It is an impossible task to describe what being a parent is like. That doesn’t stop me from trying though.
Yesterday, on a flight back home from a trip to Las Vegas, it occurred to me how different my life is now that I’m a father.
Once you become a parent, every time your plane jostles, you freak out. You suck your breath in. You hold on tighter, as if that will somehow keep you safer, in your flying tube, 35,000 feet up.
Every time there’s a sudden shift, you take stock. The extra life insurance you wanted to look into but completely forgot about? You remember it now. Your will that you know you should write but haven’t yet? You kick yourself for it.
It’s not that things didn’t matter to me before. It’s not that I don’t care about Erin. I have the utmost confidence Erin would be fine. In fact, I also know that she’d be fine raising Declan by herself.
But she shouldn’t have to. That’s what keeps me up at night.
That’s what makes me uncomfortable flying. The uncertainty, the lack of control, and the fear. The fear that I’ll leave them alone, bewildered, and with a pile of new problems. A mountain of messes to clean up that they didn’t make, and they don’t deserve.
That’s what being a parent is like. At least, that’s what it’s like on a turbulent flight across the country, in an eery grey fog, with everything you care about in the world on the planet thousands of feet below you.