Do Better Thursday – Daley Dose: Fatherhood, A Fool’s Errand

Fatherood, A Fool’s Errand by Ordale J. Allen

On July 6, 2010 my wife gave birth to our first child, a baby girl named Zoe. Not only was she born on my birthday, but also the same day of the week and in the same hospital. With that many coincidences it’s either a miracle or an (THE) omen.

The last three weeks have been life altering so much so that it’s difficult to answer the question, “What’s fatherhood like?” It’s one hell of an experience. I could tell you that baby’s are a bundle of joy and that childbirth is one of the most beautiful experiences in the world but I’d be lying through my teeth. I’ll let the pregnancy books and saps over at Lifetime tell you that. Pregnancy, childbirth and parenting are beautiful to the people who don’t have kids.

My wife was pregnant for ten months. During that time I went from sleeping in a queen sized bed to sleeping in the fetal position in the corner on the floor. I learned to speak only when spoken to, not wear any scent that she found offensive (everything except deodorant) and to take ownership for everything that happens. If it rained too loud…”yeah my bad.”

Childbirth was a whole different monster. I will say this. My wife is either one strong woman—perhaps the result of being the most recent on a lineage of Black women hardened by the injustices of slavery—or she’s a warlock. How an eight pound child came out of something the size of a keyhole is still a mystery… and I had a front row seat. During the twelve hours of labor my wife went from “I love you” to “I will extinguish the light of every soul in this hospital if you don’t find the anesthesiologist.” Don’t even get me started on the hazmat team that had to come in to clean up all the blood. From now on, I will kneel down like they did in the olden monarch days whenever my wife enters a room.

My daughter…I love her to death but I’m not sure if it’s pure parental love or Stockholm Syndrome. Understand this: Children—no matter how young—already run you. For all intents and purposes, you are their bitch. They cry, you jump. You feed them, burp them, bathe them and change them and you’d better be damn thankful for the opportunity. I actually sneak around my own damn apartment for fear of disturbing HER sleep. Never mind that I haven’t slept longer than three hours in three weeks.

I’m the same guy who stands in the grocery store with a calculator comparing grams, ounces and “per pound value” to determine if a sale is really worth it. I will melt two mini bars of soap into one full bar before I’ll throw it away. I’m cheap. Despite my frugality, the princess is immune to my concerns. She doesn’t want to sleep in the three hundred dollar crib? That’s fine. The two hundred dollar swing isn’t doing it for her? No problem. My five dollar box of wings and fries is getting cold because she wants me to hold her until she becomes bored with me? That’s no big deal.

I’m encouraging everyone to donate to their local Child Support Office. If I have to go through this then every sperm donor has to go through this. I won’t rest until every office has its own Apache Helicopter and night vision goggles.

– Ordale J. Allen

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