Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A New Prism

Many things have dramatically changed for me in over the past few years, the most obvious of which is that I am now a father. Having entered the realm of parenthood at a seasoned age has given me a different set of life experiences to mold how I interpret parenthood than, I would guess, many other first-time fathers.



For a number of years before and after I was married, I was healthy, financially stable, and for the most part otherwise unencumbered by today's worries. I was able to travel to exotic destinations on short notice, eat unhealthy food without without giving it a second thought, and watch or listen to what I wanted-when I wanted. Likewise, I was also able to view the latest movies on opening weekend, recognize holes my wardrobe and fill them with a quick trip or click of the mouse, and accept last-minute invitations from friends to join them for spontaneous events.

Of course, becoming a parent changed all of that for me. As most of you parents out there already know, you effectively can throw true spontaneity out the window when becoming a new parent. And, I don't know about you, but the extra cash that provided the means for me to splurge in some of the above mentioned ways....well, that now gets sucked into the proverbial child-rearing vacuum. And extra time? What is that of which you speak? In other words, for me the finer things in life are no longer defined for me in terms of material items. On a daily basis, they are now my wife and my son.

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining about this. Quite the contrary really. What I have actually found recently is that when I do get the now rare chance to experience some of the pleasures I took for granted just a couple of years ago, the appreciation level has been profound. For example, it has been so long since I had steak, that when merely driving past a steakhouse the other day and smelling the sweet aroma wafting outside, I had an immediate pavlovian reaction and found myself drooling idiotically. I can only imagine how good it will taste when I actually have my next one. Similarly, I no longer have a nightly bottle of micro-brewed ale, but every few weeks or so when I do, I take a deep breath and let the that first swallow slowly work its glorious way down through my body. It's nice.

I have had similar enhanced appreciation for movies, sporting events, travel, or just a few quiet moments alone to gather my thoughts. As the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and also the appreciation to rise to new heights. As a new parent and a man experiencing life through a new prism, I can certainly attest to the veracity of this.

Let me know next time you are in Seattle. Perhaps we can grab a juicy steak and a cold pint or two. Just don't be alarmed if my eyes seem to roll to back in my head. . .if only for a moment or two.

18 comments:

Rob said...

James,

I loved this post. One might not even need be "seasoned" to appreciate some of these things. I'll leave it to others to decide whether my thirty-three years qualify as "seasoned" or not :-)

I've learned to appreciate free time with my wife, as well as time I can spend on the old hobbies. Beer does taste a little sweeter as well.

It's fun experiencing all these great things you don't hear about before you become a parent.

It's time for me to hit the sack, an experience which -- incidentally -- has become a heavenly one since I became a dad :-)

SciFi Dad said...

Well said, sir. Well said.

Eric said...

I have yet to experience this, so... I have nothing to input - however, I expect I will concur with you within the next few months...

That is, if my son is ever born!

Being us... said...

We agree! Who would have thought getting out of the house for an hour could be such "quality time"! Or even staying in and watching a rented movie! Makes you reinterpret what is important.

morethananelectrician said...

For me, it is mind-blowing to try to figure out what I did with my time THEN...as opposed to now. It was two different worlds. It is the same when I get out...

Xbox4NappyRash said...

I'll take your word for it, now where's me beer....

Nice post sir.

James said...

@Rob - I would say you qualify as fairly seasoned. I can't believe I how much your focus shifts once you have a child. The other things become much less important, but experiencing them sweeter than you remember. Thanks for the great comment.

@SciFi - Thanks. I don't suppose it get's much different after the second child??

@Eric - I am hoping to hear the great news any time now. Maudlin must be well seasoned himself by now. lol.

@Being Us - Exactly! Just the point I was trying to convey.

@MTAE - Yes! What they heck did we DO with all that extra time. Hmm...must have been the beer.

@Xbox - Thanks. I have it sitting right here. If you don't come get it soon, I will be forced to really enjoy it myself!

Mrs. LIAYF said...

From one seasoned parent to another, you and Lukas are now the sweetest things in life!

Xbox4NappyRash said...

Awww, ye made up ;-)

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

Awesome post. And it really hit home. Cause I feel the same way when I get to actually go to the movies or sit around with friends with drinks. It's like heaven.

DCUrbanDad said...

Agreed James. I remember one of our last trips together before we decided to have kids. We spent a week down at the beach and we were all alone. Everyone on the beach had kids. Something was missing. It was that little bean.

A lot changes but a lot is given back.

Momo Fali said...

This reminded me of how much I appreciated my first beer after I had my daughter! After many months without...it was awfully delicious!

James said...

@Sweets - Awww. I love this woman!!

@Xbox - Yeah, we loves each other.

@Petra - Thanks. It is a great feeling to have it all, without having it all.

@DC - Yes. The little ones complete the (and I am going to add some mustard to this corndog here) circle of life. lol.

@Momo - I felt guilty having beer while Mrs. LIAYF was pregant. Didn't stop me, but I felt guilty nonetheless.

CoolStuffForDads.com said...

Time goes by so fast. It's important to take advantage of those special moments. I can appreciate where you are coming from with this post.

James said...

@CoolStuff - Thanks. You are dead on about time. I can't believe the past couple of years have gone so quickly. Glad you stopped by.

nonnasnonsense said...

well, the closest i can get to this post is when one of the kids has had to live with us for whatever reason and then they get back on their feet and move out again. ahhh the bliss of being able to walk around naked in your own home. not that i do a lot of naked walking. it's just the ability to do it that is so nice :)

Ed said...

You know what's weird for me? (Thanks for asking) Is my longing for free time--you know, time alone away from wife, kids, everyone. And when I get it--all I want is to do is be with my kids.

Great post.

James said...

@Nonna - I could probably still get away with it, but soon enough Lukas will be wondering why the heck I am walking around naked.

@Ed - I hear you on the feeling like you need a bit of time to yourself. I don't really take that time though, but am sure that I would feel the same way about then wanting to be with my family.