I made a reasonable shift from bachelor to husband. Yes, there were fewer hockey pucks around and the house smelled slightly less of leather and steel but, overall, I didn’t feel fundamentally different.
I had heard that fatherhood changes you and I was told that the first hint of this shift would occur with the complete obliteration of a sleeping pattern. I suppose this is would normally be true but the hours we kept for the first few months after W’s arrival were not that different from being devoted to flyfishing and guiding. I would find very little sleep in between tides and was at the whim of grumpy clients with unreasonable requests at all hours of the morning and were wont to fall asleep at the peak times of the day smelling vaguely of vomit. So, really, not that different.
I expected the ridiculous hours and while it was not easy, this did not completely bring me into the fold of fatherhood. In the past couple of years I have kissed my son’s knee when it received a scratch from the pavement. I have slept on the floor beside his crib to assuage his fears of sleep taking him over and I have cleaned up a backseat shellacked with puke while wearing a fine Italian suit. These all felt very fatherly at the time but I had not truly transitioned.
I recently received a text:
I am heading to the lake to hunt next weekend. Need my deer for the year. You in?
Nope. I’m taking W to see Raffi.
I can’t go hunting because I’m going to sing Baby Beluga, in public, with my 2-year-old. And I'm quite sure it’s going to be awesome.
My transition to Dad is complete. I feel different.