“Are you happy?” my friend’s two and a half year old little boy was currently climbing all over me while I read Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax to him at six o’clock in the morning. “Are you happy?” was a simple question to him, but one that my mind was currently unable to process with a million other questions flying through my head at the time.
My wife and I were staying at our friend’s house in Vermont for the weekend. Ten minutes prior to this question being asked, my wife had come running into the guest bedroom we were staying in with a pregnancy test asking “Does this mean what I think it means?” I groggily focused my eyes – one pink line not pregnant, two lines means you’re pregnant. The two lines were clear as day and immediately a million emotions flooded me.
I was shocked – “holy #@!% I’m going to be a dad!” was one of the first thoughts that went through my head. Only six weeks before we had decided that we would start trying to get pregnant. Most of our friends had spent many, many months trying to get pregnant and some had to go through infertility treatments. It just didn’t seem possible that it would happen this easily. Was I ready? Would I be a good dad? It didn’t matter how “dad-ready” I felt because here it was – illustrated with two little blotchy pink lines on a stick right in front of me.
I was anxious – when we were originally married, we had never planned to have children. We liked kids; we just thought we were going to be the cool uncle and aunt to our nieces and nephews. Among other reasons, we were scared by a few friends that hovered over their child’s every move and action. If their child took a minor tumble they were immediately there with the band-aid whether or not their child actually needed one. That level of parenting seemed like a lot of stress that neither of us was ready for. As time passed we reconsidered and, ironically, one of the reasons was seeing our friends we were currently visiting up in Vermont when they became parents. We saw them doing all the things they enjoyed before they had their son. They went hiking; they went cross-country skiing; everything they enjoyed before having a child they still did now and they were wonderful parents. Having a baby didn’t hinder their lifestyle; it only made their lives better and more complete.
So it was fitting that immediately after my wife and I found out we were pregnant that we were at their house. After sharing our exciting news we had all gone out into the living room to talk.
Which brings us back to the moment I was reading Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax to their two and a half year old and as he jumped on my lap asked the very simple, straight forward question…
“Are you happy?”
He had stopped jumping and crawling over my shoulder and was waiting for an answer to his question. I put down the book and replied with a smile,“Yes…I am VERY happy”. Satisfied with my answer he sat back down on my lap and wanted me to continue reading the book to him. Not a big deal to him, just another question in an endless string of questions that a two and a half year old will ask but it was a big and very memorable moment to me.
At the time I had no idea just how much happier becoming a dad would make me and I’m still in awe of how much richer my life has become as a result of becoming a father. I’d love to hear what went through your head when you first learned you were going to be a parent? Have an interesting story about how you found out?