“Babe, I think my water just broke.”
That sentence replaced my alarm clock one year ago, today. Less than 24 hours before the world’s most effective alarm went off, we were at the first of weekly doctor appointments before our son arrived. Less than 24 hours ago, we thought we had less than a month to finalize our preparations to become parents.
Finish the nursery. Make a decision on our pediatrician. Finalize our birth plan. Pack our delivery day overnight bags. Squeeze in one of those parenting classes. Perhaps enjoy a day or two of pre-parent life.
Instead, I found myself driving to the hospital (and smacking every speed bump way faster than I should have along the way) quickly learning what I like to call one of the primary laws of parenting: all of your “plans” are worthless, welcome to the chaos.
The next thing I knew, my wife and I were hearing confirmation that her water did indeed break and we would be having a baby within the next 24 hours. So much for that month of prep time.
That morning, my wife settled in for a long labor that wouldn’t end until the early morning hours the following day. Once the initial shock of “holy shit, this is happening” wore off and phone calls were made to family, I headed back home to pack some clothes and get the nursery and house ready for our new bundle of joy.
He wouldn’t be allowed to come home with us until nearly a week later. Even my last minute prep plans went to hell. Welcome to parenthood.
Most people mark the day of their firstborn’s birth as the day everything changed. While that is certainly true, personally, today marks the day that my world was truly flipped upside down. Not only was I scrambling to finish a month’s worth of final preparations into single day, but, throughout the day, I found myself reevaluating and re-identifying everything that made me, me.
Editor-in-Chief of Her Loyal Sons.
A large part of my world revolved around writing and talking about Notre Dame football. To some extent, it still does, but it is no longer the large priority that it once was. I had warned my team in advance that I would be stepping back a bit after the birth of my son, but I had no idea at the time that I would more or less completely step down in September and hand over the leadership reigns.
I can’t even remember the last time that I wrote a post purely about football. My last podcast was after the national championship game this past January. At the time, I said it would be a winter break. Winter has now bled into summer.
At some level, I will still write. I love writing. At some level, I will still podcast. Playing radio host is a lot of fun. People, many of whom that I’ve never met in person, seem to enjoy it too.
But it’s all back at hobby level now. It’s no longer a borderline second job as it used to be.
Work was mainly that thing that paid the bills. Maybe allowed some nice things here and there. I’ve always been motivated in moving my career forward, but once I knew I would become a dad, the way I looked at my job changed rather quickly.
My current job killed the product that I was working on and supporting. There were opportunities within the company to move to another position, but it felt like a lateral move at best. If I’m working my tail off, I better be moving forward, not sideways.
So I went job hunting. More accurately, I went career-hunting. My job was decent and even if I moved positions internally, it would still be a decent job. I got picky. Very picky. I even turned down a job offer that could’ve potentially made me more money than I was currently making.
The day my wife went into labor, I was waiting on new job offer. On the day my son was born, I got that offer. At the end of June, when my son was supposed to be born, I started.
I’ve never worked harder in my life. I travel a ton, something that I never thought I wanted to do in my career and, honestly, something I don’t really enjoy. However, it’s worth it. The opportunity was too good to turn down. I see more potential here than at any other job I’ve had before. All the travel and the long hours are worth it, especially since my time not on the road is spent at home.
My new job has probably killed more free time than becoming a dad; however, becoming a dad was a major motivation for making such a huge change in my life. I work for my family now. They are the main motivation for what I do and the sacrifices I make.
A new dad that still manages to be a serious gamer may be harder to find than a snipe on a hunt (and if you’ve never been snipe hunting, please hire me as your guide…it’ll be fun, promise!).
Remember all those plans I mentioned earlier? Part of those plans was one final binge in Final Fantasy XIV as their first major expansion, Heavensward, was set to come out on June 23rd. I pre-ordered the game to get access a week early. I “played” maybe a few hours that week at most. I only recently finished the main storyline of that expansion, almost a full year later. That then put me two full content patches behind.
And then there are other games that I foolishly ordered that haven’t even made it out of plastic wrap. I have purchased games on my Steam account that haven’t even been downloaded yet, much less played. I’ve lost count of how many games I’ve started but have yet to finish.
Because when it comes to a choice of staying up late or sneaking in some gaming time, I’m going the hell to bed about 90% of the time. Even if I’m on the road by myself.
A great example: I declared to my wife last Friday that I would stay up late and enjoy a few adult beverages. In the back of my mind, I also figured an hour or two of gaming. I watched TV in bed with a drink and feel asleep about 30 minutes after her.
My real gaming days are over for now. My filthy causal gaming days have now begun.
“Marriage” and “team” are terms that you hear mixed a lot. The “team” mentality really came into play on this day, one year ago. It really hasn’t stopped since.
I went from focusing on spoiling my wife to trying to simply make her life easier. I’ve never been hated more by someone who loves me than after my son was born because hormones and lack of sleep is the worst cocktail known to man. I say this with all the love in my heart. It may sound terrible, but it is hilariously true.
And, to be fair, I’ve grown crazier by the day myself. I’ve gotten angrier at the dumbest things possible and my wife will end up catching some collateral damage.
Some days are more of a survival effort than others. Every now and then, we get some moments in which we can remind ourselves that we are still the same lovebirds that we’ve been for years.
Honestly, it’s hard to put into words. It’s a different dynamic that has seen us both grow as husband and wife in so many different ways.
Bottom line: I can’t see any way that I would survive this crazy ride without her. I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else either.
All of this started one year ago, today. It’s been harder than I could have ever imagined. It’s been better than I could have ever imagined.
Now, I have a single word in which I can identify with. A single word that can easily describe all my motivations and goals in my life.
It’s a word that my son has learned to say as well.