From the preface to Leaves of Grass, found here.
I did not expect the sheer physicality of being pregnant, how tired I get after a walk I used to be able to run. The pain in my back. The way he keeps poking me. The way I keep poking him back. (Which drives Mike crazy.) I didn’t think there would be so many things going on inside of me, so many reasons to be prodded and poked and have blood drawn. Though I have had it fairly easy, I must confess that I thought it would be easier. I thought I would be happier about it. I cannot understand why people do this more than once.
Though I remain flatly unimpressed at all the stretching and moving that my skin has done, Mike has reacted in just the opposite way. He is attentive to all my needs, pays attention to what I am eating, and is thrilled each time he feels Atticus move. For Mike’s sake, I am glad that Atticus is not one of those babies who stops moving whenever Dad is near. However, I hope this doesn’t mean he’s going to be a particularly active baby. (Please tell me it doesn’t mean that.)
I ran across something that said that poetry is a “fundamental creative act using language.” If that’s true, then I think being pregnant qualifies as making your very flesh a great poem. I think that’s what Mike is seeing that I cannot. He is embracing the mystery of this third person. Watching him helps me to remember the positive, especially on those days when I feel terrible and start to wonder why we thought this was a good idea. Though I have many questions about my own ability to be a good parent, I don’t worry about Mike. He is reserved in many ways with adults, but he gives easily of himself to children. He is compassionate and attentive and patient in ways that I struggle to emulate. Last week we babysat a fourth grade friend of ours, and when I came home the two of them had tested out the crib, played with Big Bunny, broken a vase, and were playing Lego Indiana Jones. I sat behind them on the couch, watching my future and feeling much less frightened about this whole thing.
Happy birthday, Mike. You are already a great Dad.