Jonah is three months old today.
Being a dad has been awesome, but I didn’t expect for Jonah to change me as dramatically as he has: He’s already made me a way better human being, which is no small accomplishment, because, as Katie will tell you, I’m obnoxiously stubborn.
I know talking about how great your kid is is going Full Cliche Dad, but screw it: Jonah’s just an amazing little dude. He’s super chill. His hairline is positively monk-ish — almost no hair on top, thick around the sides. He loves playing this piano thing where he lies on his back and kicks the keys. He kicks like crazy, although that’s no surprise, based on what he was like in Katie’s belly. When he looks at you and smiles, it’s the greatest feeling in the world. Even better if he’s talkative and makes those baby cooing and blurping noisees at you. He’s sleeping through most nights.
So, yeah. As far as being a baby goes, he’s pretty great at it.
Sure, there are bad moments, particularly when he’s crying a lot and I’m trying to get work done and I can’t get him to calm down and I don’t know what else to do about it — that’s when the asshole in me gets frustrated as all hell, and I yell, and I want to break things — and then that makes me feel like crap — and I may have broken down crying once.
But by and large, being his dad is the best thing I’ve ever gotten to do, and it’s not even close. I’ve hit walk-off home runs, published a book, written widely praised stories for international magazines, made my wife so happy she cries, and she’s made me so grateful that I’ve cried, and on and on I could go — and none of that, nothing, compares to being a dad.
A pastor I like a lot, Mike Ashcraft at Port City Community Church in Wilmington, once said, “Life’s not as much about what you do as it is about who you become.”
We humans here in modern America have a lot of crap to wade through. Especially millennials like me. All the spectacle, chasing our dreams, living an epic life, collecting legendary stories, finding ourselves, proving ourselves, creating our legacy, whatever. And these aren’t necessarily bad ambitions in and of themselves, but we’re not the best at moderation, and we tend to let them consume us. We forget that they’re not the most important thing.
Before Jonah, I cared more about what I did than who I was, and I hurt people along the way. And until he was born, I didn’t realize just how much of my worrying was about myself, which has to be the most wasteful of all worrying. I was ridiculously self-absorbed and obsessed with what should I DO WITH MY LIFE and what will people THINK OF ME and other such nonsense.
But when Jonah was born, my brain changed. I felt it. Then and the days that followed and even now I really don’t give a damn about myself.
It’s like, Okay. This is all that actually matters.
People worry and worry about finding their purpose, as though all our purposes are supposed to be special and different and unique somehow — when really, we all have the same purpose. Well, purposes.
One: Survive in a way that’s not a total drain on others.
Two: Make the world a good place for our fellow humans to live and for the humans coming after us to inherit.
Whether you have a kid or not, that’s all that matters. That’s all that’s ever mattered.