I am going to be a father.
This isn’t something too terribly new to me, I’ve known for the past thirty or so weeks. It feels new though every time I say it. I’m not entirely sure why this is but I have a few ideas.
I’ve always wanted to be a dad. I think there is a particular distinction here. ‘Dad’ sounds more playful, more at ease, more friendly whereas ‘father’ sounds grave and lofty, a title reserved for taciturn or stern figures from childhood. In my imaginings I was the former but as the date approaches I’m having second thoughts on my definition of the latter.
I have thought about how I would ‘dad’ in situations: the dad jokes, dad saves, dad fails. Now, however, I’m faced with the reality of what my role will be, which will probably be a lot more serious than I thought. Not that the lighter side is going anywhere, but I’m not looking so unfavorably at that pragmatic side anymore. So it may feel new not because the idea that I will be a dad is new, but rather how I will be a dad is forming anew. I will probably use the terms interchangeably from here on out unless stated otherwise.
“I want to be a dad” is vastly different from, “I am going to be a dad.” Even when said with conviction, without the baby bump to go with it that second phrase falls flat. All of the anticipation I have built up over the years dreaming of the dad I would one day become is finally finding some relief. It is amazing how changing a few parts of speech in a sentence can have a drastic effect on your outlook!
All my wanting, wishing, dreaming of being a dad does not change the fact that I have never been one. I have never been a dad. To my knowledge I have never been a father figure either so I don’t even have that going for me. Part of the perpetual newness of the phase “I’m going to be a father” must be in part that I have nothing to base it on. Sure I have a father, have been around fathers, have even known quite a few fathers in my time, but what does that do for me? Up to this point, the closest I’ve been to being a father is through modeling and imitation. But now? Now it’s real.
It might feel new every time I say it because, in reality, I have no clue what being a father actually feels likes. There are no prior experiences for me to draw on and so what it means to ‘be a dad’ is still rather fluid for me. Over the next 10 weeks, I plan to document my thoughts and feelings about making this journey towards Dadhood in simple posts of about 500 words or less.