At 8:10 on the morning of August 17th we were honored to add Charles to our family.
If you are reading this, please take it as an invitation to remind me what he hell goes on in the first 6 months of a baby’s life because I have completely forgotten. I know they don’t like pizza yet. I’m pretty sure that there is a thing called “Tummy Time” that will eventually be happening. Do I need another college fund or can they just split the one?
I am, of course, mostly being facetious. Mostly. I am actually rather amazed at the comfort and ease with which both my wife and I are able to navigate the early days of our new son’s life. Granted, we have family in town helping us and it is still quite early days. The time has not yet come where I’ll be embracing the change of doing what I do with Jack while having an infant strapped to my chest. This means that, on some level, what Jack and I are used to doing together may have to adapt, if not completely change. That is okay.
I think that’s sort of where I’m landing in all of this. It’s okay. Long time readers will know that our last go around on the pregnancy front beat us up a bit. We were swimming in the expectation of a gorgeous baby girl and were instead introduced to a grief we had not known before. There was a…well, I almost said “sigh of relief” but I feel that would downplay it to a point I’m not comfortable with. But, what word? What word? Shift. That seems to work. There was a shift in the fundamental nature of what I know and love when I heard the sound of Charles crying on that Wednesday morning. A shift that was accompanied by the certainty that I’d known before that everything was going to be alright. I had known it early in my sobriety when I first realized change was possibly. I had known it when we were told that Gwen was dead and I was confronted clearly with change that I did not condone. I knew it again as I was blessed with another son. Everything was going to be alright. “It’s okay”, the universe seemed to whisper to me.
We are in a bit of a transition period right now. There are the attempts to maintain some level of normality in Jack’s schedule and failures to do so and over compensation in the form of ice cream. I’m not perfect. Never have been. Never will be. Charlie, as he is 6 days old as I’m writing this, actually happens to be QUITE perfect. He has managed to fulfill all the hopes and dreams that parents who have done this before could realistically expect from a 6 day old. For me, I’d say he’s done more than that. The birth of and early days of Charlie’s life, thus far, have been the first time I’ve done this. I was here for Jack, but it was only blood and body. Allison sometimes has to remind me that I still managed to be a good father to my son, even at that point in my addiction. There’s a process that some addicts go through, one that (if maintained) promises a level of freedom from the obsession that once controlled my life. It was only after engaging this process that I’ve been able to experience life the way it should be experienced. I get to now experience the life of my son through new eyes. I get to see Jack experience the life of Charles through these new eyes. All of it is so damn good that sometimes it feels like my heart is going to burst. It hasn’t yet. As of now, I am as I usually am: I’m okay.
Thanks for listening to me rant. Be well.