A Parenting Memory
Some friends of ours, Steve and Nancy just had a baby daughter. It got me thinking.
When our first child was born, like many couples, we split the night feeding shifts. Baby Ronin’s schedule was to feed at 11:30 p.m. (which I did so my wife could go to bed earlier) and 4:30 a.m. (which Jess did so I could sleep in a bit.)
Typically, I would do a set at the club and get back in time to feed Ronin. I would sit in front of the TV and watch Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. The show was a bit hit and miss, but I loved the idea that somewhere on network television was a place for unfiltered opinions. It quickly became my favorite moment of any day; I had just returned from making a room full of people laugh and then I sat down with my beautiful new boy, Ronin, who would take his bottle while I watched somebody saying something that might actually mean something.
At first, like most babies, Ronin just fed and slept. That was a great feeling in itself. Then, one night, after he had finished his bottle, I felt his head shift on my shoulder in a way it hadn’t before. I looked down to see he had angled his head to watch the show. I can’t remember what exactly we were watching; maybe Sarah Silverman explaining the context of a joke to the most humourless man on the planet, or maybe it was Latino comic Paul Rodriguez absolutely schooling a Republican on the unfair history of U.S. – Mexican treaties, or in what was one of my favorite moments, watching a fundamentalist Christian denounce the benefits of all science, (this while appearing in a medium that sent his message through space and all over the globe using the latest advances in digital satellite communication)
Whatever it was, Ronin stared at the TV for a minute. We were sharing one of my most favorite things; a conversation where truth meets bullshit. (except of course if it’s my bullshit, I don’t like that at all) He looked up at me and smiled before going back to sleep. It felt like he was saying “I have no idea what this about dad, but enjoy, I’m going back to bed”
I don’t think he was more than six weeks old. I felt like I had witnessed his awareness of the outside world emerge for the first time. A ‘baby step’ for sure, but one of many that I continue to enjoy. To me, those are the moments that define what it is to be a parent. You are entitled to watch a new soul emerge and take in this beautiful and twisted planet. To my friends, Steve and Nancy, and anyone who is just embarking on the journey of parenthood, I hope you enjoy every minute, especially the little ones.