Well, this is it. Your mom, your grandmothers, everyone else who can hardly wait for tomorrow, have gone to bed. For the next few minutes it's just you and me.
It's been a weird day. Kind of like Christmas Eve would be if you knew that your presents would be wrapped in blood and have to be opened with knives. Exciting, terrifying, and slightly nauseating. I can't tell you how many times someone used the phrase 'last day of freedom' today. It's like they're seeing you off to prison and then following it up with the word 'congratulations'.
I won't lie to you. I still have mixed feelings about the whole deal. Sometimes I look around at the nursery and the baby gear and it seems like it's been here so long I can't remember what it was like without it or why I would ever have been afraid of it. And other times I feel like I've wandered into someone else's house, someone else's life. I still worry about how things will change, that your mom and I will feel less like two people in love and more like two people running a business. Scheduling, maintaining, picking up, dropping off, putting out fires, and simply being thankful for every day that the whole enterprise doesn't go under. By the time you read this, I'm sure the idea that we could ever have been anything other than the people you've smiled at, babbled to, and crapped on will seem ridiculous. But you didn't know us way back when. We were a good time duo. Swear. And I guess the fact that that might seem funny or impossible to you while being a memory to me is what scares me more than any mountain of diapers.
Nine months ago, when I found out about you two it was obvious that my life was going to change. And if I momentarily brushed this idea aside there's been no shortage of people willing to remind me. 'Just wait', followed by an evil laugh and a shake of the head seems to be one of the natural reaction of fathers faced with someone about join their ranks. And so the question that you and I have endeavored to answer in that time is just how much I could change before everything else did. How much life and making up for lost time I could pack into the days, weeks, and months that it's taken you to go from my DNA to my daughters. Could I be a novelist, a white Spud Webb, a Frenchman even?
Like most things, the answer is mixed. I managed to write a screenplay and turn it in. It will need work, but it's on the right track. I touched the bottom of Spud territory, I just couldn't carry anything up there with me. And if I were lost in France and only needed to ask about horses or airplanes, I'd probably be fine.
I guess, for me, it comes down to this: what I did or didn't do is really beside the point.
As much as I wanted to flip a switch and suddenly be capable of all sorts of things I'd never done before, there was no switch to be flipped. What progress I made was slow and deliberate. I didn't suddenly become this other person. Whatever my successes, whatever my failures, I'm still just me, the same idiot I've gotten to know all these years. The one who writes well sometimes and poorly others, who can't jump very high, and who thinks the idea that nouns and verbs have gender is ridiculous. All this time I've worried that acquiring you two would force me to lose some part of myself. But I'm not so sure it works that way anymore. I've tried to take a hammer and chainsaw to myself these last nine months, and I'm still here, pretty much the way I've always been. And to me, that's kind of comforting. So while I'm sure there's a host of things that will be different after tomorrow, if the last nine months has taught me anything, it's that maybe I won't have to be one of them. I hold out hope that I can be your dad and still a person too, and that someday, if not the by first time you read this, then by the last, that you'll get to see both.
In just a few hours you'll cease to be a pair of theoretical concepts that I can write angsty letters to, and you'll become my daughters, flesh, blood, and angst of your own. I anticipate that you will greet this reality with a great deal of screaming and crying. I will probably join you. Because while I can't wait to meet you, I'll miss these little conversations. I'm anxious to say hello, but part of me hates to have to say goodbye. Maybe that's why the Hawaiians just have the same word for both.
I don't really know what happens next, and despite all the 'just wait, you'll see,' I'm not sure anyone else does either. But if I could suggest a birthday wish in your last hours before turning zero, it would be that someday you find yourselves as excited and terrified as I am at the prospect of an unknowable future and the knowledge that you'll sort it out with the incredible people you're about to meet.
p.s. To all of you who've followed along, my sincere thanks for your kind and thoughtful words throughout the months. This wasn't ever intended to be anything more than a place to park the voices in my head. I never expected anyone to find it interesting, and never imagined how friendly, articulate, and sincere those who did could be. As much as I've enjoyed the conversation and support, I always intended for the story to end here, a picture of the person I was before I became whatever I'll become tomorrow, and I think it's best to stick with that. So Still A Person will be no more. I have, however, been convinced that even in a sea of parenting blogs, there might be a place for me. So if you find yourself interested, you're welcome to come along for the next part of the story here. I make no claims about quality or content and can only hope that the phrase 'parenting blog' will feel like an loose fit at best. But if this is where you get off, I want to say thanks again, and let you know that it's been a better ride for having had you along.