Both my wife and I are scheduled for induction today (finally!) and a growing revelation has surfaced as we approach the terrifying world of parenting; I’m quickly realizing hypocrisy is the hallmark of parenting. The phrase ‘do as I say and not as I do’ dribbles through the lips of every parent and we are no exception. Preceding our baby’s arrival, my wife and I have subsisted almost entirely off fast food as we languish at home watching hours of mindless television. I’m prone to
occasional rampant cursing and maturity has never been my strong suit, but this will all change in less than forty eight hours.
In forty eight hours a man with far more vice than value will embark on the world of parenting with clear and evident knowledge that his entire life as a father will be a complete and total lie. Granted, I’ve never done hardcore drugs, have an excellent academic record, and I’ve never been convicted of any felony, but when my future daughter confronts me about my behavior, l’ll lie like hell.
“Daddy, did you eat all your vegetables.”
“Of course honey, vegetables are delicious.”
“Daddy, did you ever swear.”
“Of course not honey, daddy is a perfect angel who would never curse.”
“Daddy, I thought angels only lived in heaven.”
“Adeline, shut up and eat your vegetables.”
This is how most conversations with our future daughter Adeline will proceed as I continue forward with the farce of fatherhood. We’ve already begun living this farce. Several days ago we sat down at the table and had a nice family meal.
We never do this. Outside of parties our dinner table is never used. We eat so many meals under the glow of our television it has classically conditioned me to salivate whenever the jingle to our favorite programs ring through my ears. Pavlov would be proud.
That day each of us sat slightly taller under the heavy pile of dust underneath our chairs as we pretended to enjoy the meal while sneaking glances at our television. It was a delicious meal completely overpowered by the distaste of unfamiliar territory. I couldn’t help but wonder about future meals.
Will the family dinner ever taste normal? Will we gravitate back to our television? The answers to these two simple questions have profound implications guiding the rest of our lives as parents, but I’m not concerned. When it comes to changing your life parenting is more powerful than Lent, New Years, and any other force on earth.
All of these forces are momentary ideals with expected conclusions, but parenting is forever. The answers to expected outcomes of simple questions have plagued me for several weeks as we continued to wait for our baby’s arrival. They continue to plague me now, but the answer to one of these questions will be quickly answered in less than forty eight hours when we have our first sit down meal as a real family.