The other day Annie and I went to church with her parents. Their preacher performed our wedding ceremony that took place in my parents’ backyard. He appears briefly in “Where Am I Wearing?”
I tried to pay attention to the preacher, but I couldn’t stop staring at the approaching storm clouds. There wasn’t a plan B. If the storm arrived, we would have to move into the garage. I pictured Annie, makeup running, hair flattened, dress drenched, standing between Dad’s air compressor and workbench. It wouldn’t have been pretty, especially considering that the outdoor wedding was my idea and the only one I contributed to the day. “Don’t worry,” I had told Annie. “September is the driest month of the year.”
I found that it was a lot easier to pay attention to his sermon when we were indoors and weather was not about to doom our wedding, especially when much of the sermon seemed directed at Annie and me.
His sermon was about expecting. He spoke about how Christmas is a time of expecting and compared the expectations of the season with those that expecting parents have. He had a long list of things parents don’t expect: the mother gains weight, the pain of child birth, the lack of sleep, the lack of free time, etc. He must have gone on for about five minutes listing the things that new parent’s don’t have a clue about.
Annie is nine months pregnant and mid-sermon he turned to Annie and me and apologized. Obviously, he wasn’t expecting us.
Overall, the sermon was interesting, well thought out, but par for the course when it comes to people addressing expecting parents. Because when you are an expecting parent, the one thing that you can expect is people who are parents delighting in telling you that you don’t know what to expect.
When we were engaged we got a similar thing from people, “Enjoy your last days of freedom.” Now it’s, “Enjoy your last days of piece and quiet.”
I expect that I don’t know what to expect when it comes to how the daily ebb and flow of our lives will change, but there are many things I expect I’ll experience while being a father:
I expect to understand the world better. For awhile I’ve suspected that much is done in the name of our children. When I was in China I saw parents working 100 hours per week with the hopes of sending their children to school. While I’ve see children’s futures being the motivation for all sorts of people all over the world, I know that I don’t know the full magnitude of the motivation. I will soon. I look forward to knowing. I know it will change me as a person and a writer.
I expect that leaving the country for my next book will be more difficult, but the homecoming much sweeter.
I expect for Annie and I to become even closer.
I expect to laugh more.
I expect to cry more.
I expect to have my heart stolen.
Annie’s official due date is 12/31. Soon I’ll be a dad, and I expect that when I talk to expecting parents, I won’t talk about the struggles of being a parent, but the joys.