This will not be a secret to most of you, but in a fortnight I will officially be a father.
A father at the age of 41. A father who will be turning 60 the year the child graduates from high school. A father who may very well be dead when the child turns the age I currently am now.
You can see where things can spiral quickly.
And for anyone who may be thinking of going through this process, you may find yourself asking one day – what is the most terrifying aspect of your future? The delivery, the diapers, the vomit, the lack of sleep, the lack of money, the lack of lack, the constant monitoring, the warning signs, the unspoken signs, the soft spot, the very notion that you have no idea how to raise a child and that’s part of the reason this has taken so long?
Let’s start with the delivery. I am blessed – hashtag blessed – to be involved in a delivery method that is very partner based. I’m not sure what the method is called exactly but it’s something along the lines of ‘The Prove Your Worth Method’ or ‘The Don’t Let Me Regret Marrying You Method’ or ‘The I Will Hold This Over Your Head for the Rest of Your Life if You F This Up and Remind Our Child of This Every Single Time You Think You Have Earned Their Favor Method’… Something like that.
This method, this ‘If I see you on your cell phone in between contractions I will own your ass method – I mean, absolutely own your ass method’ requires my constant focus, attention, and the ability to pick up on the pregnant mother’s non verbal cues.
To elaborate, I will now provide you with the foundation of our non verbal communication relationship.
If I go right, she goes left… If I go up, she goes down… If I go (straight? in a circle?) – she goes… ‘STOP MOVING’!
In the textbook written on this method, this ‘Damned if you do Damned if you don’t the ultimate guide to accountability method’, it is suggested, and I am not making this up, that I as the birth partner may be relied on to massage my wife’s back in the same spot, in the same motion, with the same speed and the same rhythm for up to 12 hours – 12 hours – and any deviation from the spot, speed, rhythm or motion may result in your wife’s recitation of Ezekiel 25.17 the path of the righteous man, accessed from a point in her brain only the deepest, darkest, strangest, and most foul and festering murderous thoughts never see the light of the anointed day.
Present in the room for the birth of our child will be a midwife, a nurse, and a doula – 4x the number of women I have been alone in a room with that contains a bed. The doula is there for emotional support – emotional support for me in the break the glass in case of emergency instance my uncaring, unfeeling, blunt unwavering nature is suddenly overcome by the perfect storm wave of feelings that you have no choice but to drown yourself in because you have no chance of recovering from that harsh sea of embarrassment. This labor basically hinges on The Old Man and That Sea.
I don’t want to say I’m feeling selfish when it comes to my wife’s pregnancy…But when I learned about the stage of labor involving self-doubt I said aloud, “oh, I was wondering when the questioning of my ability as a father would come into play.”
As it stands, the one hard and fast rule in this childbirth is that the delivery room will remain a 100% drug free environment. This is the one rule you can take to the bank that I am good for. For I have never imbibed any sort of illegal drug in my life. I have never smoked, snorted, vaped, injected, smeared (do they smear?) – Never!
And why? Because I knew that the minute that joint, that powder, that pill, that tab, was in my hands – the cops would descend with sirens a-flaring to take me away, my face pressed against the glass like a Home Alone wet bandit.
No toking, no tripping, no inhaling, no freebasing, no mainling…
C: (entering from USR – drunk – flanks Frank on his right) What about drinking and driving?
Frank: Who the hell are you?
C: I’m your accountability buddy!
Frank: (turns to face C, under his breath somewhat) That’s not the line.
C: (repeats himself) I’m your accountability buddy!
Frank: No, no – you are the younger, me
C: I am the younger you!
Frank: (a beat) Yessss
C: And I drank and drove A LOT!
Frank: (under breath) Did you drink and drive here… AND what was the lesson you learned from drinking and driving, younger me?
C: (thinks, and then…) Don’t get caught!
Frank: (under breath) C!
(L enters from USL flanks Frank on he left)
L: I like to make a clarification in the name of truth and honesty.
Frank: Who the hell are you?
L: I’m the feminine you!
Frank: The feminine me.
L: The softer side, the sexier side, the smarter side – the sides we never see.
Frank: I see.
L: Please retract the following statement ” I have never imbibed any sort of illegal drug in my life” from tonight’s transcript.
(Betty revolves on stage)
Betty: RETRACTED! (revolves)
L: In its stead, please insert the following statement, “I have never WILLINGLY imbibed any sort of illegal drug in my life”
Betty: INSERTED! (revolves)
L: you were spiked –
Betty: SPIKED! (revolves)
Betty: TWICE! (revolves)
L: (turning upstage) Betty!
Betty: BYE! (revolves)
Betty: DIZZY! (revolves)
L: Now… (turns to see if the door spins back around – it doesn’t) Now…
C: (drunkenly, approaching L) I’m sorry I never told you how beautiful you are, Veronica…
L: …I’m not Veronica.
C: (sloppily placing his hand on her head as if to soothe her) C’mon Veronica…
L: Veronica is the romance you botched in 1997.
C: Not Veronica – – – Diana…
L: Diana picked her castmate over you in a 2001 musical comedy because you were so slow to the uptake.
C: Ok… Leah…
L: 5th grade first date fail.
C: But, but, but… you look just like them… all of them.
L: The feminine side is a manifestation of all of your failures.
C: (tormented) No…. Noooooo. Nooooo –
L: (overlapping) The failures you never truly faced…
C: (still tormented) No…. Noooooo. Nooooo –
L: (overlapping) The failures you never took accountability for…
C: (still ‘no-ing’ until she says ‘accountbaility’) I’m your accountability buddy!
L: (beat) You’re drunk. Go home.
C: (now really trying to turn it on) No, not yet. Let me stay a little while longer. Let me convince you. Just a kiss. Just one kiss. Just..
(They settle in slowly. It looks like they’re going to go for it. They lean in…)
L: It would be like making out with ourselves.
Frank: WOULD YOU TWO GET OUT OF HERE!!!
(They exit upstage right – the monologue continues)
Frank: Now, where was I… Oh, A father who may very well be dead when the unborn child turns the age I currently am now… Not on my watch!
Because in 2016, I am eating healthy! I’m not going to let those four years I worked at a record store eating that $3 and 24 cent two cheeseburger value meal from McDonalds on my lunch break every single shift resulting in premature hair loss and and an under active thyroid -according to an Internet blog I read in 2003 – kill me early.
I am eating healthy! And in 2016 I will launch the male answer to Kate Hudson’s Fabletics athletic clothing line. I will call it Flabletics! Combined with my Matthew McConaughey Dallas Buyer’s Club diet of 800 calories and a bottle of red wine daily, I have entitled this regiment ‘How to Lose a Fat Guy in 10 Days’.
The monologue trails off…