I thought of different ways to start this, but decided to take a brutally honest route…
I wasn’t ready to be a father at 19…
I wasn’t ready to be a father at 19 nor did I want to be. At 19 I was finishing my first year of college, had plans of partying all summer, starting a business, working, and having a lot of intimate moments with my girlfriend at the time. Playing daddy was nowhere in the agenda.
My girlfriend at the time, Lola, told me three days before thanksgiving the previous year that she wasn’t feeling great. I chalked it up to something she ate. She insisted she was pregnant because besides not feeling great, her monthly red headed friend never appeared. I made statement after statement on why she wasn’t pregnant, and a clinical physician’s rebuttal was 2 positive pregnancy tests and a prescription for prenatals.
Needless to say for an 18 year old, you might as well just have turned the lights on at the club to horrifically stare at the part wildebeest that’s been your dance partner for the past 10 mins.
The months that passed were a blur, but I know I wasn’t happy at all. I tried being positive but throughout all of the planning of baby showers & names, all I saw was my absolute freedom being slowly snatched away from me.
So what changed?
Two months & two days after my birthday, my son, E.G., was born and he made a hell of an entrance. During the night before, I watched Lola fight through contractions as thunder, lightning, & rain waged war above us in the blackened cloudy sky. I took a deep breath and accepted what was to come because there was no turning back at this point. I walked to the window to listen to battle cry of the storm just to watch it end. I don’t know how long I stood there watching the clouds part and eventually fade, but I was eventually eye to eye with a night sky illuminating full moon. I heard the ear piercing scream of Lola behind me and I knew E.G. decided it was time to prepare to come.
July 16th, 2012, 8:42am
Lola is being stitched up by the nurses. The sounds of her colorful language and the medical teams not so low talking was all drowned out by a concept that I had dreaded the past eight and a half months. I had kept it all in but now it was there in my face and I couldn’t ignore it any longer.
He was 6lbs, 11oz, 19 1/2 inches long. His eyes were puffy, his back was (and still is) hairy, and his eyes were a deep brown…
As I held this bundle in my arms my thoughts went back to the full moon from the night before. 19 years ago I was born on a full moon. The fact that he used the full moon as an signal to begin his entry into the world made me smile. More importantly…
… He looked just like me.
I gently put my index finger in his hand and watched as he gripped it as tight as he could. He tried to open his eyes but I guess the light was too bright. As E.G. gripped my finger as if it was the o my thing keeping him in the world I unconsciously began reflect on my own life. I didn’t know my biological father, and my adoptive father died when I was 5. My list of male figures were few & far in between. I didn’t really have a male figure that I could reflect back to.
As I looked down at my newborn son, I felt the crushing weight of being a fatherless child ready to take the breath out of my lungs. I came to the realization long before, but one of the main reasons I didn’t want to be a father confirmed itself that day. I asked my son “How can I be a father to you when I have no point of reference?”
All of the thoughts I had before that moment I was suddenly ashamed of. Thinking about what others thought of me took a backseat for once. How could I be so selfish to not want something that my son didn’t ask for. He didn’t ask to be here, but he was now.
At that point I made a promise to give my all into figuring out fatherhood because my son deserved nothing less. So as I pushed some of his hair to the side I finally began my first conversation with E.G. that would begin my journey into figuring out what it was to be not only a father but a man.
“So you’re E.G. huh?”
So it began.