Monday, February 8, 2010

A Note to Jonathan

My best friend since junior high school had a baby last week. If anyone is counting--or curious--that is 23 years of friendship. It seems like not long ago that I was 23 YEARS OLD. But I digress.

Jonathan gave the most eloquent, heartfelt, moving toast at my wedding, and I thought of doing the same at his wedding, but I knew I would ugly-cry in front of people I didn't know, so I mumbled something to the effect of "what he said" and sat down. Thus for a little over a week now I've been walking around--unsuccessfully--trying to write a letter in my head to him about becoming a father. (A parent at least--my knowledge of actual FATHERhood is pretty secondhand).

With children, our lives changed in about 1001 wonderful ways and about 4 really really cruddy ways.

On to the cruddy ways, Jonathan.

1) The sleep. If I could sum up the difficulties of new parenting--for me, it all comes down to sleep. Lack of sleep makes you irrational and cranky and sometimes downright mean. I don't have any good advice here, as we are still trying to figure it out 5 years and 3 kids later, but I at least now I get that 90% of that crazy emotionalism and crankies were due to just being daggum tired.

2) The fights. Any arguments between you and Jill that take place between the hours of 1am and 6am DO NOT COUNT. They are not about either one of you or what you are doing or not doing. They are because you are butt tired. See #1.

3) The plastic. I have been to your cute little historic house. I loved it. So grown up and well tended with books on the coffee table and pretty towels for guests. All that is about to go to hell. You are going to have plastic crap from one French door to another. As you know, I'm pretty environmentally savvy and am very conscious about plastic acquisitions, and yet I cannot turn around without tripping on the primary-colored stuff.

4) The time. And here it is--the big dirty secret. Your time is no longer your own. You are not in charge of it (at least for the time being). You cannot read a book when you feel like it. Or go to the bathroom. Or eat. Or read the NY Times. Or talk on the phone to friends you have known for 23 years. Rest assured, you get to do all these things a little later, but even still not necessarily on your time. And oddly enough you adjust to it.

And the good stuff? Oh my. The smiles. Say what you will, but you may secretly question the rationality of it all until after 6 weeks or so and you get that first baby smile. You will think that Anderson's smile is the most beautiful thing on God's green earth and secretly he is so much cuter than all your friends' babies. (He is.)

The brilliant things they say (see previous post). The giggles. The pride. The singing in the rear view mirror. The little bottoms in a bathing suit. The hugs and "I wuv you's". The soccer games (with or without the soccer ball). The snuggling and kisses. The miraculous writing of the letter "K". I could go on and on. Careful or I will.

Advice? Not really. Buy a good camera. Live near at least one set of your parents. Take a midnight feeding for yourself--you won't regret the quiet bonding in the middle of the night (notwithstanding #1). Call your friends who have done it before. Let Jill shower every day. Actually make her shower every day. (Everyone feels better.) Write it down.

Sleep when you can. And know that the bad stuff won't last forever. But the good stuff will.

Or so I'm told.

Ciao a tutti.


  1. Hi - I'm back. This is good advice for an old friend! About losing your time and everything that's yours - I remember hearing a mom/author's answer to why she writes. She said she needed something of her own because the kids even slurped the foam off of her latte. Cheers to that and the cute milk mustaches that follow!