Andrew Ferri @Andrew_Ferri: you’ve chronicled your experiences as a father, what is your top-ten list when expecting?
I was scared to death when my first wife was pregnant with my first kid. I wasn’t ready but maybe nobody is. I didn’t want to have kids initially although now I’m certainly glad that she’s a healthy 13 years old. Shit, I can’t believe it’s been 13 years.
One time, while my ex was pregnant, she asked me to take out the garbage. I grabbed the green bag and threw it down the incinerator then I did what I did every single night during the entire period of her pregnancy. I went out and played poker all night at the Mayfair Club on 25th Street and Madison. It was only later I realized what I had done: I had thrown out the bag of all her post-pregnancy clothes. The specific clothes that would fit her when her body was in between “here” and “there”” after having the baby.
Of course I didn’t tell her.
So it was only, post-baby, when she was getting ready for an Easter party, that she realized she had no clothes. Zero. I had thrown them all out six months earlier. She was upset. Very upset. Crying upset. I grabbed my baby and I didn’t know what I was going to do. I felt like holding onto the baby would be the only way to protect myself. The baby was crying. I felt like if we both jumped out the window 21 floors up, then this problem would be solved.
I didn’t do that. I didn’t do a lot of things. I would go out for a haircut and not come back for five hours. I’d sit in the coffee shop across the street and read. Ahh, peace and quiet. I’d call and say “there’s a big line to get a haircut”.
The whole relationship with my ex-wife changed when we started having kids. I started to travel more. I kept playing poker. I went on a self-sabotage binge that cost me all of my money, cost me the house we bought and rebuilt, cost me many hours and months and years I could’ve spent with my child. I’m thinking about her right now, all of 13, in her teenage new-hormone daze. How many months did I waste not getting to know her better? Is it too late for me to make that up? I hope not.
I remember one time I went to drop her off when she was 18 months old at some sort of kid-play-music thing. As I was walking out I heard her say in the tiniest, squeakiest voice, “bye daddy.” And it stopped me. She was waving. My eyes teared up.
And now I wonder. Will she ever miss me that way again. Will she ever need me that way again. My eyes are tearing up.
Maybe some other time I’ll have a top ten list.