Monday, May 7, 2007

Happy birthday, Big Daddy Jacob!

Today is Jacob's birthday. He is 29 or in his own words, "hanging on to his 20s by a thread."

His next birthday will be different in every way - new digit of 3 and 3 will also be the number of members in our little family.

I told him this morning - as he winced at my enthusiastic singing - that next time he hears this it will be a duet - and one of us may just be crying ...

My IQ is decreasing at worrisome constancy, I do things like wander into the bank without a deposit slip in my hand, acting as if this is the first time I've ever deposited a check. I cannot for the life of me keep track of my purse AND my waterbottle at the same time. I park my car at akward angles in a nearly empty parking lot or attempt turn-arounds in no-no places...I don't think I'm a danger to others or myself - yet, but I do catch myself saying or doing incredibly dumb things that I would normally have no patience for in others...

On the up-side of this, I've noticed that I have a greatly enhanced capacity to rumminate..I can ponder a single subject at length and with the kind of determination, akin of a "slow" person's fascination with, say, a shiny doorknob.

So the other day, while I was trying to make preparations for Jacob's little birthday get-together - the red velvet cake came out tasting good, see picture above - I got to thinking about fatherhood...about how my sweet husband of only 29 life years is up against a task, I find intimidating on a good day and daunting on a bad one.

Unlike me - the mother - he doesn't have a list of to-dos dictated by nature. He doesn't POSSESS the built-in ability to nourish The Bean once born, he doesn't have that hormone-induced need to PROTECT The Bean close, he isn't changed physically by the pregnancy, he is left "outside" in the truest sense of the word - I have a baby growing under my heart and many hormones infusing my every thought, he has a view of our baby growing and thriving- a frontrow-seat - but still off stage.

His bond with The Bean has to be created by him from within, with little clear designation from nature.

This morning I heard a clip on NPR featuring presidential candidate Barrak Obama saying that "the ability to father a child doesn't make a father, raising one does..." It caught me off guard, it aptly illustrates what my hormone-addled brain can't say quite that clearly.

Bearing a child is no small task, raising one is a bigger, much bigger task.

I have no doubt that Jacob will be a great father, he will seize the opportunity to mentor his child and rejoice in play alongside him. He will be calm in the face of "danger," he will be patient with misbehavior, he will be kind and thoughtful - and he will do all of this without loosing too many sleepless nights about it.

Unlike me, a creature of endless self-analyzation, Jacob will draw on a deep well that taps into his own vast experience of being a son, his amazing memory of a content childhood, his confidence bestowed in him by his own father, and his honest, close relationship with God.

I may have the built-in ability to provide nourishment to The Bean, but I know - and am comforted by the tought - that Jacob will be able to provide so much beyond that; He will have nourishment for The Bean's spiritual being and help him develop life-skills.

It's been on my mind, that we often focus on the mother-to-be. Her health, her mental state, her plans for the nursery, her aches and pains, her registry etc. Help me focus some of that attention on Jacob, as well. He is "left outside" the whole physical transformation for now, but he is gearing up for an incredibly big job.

It will be a beautiful thing to watch this come about - and I for one am grateful to have a front-row seat to it.

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