Waiting and hoping!

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Well, nothing yet.

As Alicia pointed out in the comment boxes below, first babies are usually late. I actually didn't expect the baby to come before the due date (as I think I mentioned in the comments of Let's Just Elope Already a while back.

This bodes well for me, as the dates I drew in the pool at work are Saturday the 12 and Thursday the 16th. :)

I must say though, anticipation is a beach. There are literally dozens of moments every day where the thought that J could be starting real labor enters my head. If I'm at work and leave the office to heat up lunch or use the john, or anything, I'll get the thought that she might be trying to call, and I'll rush back to my desk as soon as possible. Every time the phone rings my heart leaps.

I am a father now - I have been for 9 months, in fact. Truly, even before I was married, I knew in my heart that I had to begin living my vocation as a husband and father. Going back even further, when I first started dating Jenny and started falling in love with her, I had it in my mind that maybe fatherhood was approaching, and that I should be ready for it.

I could go back very slightly further, to when I realized that the priesthood wasn't in my future, and I realized I would need to prepare for a different kind of fatherhood. Earlier than that, after I came back to the Church and received Confirmation and Communion, I knew that "fatherhood" was in my future in some form or another.

Looking back, I understand that my whole life has been in preparation for this event. I'm using event here very loosely, for the conception and birth of our child is a passage - a time for our vocations as spouses to come into full flower and become the husband/father and wife/mother vocations we were created for.

The eight months that led up to my reeciving the Sacraments was an enormous time of purgation in my life. It was a time where - through God's grace - I grew out of so much sin and disbelief and despair. The time leading up to our marriage was the same - as God used my love for this woman to help me live and love on a whole new level.

Now, as the birth of our first child approaches, I see that I have more Sacraments to prepare for. This is not Sacrament in the seven-Sacraments sense, but it very nearly fits the definition. A visible sign (I can see my baby), instituted by God ("be fruitful..."), and definitely a means of delivering grace ("Sons are a gift..."). One could also say that the visible sign is also a reflection of the inner reality of the love between my wife and me.

In yet another sense, this time of preparation has been leading up to one of the actual seven Sacraments - Baptism. Shortly after the birth of our little one, Jenny and I will bring him to our pastor and request that he be adopted into the family of God, as we will with all of our children - God willing that we have more. This is not just a Sacrament we will witness, but one for which we must be as prepared as we were for our wedding day, for we will be making a promise just as solemn - to do our best to bring up our child(ren) in the Church.

All of this I have been preparing for; all of this is what my life has been leading up to, but this is of course only a beginning of another passage. For as our child is born, and as we present him for Baptism, I must be constantly preparing for whatever God has in store next: tragedy, joy, struggle, pleasure.

The truth is that approximately two years ago, I pretty much knew we would be in this position at about this time, give or take a year or two (at least I hoped we would, Mama-Lu and I still had to iron out some particulars), and so I began preparing for it. But the road from there to here took many twists and was full of many joys and struggles and much mystery that I never imagined.

So here I am, looking forward to the birth of our first. I can think of the future and say that if God wills it (which I hope he does), we will have more, and fifteen years from now I hope we will have several little ones (thought some may be quite big by that time). No matter how much I want to prepare, I can say with confidence that I have no idea what joys and struggles we'll encounter. I only know that they'll be there, and I can only hope that God will allow us to be well disposed to appreciate with awe and reverence the mystery and grace with which He intends to bless us through our child(ren), and that He leads us to fulfill our vocations as father and mother to our child(ren) and wife and husband to each other as faithfully as possible. I believe that He fulfilled this hope as we prepared for our marriage, which gives me the audacity to hope for the future.

Earlier today, J and I were talking about marriage, and I made the point that it is unfortunate that so many people seem to look at the wedding as the purpose of months and months of preparation, which is of course ridiculous. The marriage is what every engaged couple ought to be working towards.

Similarly, I look forward to the birth of our child not simply because it is a culmination of the past nine months of anticipation, the fact is that I've been a father for nine months, and have had to act as a father to protect and love my family. What I am looking forward to is the unveling of a fresh mystery - one that exists, but which I have not yet had a face to face encounter with. There is a love in my heart for this child, and this love yearns to hold its object. And this child has a life, of which I have been ordained by God to play a significant role in forming and leading.

One one hand, with fear and trembling I stand here; dare I approach?

On the other, this is God's great gift for me, how can I do anything but run - hand in hand with my wife - and dive headfirst into the life God planned for us from our first created moments?

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I think you're going to make an awesome father, personally. I'll be praying for you.


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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on June 9, 2004 8:30 PM.

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