Friday, October 26, 2012

My First Year of Fatherhood

It's been a trying and exciting past year of life with my wife and new son. One that has brought about many new job descriptions (around the house and professionally), experiences and smells. As I reflect upon the past year, in comparison with my life pre-Burke (my son) as expressed in the prior mentioned post, "A Letter to Myself - Feel Free to Read", I start to gain a true sense of what it means to be a father/parent.
 
Burke ridin' solo - 13 months old
My fatherhood started as a stay at home dad, and it ended quicker than it takes most babies to learn how to walk (8 months). Those were the most difficult days of my life. Burke had Colic and acid reflux. So, not only did his condition reek havoc on my emotional stability, it also made a smelly mess out of all of his and our clothes. It was this brief time in my life that I was forced to confront my short-temper and anger issues that seemed to be latent (except for a few blow-ups in soccer games, fights with my brother as a kid and arguments with my wife, Christie). Quite possibly the single hardest thing I've ever done in my life was telling Christie that I didn't trust my self alone with Burke. Yikes. I clearly remember saying to her, "I know the difference between right and wrong, however, I'm scared that I might do something to harm Burke out of anger." I could not control my emotions. I was a mess.

Thanks to family and friends (and Christie's mandate:), this began a 1-2 week period of not being alone with Burke and always having someone else around. It was also the start of my relationship with a shrink (Therapist). What I learned, more so from my own reflection and discussions with my wife, was that I was having a hard time accepting my status as a stay at home dad, without an income to show for it. A self-loathing bitterness for not being who I thought I would be at this point in time (read "A Letter to Myself") . This, all in combination with my preconceived ideals as to what fatherhood would be like and accepting my new role as a Dad. It was about trading in one social-status for another. Realization that my life would never be the same. Responsibility for responsibilities. What happened to all my friends?
At about 8 months in (June 1st), I started a new job. A job that I'm somewhat ashamed of. Unfortunately, I didn't have much choice in the matter. Company's must not know where my door is anymore. As a New Car Sales Consultant (as I called myself) for Toyota, I quickly realized that having a child can force you to do things you never imagined yourself doing. The hours were absolutely horrible, income was a roller coaster and the ability for management & finance to steal money from you (me) is an accepted past-time. Clearly, the job was putting more stress and hardship on Christie and myself then it was worth. So, I quit. However, not before lining up another, more desirable and fitting career as a Real Estate Appraiser (apprentice as of now). What a huge weight off the entire family's shoulders.

So now, it's been 13 months, 16 days and about 18 hours since Burke was pulled from the womb, and it seems like just yesterday that Burke first smiled at me. Although those first 6 months were hellacious, these past 7 months, 16 days and about 18 hours have trumped all. I'm very happy with where we are as a family right now. As long as Christie stays consistent with her Pill, there will be no additions to our family any time soon. I'm in love, and I'm content.

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