My wife and I just had a baby. His name is Max.
Okay…okay…I know what you’re thinking, but you’re wrong. This isn’t going to be a gushing blog post—the kind where I talk about how perfect my newborn child is. Mainly because, well, things aren’t perfect. Sure, he’s cute and what not, but all those new parent stereotypes they say are true. My Wife and I are very tired. He gets fussy. There’s lots of poop. He needs to eat constantly. I mean, seriously, they consumed less milk in a Clockwork Orange.
But, that’s old news—you already knew that.
Becoming a new parent is a bit of surreal experience. One second the concept of having a baby feels completely nebulous, the next you’re holding a screaming ball of adorableness. You know that it’s all going to be different somehow, but you also feel the same. There was no indoctrination ceremony. No certificate of parenthood. You’re still you. But, you know, you’re also not.
People often say that having babies is “the reason,”—the thing makes everything—this giant mashup of pain, love, and craziness called humanity worth it. Well, I don’t know if that’s completely true, but I do know that when they come into this world they give us a reason to hope.
A favorite writer of mine, Jonathan Safran Foer, I think it puts it best in the introduction to his book Eating Animals.
“A few days after we came home from the hospital, I sent a letter to a friend, including a photo of my son and some first impressions of fatherhood. He responded, simply, ‘Everything is possible again.’ It was the perfect thing to write, because that was exactly how it felt. We could retell our stories and make them better, more representative or aspirational. Or we could choose to tell different stories. The world itself had another chance.”
That statement is brilliant in its simplicity. Everything is possible again. My Son can get it right this time. He’s a clean slate. Yes, I realize he will make mistakes, but right now, he’s batting a thousand, stepping up to the plate with a perfect record. He has a chance to say all the things I didn’t, to be witty when I wasn’t, to not give up when I did. He can be bold when I was too scared, smart when I was too dumb. He’ll be more suave than I was, more confident. His clothes will be more stylish (seriously, remember JNCO jeans? That was messed up). He’ll kick ass, take names, and chew bubblegum.
And, so, in my Son’s newborn flawlessness he stands ready to tackle this world’s challenges anew. Because it’s in the trying—the attempt for greatness—that gives each day meaning. Yes, my friends, everything is indeed possible again.