"It's the end of the world as we know it. (And I feel fine.)" (R.E.M.)
Guys with kids have only a few hackneyed phrases to share with guys expecting them.
- "Life as you know it is about to end. But it's cool."
- "Remember how things are now, because they will never be like this again. But it's amazing."
- "It's a whole new world. But it's a good new world."
- "There's no going back to things as they have been. But you won't want to."
The promise part is harder to buy.
Half of you suspects this seasoned dad is just tacking that niceness on to avoid sounding like a total downer. The guy doesn't want to scare you into abandoning the kid. Has his wife put him up to this bubbly baby talk?
The other half wonders what the heck he is talking about. The anecdotes of stench and self-sacrifice don't square with that prophecy of great joy. What sort of insanity leads a dude to think he's better off than before, now that he has to share his time, space and wife with a little needy creature? Can sleep deprivation do that kind of damage to a man's brain?
These warning-promises get to sounding trite, ringing as hollow as the words of an astronaut explaining zero-gravity to land-bound mortals, a bird telling fish about flight. They speak of something sounding suspiciously wonderful and utterly impossible--leaving you wary. As one in the presence of God, you feel fear and love, faith and disbelief, primal longing and terror.
And then you have the kid, and the mystery unfolds. The guy was right. You are as crazy as he was. You discuss poop over burritos and don't flinch. You've tabled agenda item "sleep" till sometime around retirement.
There's no going back. And you wouldn't want to.
Things are not anything like they used to be. And it is amazing.