Everything Shifted

Michael Bryant daddy-o

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It’s not uncommon to hear giggling coming out of our bathroom. Often, my son laughs non-stop while he splashes around in the bathtub until it’s time to rinse the tear-free suds out of his hair. The laugh I heard the other night, from behind the closed door, came from my wife. It was a laugh I couldn’t really place. It wasn’t the typical chest laugh that comes when I tell her what antics our kids have been up to. Nor was it the throaty giggle that I love, and can recognize from across the room with a well-placed look. To be honest, its foreignness made me a little nervous. I stayed in my seat and waited for her to make her way across the vast expanse of all 300 feet between our little water closet and my recliner.

She shuffled stepped around the corner and moved the baby gate. That’s when I noticed the white plastic stick in her hand. Her face was red, covered by a half-smiling and half-incredulous look as she said, “I’m pregnant.”

Her statement sucked the air right out of the room. For a moment, my mind tumbled through my daily routine as a stay-at-home-dad of two kids under three. How would I fit an infant into the mix? Sweat beaded on my forehead as the yard, house, dogs, chickens, garden, my small truck, our empty bank account, appointments, my wife’s new job, our hopes and plans all flashed through my mind.

I looked at our walls covered in pictures of our amazing son and daughter. I remembered the pain of the miscarriage that separated the two. My mind and body swirled with joy and fear as I desperately tried to separate the two and figure out which emotion was the correct one to feel in this moment.

I realized that the very act of parenthood was more complicated than a single emotion. We have a picture from the moment my son was born and it’s hard to tell if my expression is one of agony or ecstasy. In retrospect, I know it was both. In that visceral moment of feeling a love deeper than I could ever fathom, I realized I would forever be so deeply vulnerable when it came to this tiny human that I had to learn to live in a different way. Each time why wife told me that we were expecting, everything shifted.

And yet again, my entire life had instantly changed.

I inhaled that change with my entire being, looked up at my wife, and smiled so big that my face hurt.

I shouted with joy.

That’s how a page turned in our book and a new chapter began. It didn’t matter what tomorrow was going to bring. We were being blessed again beyond measure.

This essay was published in Mamalode's newest print magazine themed 'IT'S COMPLICATED'



About the Author

Michael Bryant

Michael Bryant is a Stay-At-Home-Dad in rural Virginia. You can read more of his work at .

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December 2014
it's complicated
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