Watch this and then we will talk, I will still be here.
I saw this commercial twice this morning while Shannon was sleeping on the couch. I wish I could say it was during “Meet the Press” but I was watching “9 by Design.” Whatever. Anyway, I started crying during this, which is ridiculous on several thousand levels, but I did cry, and it was out of joy. How did I get here?
When I was a freshman in college I fell in love for the first time. Like most things I initially experience, it was really intense for me. Being 18 and an idiot about almost everything except for drawing, calculus and mid-90’s indie rock, I thought this was the woman I would marry and have 4 children with. Almost immediately after I convinced myself of this, we broke up. I decided I may never marry and I didn’t want to have kids.
In graduate school (the first time), I was playing cards in the studio with my friends Matt and Krista. Maybe I should have been making something instead, but our card playing conversations were often better than any of the critiques. Krista and I both mentioned we were NEVER having children. We would have to be some kind of assholes to bring kids into this world. Matt yelled at both of us, “You two are exactly the people who SHOULD be having children otherwise the whole world will be filled with idiots.” We both scoffed. (Side note: Krista had a beautiful baby girl a couple months back, so shows what we knew.)
At this time, I met Shannon. After a false start of sorts (my fault), we fell in love. It was excellent and I still didn’t want any kids, but I knew Shannon did. Why wouldn’t she? She was nice, caring, loving, smart and patient. These are good things to pass along to another human. I was convinced I would ruin another human being. This is also around the time I decided to spend time with doctors whose entire expertise, as far as I can tell, is talking. I was not in the best frame of mind.
Little by little I softened on the idea. At the same time, Shannon moved subtly away from feeling like she needed to have children. My position changed, believe it or not, because of all Patton Oswalt, a comedian of all people. I had read somewhere that he had given a graduation speech to his old high school, which I loved and made me cry like I was listening to a National album. Then I read this interview with him on the av club. I will draw your attention to this specific paragraph:
“Not to bring up Dana Gould again, but he once said, “I’m not saying that everyone has to have kids, but why wouldn’t you have as many fucking experiences as you can?” Yes, fucking do LSD and go wander Barcelona. But also, why not get married and have kids? Because that’s a whole other crazy fucking experience. Why wouldn’t you have every possible experience that you can in life? And by the way, then your kids can go to college and then you can start experimenting with drugs as an old man, which is what people think is cute. So I have nothing but fun ahead of me. ”
Why not have as many experiences as you can? I never wanted to live my life in fear, but here I was doing that very thing. I was fearful of being a terrible parent and letting that fear keep me from an experience. Now we don’t have the baby yet, so maybe I will change my tune once I am sleep deprived and trying to comprehend Deleuze and Guattari or a late night episode of Malcolm in the Middle, but up to this point, this experience has been very cool. I have seen my wife glow. I have heard a new heart beat. I have felt the subtle and not so subtle movements of our new child inside her growing belly. It has been awesome and awe inspiring and I would say I feel joy being able to experience it, except ‘joy’ doesn’t cover it. To quote my friend Aaron, “It’s a wild scene.”
That’s how I end up crying at commercials on a Sunday morning. Kid, your old man is a softy. You heard it here first.
Here are some pictures of Shannon as the pregnancy has advanced. Lovelier all the time.