We walked today, for the first time in baby’s life. Well, mama and I walked, baby rode, and dog (Archie, pictured left) strutted in tow. It was a top 10 day in Madison, WI, easily one of the best over my five-plus years of living here. We made it half way up the block before baby fussed, scaring mom into a frenzy of what-could-be-wrongs and maybe-this-or-that suggestions that I couldn’t quite comprehend in the manner they were being shot out of her mouth at me. I tried my best to listen and agree, but in the end mama didn’t acknowledge with the idea that baby did not need sun, but that fresh air is good for his lungs and brain. We walked up the hill first, then scurried down it, and back into our little two-bedroom where mama saved baby from whatever it was that ailed him…which was probably my whistling while I walk.
What I learned today about being a father:
My darling wife was in charge of all things baby related when it came to registering for gifts. She overindulged on things, and half of the stuff that fills our apartment don’t make practical sense to own. But one thing she got right was baby’s stroller. I don’t like to name drop, but mama high-rolled on a Britax B-Agile Stroller plus carrier, the high end type of bad-assness stroller that you don’t even expect to get as a baby gift, but ba-bam! She scored!
Anyhow, this thing turns on a dime, rides on the bike path like a cruise liner through open waters and provides excellent pushing sensations that make one want to walk with child…but I only know this because mama keeps telling me. It was a simple lesson today, but a heart dropping one as well. I learned how fold the stroller up, carry it by it’s provided handle to the landing spot outside our apartment, and then unfold back into it’s upright position. Mama handed me Archie’s leash, thanked me for getting the stroller ready, and set sail for a walk that would end up disappointing everyone involved.
What I think I know:
Honestly, there is so much to say about what I think I know that I could go on and on about the state of the world, the workings of mobile magicians, and how every act is in and of itself purposeful no matter how small the act, but I don’t know squat about mamas and babies. I try to understand and listen to the reason that is mama, but babies cry, sometimes, to test us. Today baby cried, and mama, like many mamas do, got scared. She blah-blah-blahed me about all the things that could be going on with baby and convinced me (not rationally, but by turning towards home and leaving me holding Archie) that baby needed to get back inside. She rushed me, “come on, come on” and waved me along only because I had the keys. I unlocked the front door, her grabbing baby and keys and leaving the heavy lifting to me.
We never went back out on that walk like she said we would, so I went running instead. But now my back hurts, and I equate the partial walk, the quick turns and twists to get back inside while navigating Archie backwards-forwards and the constant folding/lifting/unfolding/setting down of said stroller/car seat combo for the blame. It’s the small acts of being daddy that have made my back hurt, but like so many new things in our life my wife made me realize family walks will happen. Being daddy means that I need jut need to bare with her and take it slowly before she’s completely comfortable, “One step at time,” she said.
And when she’s ready to let go, she promised she’d let me walk behind the stroller, too. One step at a time, that’s what being daddy is all about.