Sunday, July 6, 2008

You're either on the parent bus or off it.

A few months ago my lifelong friend Bill, who got to fatherhood many years ahead of me, asked me to describe the biggest change parenthood had brought to my life. I've thought about the question many times since. For one thing, I'm always slightly damp, either from wrangling the baby, playing with the baby or being underneath the baby when he erupts. But I've been slightly damp for my entire adult life, so that's not a huge change.

Sometime in the first few weeks I realized I was doing a lot of things in the dark for fear of waking the baby, but now he's in his own room and on a relatively regular schedule, so that's not much of a factor anymore.

At some point in the last month, probably during the trip to LA, I realized I was making ridiculous faces and singing to Conrad in public with absolutely no concern for what anyone nearby might think. At first that seemed like a big change but in retrospect I've done lots of goofy things - intentionally - in front of audiences large and small. So not a big deal.

Today, however, it all became clear when I found myself on the lawn at Weaver Street Market, our local organic co-op, dancing with Conrad to the music of a really not particularly all that good post-hippie cover band. "I hope I don't see anyone I know," I thought, and then realized that everyone I knew who might be critical was still asleep and the rest have kids. And so on I danced. I did not, however, twirl or hoop. Parenthood can only change me so much.

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