It was 3:30 am and not a creature was stirring all through our house, then 3:31 struck and it began. The most annoying, aggravating noise you could ever conceive pierced my ears, through a thin wall. It was my beloved nephew, who I truly love, just not for the next two hours. The worst part of it was the guilty feeling I had afterwards of being teeth grindingly angry with him for crying. Ever since I moved in with my sister, I felt a feeling of pride… like I was the noble older brother I never was as a kid, coming in on my silver Subaru and making her life a little easier. What I soon found out was, I became what some friends in the (so called) know dubbed an “insta-daddy.” Now let me just clear the air, I don’t want to, nor claim to be Hudsen’s father, but I do contribute a lot in his life. From picking up soggy teddy grahams to the most horrifying diaper ever expelled from a baby, I have been there for him and for my sister Sarah. I don’t mind helping out (besides the diaper to be frank) and I know that it takes some stress off of a single mom trying to go to school, cook, and still be 21, but lately I start sulking with the “could you...”s and the “would you please...”s. I will readily admit that I am not ready to be a dad, with my own life turned upside down. In between wondering where my next pay check will come from and if I will ever see a degree (of any sort) with my name on it before I turn 40, I am hurtling rubber duckies out of my shower (however cute they may be.) That was two days ago, when all I could think of was shoving Hudsen into a cannon with one of those over-sized Q-tips and blasting him off to China or the moon, whichever made the house quieter. He was teething and had all four molars coming in at once. The pain was just too great for him to sleep through and as soon as he was given some Orajel he calmed down, smiled at me, and went to sleep in my arms. As his warm head rested against my shoulders, I began to think about how upset I get when I am up with things too painful for me to bear. I was there with him crying out in his crib for help and I wasn’t impatient with him anymore. That night wasn’t a cloud bursting, revelatory experience, but I understood a little more of what it is to be Dad, what it is to be a Son, and a little more of the Gospel.


Leanna said...

Having kids myself, I definitely feel like I can relate. I like your image of hurtling the duckies out of your shower. haha But I also know how special those moments can be when you don't lose your temper and you see that baby as a real little person with feelings and problems just like anyone else. Thanks for saying that a lot better than I did just now, and good luck with your job as "insta-daddy." =D

Sky said...

Nice post, Nathan. I loved the aching tension in this piece. And the image of "whichever makes the house quieter" cracked me up. I wonder if you made a pact with your sister & son, somewhere other than earth life, to help her out down here when things got rough.
And it's so good to here from Leanna also.
PS Try ice or popcicles to smooth some of that pain out around his new teeth.

Jami said...

You gave me a heart attack, Nathan, at seeing you hold that baby boy. I thought, "My gosh! I can't have missed out on THAT much!"

So I was happy to realize that no, I indeed did not miss THAT much.

How are you, anyway? Nice piece of writing.