Fatherhood @ Two Months

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (James 1:17)

Today Chase is 2 months and 3 days old. A week ago he gave us a super cute moment that was captured on video with a photo snapshot here:

At the same time, I’ve been a father for 2 months now! Here are what I have learned:

I was not prepared for the emotions of fatherhood
There are so many intense emotinal ups and downs, often happening all in the same day. Being a man, a mostly rational creature, I was not ready to feel like I was riding an emotional rollercoaster all the time. Words like happiness, sadness, confusions, frustrations, and jealousy all take on greater practical meanings.

I’ve come face to face with human frailty and the need for forgiveness
Saying “every earthly parent is imperfect” is already a gross understatement. Rather, we make mistakes and we fail all the time. To avoid beating yourself up and to be able to forgive yourself and forgive others is an essential virtue to have.

Babies have to look cute and nice because they don’t usually behave very nice
Since a couple weeks ago, on most mornings Chase will greet me with big smiles and soft babyish cooing sounds. I would sing him songs and he would respond like he thinks I’m the greatest singer in the world. And then throughout the day he communicates “loud and clear” with his cries, shows you sometimes you feed or stimulate him too much, and in the evening he gives us the biggest bouts of fussiness. And then in the right moments, he gives us those sweet faces again. Apparently, babies are great businessmen already – they offer cuteness to you in exchange them for their many needs.

There are so many temptations to compare
During every Sunday luncheon at church, there’s a kids’ table, a mothers’ table, and a fathers’ table. The mothers will say, “oh, this week my kid did this…” and other mothers would think “how come my child hasn’t learned to do that yet?” The fathers would pretend they don’t care and talk about cars and computers but eventually they will talk about their kids too. The second worst thing to do is to intentionally put down others by bragging your kid’s accomplishments. But the worst thing is to feel disappointed when your kid doesn’t compare with what other kids have done. I believe God gives us Chase with his unique temperaments and personalities and characteristics so that he has his own unique path of growth. Also, God knew what Wendy and I are capable of, so he designed the perfect baby for us to help all of us grow.

Being a committed and successful father in this day and age is not easy
People of this generation marry a lot later in life, and give birth to kids even later in life. By their mid-thirties, men are usually well-established in society and have achieved numerous successes and accolades. For us to have babies at this time and feel like starting over as a total novice at the role of fatherhood is not easy. I sometimes ask myself, “I’ve a got a great wife, a dream job, I’ve traveled around the world playing music and blessing churches; so why do I feel so inadequate at this little job of fatherhood?”

As I’m tying this Xanga entry, Chase is sleeping soundly in the baby sling just next to my heart. I hope that he can hear that some of those heartbeats really do beat for him.