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September 9th, 2010

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09:52 pm - PERSPECTIVE
I started watching Star Trek (2009) on the Roku while folding laundry today. It was the third time I'd seen the movie, but the first that I actually choked up during the Birth-of-Kirk scene in which his father selflessly rams his ship into a Romulan warbird so that his crew (which includes his wife and just-born child) can safely escape. I thought about how much it would suck if I had to die right when my kid was being born.

And then I remembered how I actually felt when The Daughter was first born.

You hear a lot of men talk about how the moment of their child's birth is one of the most joyful events of their lives.

Crap. Unless you were independently wealthy or completely delusional, I call shenanigans.

At the moment The Daughter was born I was petrified. I had no idea how to pay for her and even less of one of how to actually care for her. I literally ran around the delivery room looking for something to do because... well, I had to do something for my newborn, right? But there was no need. A small army of nurses and in-laws were providing everything that The Daughter needed. I then realized that The Daughter had so many needs that it required a small army of nurses and in-laws to provide for them and that soon this army would be gone and it would just be The Wife and me and I almost started crying just as loud as The Daughter.

I felt a little ashamed at the time, but now I'm pretty sure that what I was going through was perfectly normal.

It took three years for my memory or her birth to be altered. Three years of actual interaction with The Daughter so I would know what I would have been missing if I had to, say, aim a Federation starship toward the bowels of a hostile battle cruiser and miss the experience of seeing my child grow up. Three years for me to get misty at the start of Star Trek (2009).

A case of better-late-than-never? Not exactly. More a case of knowledge. I was worried when she was born because I didn't know how we were going to take care of her. Now I worry because I know how much we like her (even when she's being totally infuriating) and I can't stand the idea of not only losing her, but of never having her in the first place.

I guess that finally makes me a real parent.

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