November 26, 2014
Let’s post some love after the riots and before Thanksgiving. I’m sure this blog will feature a few rants, including the exasperation that parents apparently experience (Can parents really disown their kids? My mom told me that quite often) and me wondering why I didn’t do this when I was 20. But today I’d like to share the love.
I’ve loved people, moments, bands and stuff. I love my record collection. I’ve always thought if my house caught fire the first order of business would be to save my autographed Ramones albums. But there really is no comparison to the love a parent feels for a child. It’s like some drug-like state of euphoria and anxiety. Like what you thought love was supposed to be like when you were 13.
I was one of those people who made fun of “breeders” with their mini-vans and screaming brats on cross-country flights. As a childless dude, I had ultimate autonomy. If I wanted to go see a band on a Wednesday night, I would just go. If I wanted to spend my money a blue leather jacket because it looked like something Axl Rose might wear, I could do it. (It was on Kings Road, London in 1991 and I would give anything to trade that ugly thing in on a baby bike trailer.) People who had babies were just adding to the population bomb and the rising idiocracy. Look at that mom, smoking in her kid’s face. Forced sterilization!
Of course, I had to reconcile my hostility with my feminist values. Pro-choice means you can also choose to produce mini-yous if you want to and maybe this generation of rug rats will be the one to finally smash patriarchy. Each wave of youth gets a little less douchebaggy, right?
But then we got pregnant. It was planned. We said, “Let’s get pregnant!” and a month later we were. In fact on our second date, sitting at the bar in Binks on Alberta, I looked at Andrea and said, “We’re going have kids, aren’t we?” And the dread started to fade. That autonomy that had defined my masculinity for decades seemed like something I was ready to let go of, for something much better.
I’ve a lot of amazing moments in my life. April 29, 1985. I played guitar onstage with U2 in my hometown of Atlanta. Pretty awesome, right? It does not even compare to the first time we heard our baby’s heartbeat. The world changed in that instant. I heard a giant whooshing sound, like a massive black hole being shrunk down to a tiny singularity. My life was no longer about me and all the things and experiences I could collect. It was now about that heartbeat and protecting it with all my might. For the rest of my life.
That moment changed me. It destroyed my ego and opened up a part of my heart that I never even knew was there. In that moment, my life as a human finally started. And now that she’s here, I just have to look at her and the dopamine starts flowing in my brain. So I look at her a lot. I can’t believe that she’s here and that I had anything to do with her creation. Babies are the best drug ever.
So I get it, parents. I’ve got the secret now. I apologize for fantasizing about keying Volvos and bringing back “Adults Only” apartment complexes. When your kid is screaming next to me on the flight, I’m just going to look at you and say, “Isn’t this awesome?”