There's something so moving--and gratifying as well, somehow--about seeing a son enter fatherhood, something that is different, for this mother, at least, than having watched my daughters in the earliest days of motherhood. The physical process of pregnancy and then the intense, overwhelmingly corporeal experience of labour and delivery, the hormonal streams transforming a new mother's emotions (not to mention her very neurology) -- all that is astonishingly transformative, ever so powerful.
But having raised a son who is able to stand back and support a woman through that process, who works to discern the balance between hiding and sharing his own anxieties, who agonizes over his partner's pain and is amazed by her strength, and then after all that, who humbly learns to diaper and to swaddle and to comfort a newborn in his arms because her mother's surgery means he's the mobile parent. . . . Well, that's me wiping a discreet tear or two away. . .
Only two generations ago, and this guy would have been hard to imagine, although my dad always managed to get himself to my mom's side and to baby as soon as possible. Not sure he could have got anywhere near after a section though. Even a generation ago, although my husband was a wonderful hands-on dad, the first days' care were pretty much left to me, at least for first baby. But these days, as moved as I am to see my son with his newborn in his arms, I know, happily, he's no exception. I saw my son-in-love cover the same territory just months ago, stepping in ever so competently to do the heavy lifting, literally, while my daughter's abdomen stitched itself back together.
All his life, my son has had wonderful models of fatherhood. His own father especially, but also his grandfathers, uncles, and, these last six years, his brothers-in-law. In fact, as reported by one of those brothers, when all were leaving the hospital after visiting newborn niece last summer, Z. was heard to mutter, "Lot of good dads in this family. I'm really going to have to step up." And he has. And he will.
So proud of you son. And so happy for you and Joey and wee Eloise. Let the games begin!
We have Little Girl Nola coming to stay with us for the first week of her school Spring Break, so I'm not sure how much blogging time I'll have, although I do have a few posts almost ready. I'm not likely to find time to respond to all your kind and thoughtful comments on the last two posts, but I've read them all and it's surprising how much consolation I find in them. Thank you for reading and thank you for caring. It means a great deal.