Monday, June 25, 2007

The Baby

My wife recently entered her second trimester, and her profile offers proof that our first child is steadily growing. After I hung up tiny clothes fresh out of the dryer last night and noticed the stroller next to the kitchen, it occurred to me that our household will be changing considerably in December.

Though I am thirty years old, the idea of being a father is a still a bit mysterious to me, and I wonder why God decided it was time for me to become one. My wife and I have been married for eight years, and we have a lot of fun together – a strong friendship on top of everything else. Several doctors said that it wasn’t possible for us to get pregnant, and in the years leading up to now, I had come to accept this possibility. It wasn’t that I had given up any hope of having children, but I realized that God was in control, and if He chose for us to continue without children, it was for good reason. Certainly there were difficult moments in thinking children may never appear, but I never felt devastated.

Now I find myself imagining life beyond the infant, fast-forwarding to an age when he or she can run and talk and play. More often I imagine a boy, perhaps because I can think back to myself at younger ages (and perhaps because I want to discard the “it” pronoun). I think about trying to figure out who this child is, who God made them to be. If God gives us a football player, for example, I’m currently of little value (other than to occasionally cry out, “False start!” when watching games). And a child who doesn’t want to be the center of attention will baffle me. How will I adapt to that child’s personality and help him to go in his specific direction?

To me, this child is not some wish fulfillment, like a box to be checked off on a list of life goals. My mission is to train this child in the way he or she should go. It’s as though I’m being given a stack of materials without any blueprints and asked to build a house. Well, it’s more like I don’t have any blueprints past the foundation (Christ is always the foundation). From that point on, I need to figure out from the house itself how it should go up. And the house doesn’t want to comply.

I’m really excited about seeing my child face to face, and I’m equally terrified at the responsibility. Fortunately, I know that God can make up for all the mistakes I’m going to make. I just want to put in the best effort that I can.


James Enge said...

Hey, congratulations to you and your wife! It does sound like an exciting and scary time.

Fatherhood is scary indeed, but often fun and always worthwhile--a transforming, humbling experience.

You guys will be drowning in well-meant advice about the baby. But let me just say: remember to take care of each other, too. And get as much sleep as you can those first couple years.

Matthew Wuertz said...

Thanks! I appreciate your advice. I'm hoping that "sleep" is still in our vocabulary in 2008.