your experience if you will I would love to hear about it.

Danny Lesslie