Monday, August 15, 2005

What's So Good About It

It is by far easier to bitch about changing diapers and sleepless nights than to describe the intangible riches of parenthood. But for the sake of those who were persuaded to sterilize themselves after my last post, it is my duty to try. We're all selfish by nature, and expect a return on every investment we make. So why would anybody willingly subject themselves to such a lopsided agreement?

Sometimes we're not so willing, eh? But I digress.

We all know that someday we are going die. Having children is an instinct embedded into our base operating system, put there by the programmer to insure that we will forego the obvious disadvantages of child rearing. If we resist our true nature, we pay a price and act out in a variety of ways; but having children satisfies that primal urge.

For some reason, humans give birth to helpless blobs, while the rest of the animal kingdom has children that can move and play, that have some sense of their surroundings and can interact with others. Our children are born helpless, defenseless and blank, like little computers without any pre-installed software; as parents, we stare into their eyes, portals to their persistent storage, and imprint ourselves with our words and actions. In other words, we give them a part of us, such that how we feel about ourselves is how we feel about our children.

And that really is the key, and the reason that some people should wait.

The first smile, a pale reflection of a nitrous intake, pure euphoria. My son Jackson was probably six months old, lying in the valley between my legs as I lay with my head propped on my pillow and my knees drawn up so that our noses could almost touch. I clapped his two little hands and cheered, "Yay!" And he laughed! A magical combination of sounds that made my heart flutter and pound in my chest. I did it again and he laughed again, and I yelled for my wife to come see. It sounds silly, but that's what being a parent is all about, exhibiting behavior that would have gotten your ass kicked in high school, and not caring a wit.

The first word. For all you guys out there, this one's for you: Dada. It's always Dada; and herein lies that little gray area, that place where life proves once again that it just isn't fair. As fathers, let's face it, we get the easier of the two jobs. Need I explain it? If life had any sense of justice, Mama would get top billing, but that is not the way of it. Disclaimer aside, there is no greater joy than that first glorious, decipherable word, which quite possibly is the moment where most fathers discover an interest, kick up their game and become most involved.

When I come home from being gone for even part of a day, my children scream "Daddy!" and smother me with hugs and kisses, like Dino in the old Flintstones cartoon. As parents we're needed, and for many, this could very well be a first time experience. Children are their own reward, on one hand more work than we have ever done, but on the other an expression of the truest form of love on earth. We experience for the first time an urge to protect another at the expense of our own safety.

My oldest boy is only five, and my youngest two. Our time together has only begun. They're not old enough to have wrecked my car, but I look forward to the day when they ask for the keys.


Beth said...

When I read about Jackson laughing, I felt it all over again. My daughter laughed for my husband the first time, smiled for him the first time, rolled over for him the first time ... he got a lot of firsts, but they were just as magical the second time around.

Helpless blobs. I had to lmbo on that one!

Scott said...

There is nothing sweeter than a child's laughter. You're right, just as magical any time it happens!

Bible_sponge said...

having kids is an instinct? LOL I'm 17 and dont even want to date because I dont want to get married.
LOL hehe he. LOL I was a helpess blob once. (^_^)

jenbeauty said...

I have the best picture of my hubby holding our daughter on the day she was born. You can just see the look in his eyes and the way he is holding her. Even if you don't know him you can look at that picture and know he is a changed man.

Thanks Scott, this was really beautiful.

Scott said...

BS - At the risk of sounding like an old fogey, which, uh, I am, you'll understand someday.

Jen - Thanks, it happens to the best of us, huh? Hey, I finished Harry Potter. One word: awesome! I can't wait for the next one.

magnetbabe said...

That was beautiful. I was only kidding with my comment the other day. I need to get my PhD before I can start having kids, but the instinct is definitely there. A few weeks back I had a very close call. When the test came back negative I was surprised to find that I was disappointed.

Scott said...

MB - Life is funny that way, huh? You definitely should finish your PhD first, as you will have no time left for anything! Don't worry, I knew you were kidding, I was just feeling like throwing up the other side of thought.

Sadie Lou said...

