Tougher than my dad
Hello and welcome to my new dad blog – Beer & Diapers.
My name is John, and I’m a 30-something professional writer, husband to the lovely Kate, and father of a wonderfully crazy two-year-old named Daniel. In the upcoming months, I hope to capture all the magic, excitement and challenges of being a dad at the beginning of the 21st Century.
So where to begin with my story? Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.
My English major wife will immediately point out that I’m plagiarizing Dickens.
If I’m going to rip off anyone, it might as well be Kurt Vonnegut’s first line from Slaughterhouse Five: All this happened, more or less.
Every guy to a certain extent lives in the shadow of his father. I don’t want to paint the wrong picture of him, because my dad has a huge heart and a big soft side when it comes to his family. On the other hand, he’s one of the toughest guys I know. He grew up on a small farm in rural Kentucky, won multiple Bronze Stars in Vietnam, and spent 20+ years working hundreds of feet in the air as an iron worker. It’s safe to say that growing up as a nerdy kid in suburbia, I could never claim to be tougher than my dad.
If I’m like Ron Livingston’s character in Office Space. My dad is Ron Livingston’s character in Band of Brothers.
That all changed the night Daniel was born. You see, when I was born my dad hung out in the waiting lobby while the doctor and nurses helped mom get through delivery. The 1970s are a far cry from today, when fathers are expected to be in the delivery room. However, going in I had no idea how involved I was going to get.
Kate had to be induced, so I don’t have any cool stories about rushing her to the hospital through a driving blizzard. Instead, Kate and I waited from about six in the morning up until around dinner time.
Kate’s contractions really kicked in right around 7 p.m., and she requested drugs. The epidural went in around the time Jeopardy came on. Kate’s sister Noreen was in the room with us,and she joked that thanks to the epidural I was finally going to be able to beat my wife at guessing the next answer. Kate actually fell asleep for awhile, and I think I dozed myself.
Shortly before midnight, Kate began the final contractions. We had a great delivery nurse named Jean who did a great job of putting Kate at ease and coaching her through the pain. But in true DeWeese family style, little Daniel was going to take his sweet time arriving. It wasn’t long until nurse Jean told me to grab Kate’s leg and take over as lead breathing coach/cheerleader.
This was definitely not what I signed up for. I had this strange idea that I would be at the head of the bed, holding my wife’s hand and trying not to look past the handy dandy dividing sheet.
Instead of being safe back in the control room, I found myself down on the ground with seal team six. I won’t go into gory details, except to say that watching your son come into the world is like watching a particularly gruesome X-Files episode. I remember going into a Zen state, telling Kate over and over again to push and breathe, push and breathe. Holding up her leg became the two person yoga stretch from hell. Finally, the cavalry arrived as our doctor took over to finally bring Daniel into the world. It was then that I realized Kate had been pushing for over three hours.
Exhausted, terrified, and extremely happy, Kate and I took turns cradling our tiny little boy. And it began to dawn on me that for that one night I could say I had it tougher than my dad.