January 25, 2007

My Own Family ...

There are nearly 18 million people between the ages of 25-44 who are married with children, and I’m angry with all of them. Why? Not one has asked congress to issue the very important warning label: Children may be hazardous to your softball career.

That’s right, my wife and I are pregnant. (Well, I’m not technically pregnant, though I do have to pee more frequently and I’ve begun to appreciate the stylishness of maternity pants.) It was “an act of God” according to some. It was “about time” according to others. But to us, it was a calculated decision based on maturity, intelligence and love. And, of course, two bottles of Merlot.

Now I know a lot of people are afraid of parenting, but I’m not; I’m only afraid of the big three—heights, snakes and Michael Jackson's nose. I’m pretty confident I’d make a great father. After all, how hard can it be? My parents didn’t know anything and yet they raised a perfect child (no, sister, I’m not talking about you). My close friend had a little girl—a gender neither of us know anything about—and yet he’s been an amazing father. And if there was any doubt to my skills, may I remind you that I’ve seen every Chevy Chase “Vacation” movie at least twice.

The idea of me raising a kid seems crazy at first, but, after you think about it for awhile, you’ll realize it makes perfect sense. I have all the qualities of a responsible adult—I’m 27 years old, have a lovely wife, own a cozy three-bedroom house and work a job I actually enjoy. I brush my teeth regularly and have a clean bill of health. And, if that’s not enough, my head is suffering from another key fatherhood quality—I’m going bald. Can’t get much more dad-like than that.

Now, I know there are doubters out there. Some will say, “How can he raise a kid if he can’t even operate the VCR?” Others will shake their heads and say, “Knowing him, all he’ll feed the baby is nacho cheese Doritos.” And a few will point out that I foolishly spent my entire life savings on a television the size of New Hampshire, but they will do so behind my back because they want me to host this year’s Super Bowl party.

I can’t promise that I’ll be the greatest dad in the world. I can’t even promise that I’ll be the 9th greatest dad in the world. But, so help me, I sure as heck am going to try. (Note: Language toned down for baby purposes.) I’m thumb-deep in five different Be-A-Good-Father books, I’m learning to like veggies and I’m even growing a mustache—yeah, I know, it doesn’t improve my parenting skills but it just looks cool.

Anyway, I plan to chronicle my journey and I hope many of you will join me; after all, I can’t do it alone. This column will follow my experiences of dealing with pregnancy, becoming a father, becoming the husband of a mother, dealing with the newly anointed grandparents and, most important, doing my best not to screw up the child’s life. That’s right, this is the life of dad. So buckle up—it’s going to be crazier than Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.