January 20, 2014

Restless: A Dad’s Midnight Fears.

My mind is still restless, my chest is taught and I’ve been churning for the past hour.


1:00 am. Awake. Again. There it is. That incessant tightness in my chest. The one that feels like a beehive—it clings needlessly for hours. I know why it’s there. I get up to the bathroom, maybe the distraction will shake it off.

1:30 am. Still awake. I maunder on the edge of sleep. That beehive keeps me on this side of my dreams. Oliver wakes up—he fuses a few seconds and pitter-patters his tiny feet across the room to Mama’s side of the bed. She pulls him in and he quickly falls asleep between us.

2:00 am. My mind is still restless, my chest is taught and I’ve been churning for the past hour. Sigh. It’s been a year now. We should have moved in July—today, it’s January 15th. I stopped taking new contracts because I expected to be starting fresh in a new country. I was eager for the new adventure. While I waited, I became a full time Papa and saw it as a great opportunity to recharge my creative batteries and explore new directions.

The facade of enthusiasm is wearing thin—I’m in limbo.

I can’t start taking contracts since I should be moving in the next six months (I get hired a full year out for my gigs). I take what little shows up but it’s not really enough. I’m living with my in-laws and the adjustment has been rough. This is not my home.

I’m feeling insecure right now. That’s why I have anxiety. I know it.

2:30 am. Oliver shifts in the bed. He curls up and puts his head on my tummy. It reminds of when Sara and I found out we were pregnant—we’d only been dating six months. Sara said to me “You can be as much of a father as you want.”

I chose to be a present, kind and loving father.

Sara and I recently got married—we were a little on the fence about where we were going. But, we survived the pregnancy as a couple and got to know each other well and decided we liked what we discovered.

But I confess, there were times when adjusting to parenthood, I wished he’d never happened.

What scares me now is exactly what scared me then—the mind-blowing uncertainty of losing my ground. The lifestyle I was accustomed to and the career I was cultivating are no longer certain. I had nothing to grasp; all I had was a heart that had been cracked wide open by this baby boy who needed everything from his Mama and Papa.

Oliver shifts again. It must have been around 2:45 am. He snuggles into my side and I can feel his fine hair against my cheek. He breathes softly, rhythmically. It’s cold tonight so all three of us are sharing the warmth. Slowly, I begin to follow his rhythm and am eventually lulled to sleep.

If the gods wanted to punish me they’d have granted my wish and I’d never known what I have now.

Life is uncertain in every way. Soon Oliver will go to school, Sara will be established in her new job, I will be starting a new business (again). And even then, when I think I’ve got it figured out, Oliver will go to college, our family will be redefined and the ground will be pulled out from under me—again.

And that’s just how I think it could happen.

So I can’t get too worked up about feeling insecure—nothing was ever really secure.

I might as well get comfortable with it.

That’s life.


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Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: Richard May/Flickr.

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