I have two children. Our boy is 8, our girl is 6. We are waiting for our newest arrival who is due on the 19th. (friday). I like your observation that humans give birth to blobs while the rest of the animal kingdom gives birth to semi-independant babies.
I was dead set against not having any more children--I mean geeze--it's been 6 years! Then I saw my sister-in-law give birth to my nephew and I was SO jealous. I was jealous that she got to nurse this little baby late at night, and bathe his little body and watch him sleep...I told my husband, we HAVE to this again. (I'm only 29).
...and we are!
Great post. Feel free to visit my blog.

Scott said...

Sadie - I forgot about watching them sleep. My wife also feels that maternal pull whenever we see a new baby. Who knows, we may try for that little girl.

jenbeauty said...

YAY you finished Harry! It is thrilling to get to the end. I am so desperate for the final book. I can't wait to see how it all plays out.

mr. schprock said...

I wish my kids' first word was "dada." The oldest's was "no" and the youngest's was "Red Sox" (after a lot of coaching on my part).

I actually took a snapshot of my oldest daughter's first step. She was just standing there and, as I pressed the button, she took the step. What are the odds of that?

jenbeauty said...

Here you go Scott

Not much happening at the moment. You can also go to or the Leaky Cauldron. Both are really great Potter sites.

If you have other questions, let me know and we can e-mail.

Scott said...

Mr. Schprock - I forgot all about the first step; this post came up way short of all the milestones. I almost didn't write it because I knew I wouldn't do it justice. My wife and I celebrated when we stood Jackson and had him take his first steps between us. You can't leave out the first "poop" in the potty chair either, but that really leaves the non-parents in the cold, doesn't it.

Jen - Thanks for the link. I'm a little behind in reading the latest in the Potter saga, but what a page turner it was. It's been a looong time since I was up at three because I just couldn't put the book down.

jenbeauty said...

I have been into a Ludlam book lately. It was that way for me in that book.

My mom and dad are huge Harold Robbins fans. Mom had given me a few of those a couple of months back. I picked up "The Carpet Baggers" a few days ago and have been unable to stop. That book came out in 1961 and whew is it "racy". Quite a change from Harry Potter.

I am in one of those reading modes. I have also been reading some classics to the kids.

Jason said...

My son is 3 1/2 and starting preschool in a couple of weeks; my daughter is 22 months. I think that's it for me, but time will tell. One thing's for sure, you miss those times when they were a baby, a two-year-old, a three-year-old, etc., once they're gone.

Sadie Lou said...

Oh do try for that girl--they are so sweet; so different.

Preschool! Awwww...I'm glad I get to do that again.

The Zombieslayer said...

Well, I disagree with you that our reasons for mating is to continue our lives because we know we're going to die. Proof of that is that gorgeous blonde sitting to the left of me. I think that's the urge to mate right there.

All right, I better go home soon or else I'm going to get in trouble.

Shesawriter said...

I don't look forward to the key thingie because I'm living it. LOL! My daughter is about to get her license and she will NOT be driving my car. :-)


Scott said...

Jen - I read the Bourne trilogy (before the movies) and really enjoyed it.

Jason - Don't I know it. I've said many times that I already miss my kids now, years before they move out.

Sadie - Well, it's really up to my little lady, isn't it? I just do what I'm told!

Zombie - Have you ever explored the roots of that attraction, or questioned it's practical use?

Tanya - I hear you sister, see my next post.

Joely Sue Burkhart said...

I love your posts about the kids and being a kid. "We don't need no stinking sleep!" is about right! I think we've been to the movies once all year. But we wouldn't give up the monsters for anything in the world.

Sadie Lou said...

Sadie - Well, it's really up to my little lady, isn't it? I just do what I'm told!

Yes. It is. My husband would have as many kids as I wanted. He's always game for more.
I said in today's post that I am so thankful for this baby we're would have been depressing if I didn't have this new baby to look forward to. Today is the first time both my kids are in school for full days...
After Natalie I thought we were done for good and I didn't change my mind until Nov. of last year.
I'm pretty suer this baby WILL be the last one. This pregnancy, in a word, sucked.
But I'm glad we did it.