It doesn’t stop. And perhaps it shouldn’t.
A few years ago my wife (girlfriend at the time) Allison woke up with headaches so powerful they were making her throw up. Her Doc said one of the last things you ever wanna hear a doctor say: “I have no idea what’s wrong with you. You need to go to the ER right now.” It would have been funny had this not been followed up by them making Allison don a face mask before she left, “just in case”. After a few hours they told us that she had Spinal Meningitis I didn’t know what it was either, but apparently there are two kinds: a “good” kind that goes away in a few days and the kind that kills you in the same amount of time.
After 3 expensive days in the hospital, Allison was fine. I knew I loved her before, but I didn’t know that I could not live without her. It took that worry.
Flash forward a few years. I’m waiting for now-pregnant Allison to meet me at lunch. She calls me crying saying she was just in a car accident and was in an ambulance. In the ER I was greeted by the hunk of a fireman who took her there with a “and where were you?” look. Allison was hooked up to every machine known to man and monitored as I spent the night on a Nazi-Era army cot. But all was good. She was fine, Jack was fine.
I knew Allison was pregnant and that this was going to happen, but I didn’t know how much I really wanted it to happen. It took that worry.
You worry about your wife for 9 months. You worry the night she tells you her water just broke. You worry during labor. You worry the first time you change his diaper. You worry during his first car ride, his first night sleeping at home and all of his other firsts. You worry about the far future. Will he make friends? Will he do well in school? Will he draw or play football? Will he like Star Wars as much as I do!?!?
You worry and it doesn’t stop. But it’s okay, because you also smile.
You smile and look up at your smiling wife when you feel him punch your hand through her stomach. You are gifted with new confidence when you put your hands on your wife’s arms and say “Ok. I’ll get the car and the bag. Let’s go to the hospital.” You cry with happiness when you hear the first sound coming out of your new son as he is begrudgingly forced into the world.
And when you’re done changing that first diaper, you pick him up, kiss him on the forehead, he stops crying and you know. You know that you can do this despite all the worry.
I knew I was going to be a father before, but I didn’t know that I wanted to be a Dad. It took all that worry.