Right around this time nine years ago, my wife shared the news that she was pregnant with our first child. And though there was joy (much, much joy), there was also something else. Something I had to keep swallowing lest it spew from every pore of my body.
Fear. I was scared. So scared, in fact, that it nearly shook my soul.
Not that I didn’t feel I was ready to be a father. My wife and I had stable incomes, our own home, and money in the bank; it was as good a time as any. No, the fear was something else. Something deeper.
Kids tend to see their parents as some sort of superhero/sage hybrid. I know I saw my parents as that. My father was the strongest, bravest, toughest man in the world. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do. That image of him lasted nearly thirteen years until it shattered one July afternoon.
We were playing ball the way we always did in the backyard where we always did it—me standing with bat in hand in front of the maple tree, him twenty or so feet away near the clothesline. We tossed me batting practice for thirty minutes, lobbing baseball after baseball, until there was only one left in the bucket.
Gonna bring it, he said. He always said that before throwing the last ball. It meant no lobbing. No easy pitch. It was instead extra heat, a blur of white and an angry hiss I could never catch. He always dared me to hit it and I always dreaded him throwing it. Because that heat scared me. It was cowhide-stitched death…
I’m over at highcallingblogs today, so if you’d like you can see the rest of this story here. I will say this was a tough one to write. Subject matter is plentiful when it comes to parenting, but some of those subjects are ones I’m not all together comfortable with. At least not yet. But I’m trying.