The change is worry
Having waited until I was in my mid thirties to experience fatherhood I had an opportunity to try and learn from the successes and failures my friends had experienced in the meantime.
While I learned as much as I could, what I had never been able to put a finger on was the cause of “the change.” I call it “the change” for lack of a better term. I can best describe it as the look and demeanor of a parent soon after having a child.
I have made a few observations of “the change” in hopes that it might reveal the source behind it. Before you say it, I recognize that the cause is parenthood, however I was looking for a more detailed answer.
I have noticed it is far more obvious after the birth of a first child than say a second or third.
I have also noticed that it seems more prevalent in men than it does in women. I have seen it in women, however not nearly as much as I have noticed it in men.
I would not describe it as maturity, although it does make those who have experienced “the change” seem more mature. I wouldn’t call it intelligence because, well to be honest with you, some of my friends are just as dumb as they were before becoming parents.
Despite my observations and questions it was not until I became a father myself that I could pinpoint exactly what “the change” is and where it came from.
Worry is the source of “the change.” Worry is what causes the new wrinkles and dark eyes. Worry is behind the change in posture and attitude. I know because I am filled to the brim with it and when I look in the mirror I see “the change” all over my face.
I have never worried so much in my life as I have since the birth of my son. We have been blessed in that despite being born five weeks early, Miles is for all intent and purpose a healthy baby boy. Still I find myself worrying about him constantly.
I worry about his health. Is his immune system strong enough to get him through this flu season? What if he falls while still so small?
I worry about his future. I worry about my past and how that might impact his future.
I worry about our income and where I can find more of it. I worry it won’t be enough and I will fail as a father. I worry that it should have already been more and that I may have failed him already.
I worry that he won’t be like me and we will not have anything in common. I worry that he will want to be like me and I want him to strive for so much more.
I worry a lot.
If you see me around town please don’t be alarmed by “the change” on my face or in my demeanor, it’s just me worrying about everything. Give me a hug, lie to me and tell me everything is going to be okay.
If you see your Dad give him a hug too; he’s worried about you.
David Friedman is a long-time contributor to Roanoke-Chowan Publications. A Bertie High School graduate, he and his wife currently reside in Wilmington. David can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.