This whole baby thing has clearly started to affect me.
On Thursday night, as I was forced to watch Private Practice (a show that I generally avoid like the plague), I found myself brought to tears by a scene where a distraught father had to apologize to his 8-year-old daughter. The sight of her breaking into tears while he asked for her forgiveness for not letting her to see her meth-addicted mother before she died somehow got me crying.
There is a tenuous connection there, I guess. I am having a little girl in about 17 weeks. I don’t ever want her to be mad at me (even though I know that she will be at some point). I don’t want to ever make her cry.
But it isn’t as though anything at all about that situation was applicable to me. My wife is not a meth addict, dealer, or producer. She is unlikely to blow herself up while operating a meth still. She hasn’t exposed our unborn child to any noxious chemicals so that she can profit from the drug addictions of others.
I mean, not that I know of, of course.
So while I sat there, blubbering, in front of my wife and her friend Jenn, I came to a conclusion:
I am going to be a useless dad.
I don’t mean this in the sense that I won’t change diapers or wipe noses or drive our baby to Jiu Jitsu classes (not until she’s like three or four years old, obviously). I plan on being involved with her school, taking her on long walks, and braiding her hair with well-intentioned ham-handedness. I will make her meals and sing her to sleep, colour pictures with her, make Play Doh flowers, help her chase frogs around her Grandpa’s pond, and carry her on my shoulders.
The problem is going to come about when she starts to cry.
I just don’t know what to do with crying people. It is very selfish of me, since I cry all the time about the stupidest things. (“Why would you keep her away from her dying, meth-explosion-burned mother, you heartless bastard? Is your heart made of coal?”) My usual inclination is to throw a blanket over anyone that is crying in the hopes that they will think it’s night time and fall asleep. (So far this has only worked on parrots and one especially slow fifth-grader.)
And I know that this kid is going to cry. I know she will. They always do.
And when she cries, I know that I am just going to give in to whatever silly whim or request that she wants. I have this sinking feeling that she will be able to use this against me well into her twenties, her eyes welling up and her lip quivering until I just hand over my wallet or car keys or crossbow and mutter something about not telling her mother about it.