I take pride in my work ethic, working hard and going above and beyond to do what’s best for my family and my company. There has never been a time in my life where anyone would have found me asleep on the job. I’ve worked in many different environments since I was ten years old, work days that lasted over 15 hours, and have somehow managed to put in the extra time to keep up with my personal activities and entertain Jackie’s very often at times warped idea of what constitute as “doing something fun.”
All that changes in an instant, and on a short elevator ride from the basement of my office building to the third floor I became a victim the second worst kind of enemy behind time, sleep.
What I learned today about being a father:
When the elevator reached the 8th floor a co-worker of mine tapped me on the shoulder. “You OK?” I was startled and nearly buckled, leaning into the corner of the elevator I had shut my eyes for what I thought was just a second, but on the way up I had dozed, just like that.
He smiled widely and, aware of our new baby, simply said “You’ll get used to it.”
Please be aware, you’ll never get used to falling asleep in an elevator. I mean seriously, it’s a metal box with no soft edges. The mirrored plates that line the inner workings of most elevators are usually cold, sticky to the touch. Has anyone else ever noticed the unnatural film that is invisible to the naked eye that builds up inside elevators? The sides of my hair changed drastically from said film, sticking out in ways I never thought possible. A quick trip to the bathroom and a few finger-fulls of water would do nothing to contain the new bend that had formed. And though it was only a few bunches of hair, by the looks of me it had become obvious to myself (and everyone else in the office) that being daddy has changed me.
What I think I know:
To make it through the day I was extra caffeinated and made a point to walk around for at least 20 minutes of every hour. It was the longest day of my life, and my coworkers all had something to say about how pale I looked, how my the redness of my eyes was out of control, and there were only a few pokes of fun about my stint of sleeping in the elevator (like all great work stories, mine made its way through office email).
Though it was tough to get through the work day, it was much easier when I got home. At home it’s go-go-go, and being daddy means that I have to be prepared to take Griffin out of mama’s hands so she can take care of her needs, make dinner while baby feeds and mama pumps, rock child when he’s fussy, change pants when it is needed, and by all means never, ever, forget to take out the garbage. Being daddy is about resilience, fighting off being tired and finding the extra energy throughout the day to make things happen. Today, when I got home, Jackie could tell I was tired, worn out, beat up from the inside and that I needed some time, just a few minutes, to rest my body…And then she went all in about the dealings of her day and I can tell you this much, no matter how hard the day is at work, no matter how tired I think I am, it’s nothing compared to being mommy.