This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.
It was a rough day all around.
Work was tough for both me and MJ. She got out before me and went to pick up Will at my mother-in-law’s house. Then, when she got back to our place, she was greeted with doggie chaos. One of the puppies must be sick because the house was COVERED in dog crap, piss and possibly puke. It necessitated an entire mopping of the hardwood floor in the living room and MJ had to get on her hands and knees to scrub out the pee and runny poop stains on the bedroom carpet.
I offered to come right home after work but she told me she wanted me to go to the gym, so I did. Then I was hoping to get in a 6-mile run, but MJ needed a prescription picked up at the CVS across the bridge in Buzzards Bay. So I offered to get it, but then she told me I needed to pick up the FSA card (some bank acronym I’m not familiar with, but it involves pre-tax dollars set aside for medication and it’s on a specific card). So I told her I would stop in at home, pick up the card, go for a run while she called in the prescription and then pick it up at CVS after I was done running.
No sooner was I about to start my run when my phone rang. It was MJ on the verge of tears. She had been taking Will out for a walk because he’s extraordinarily fussy, and when she tried to get back in the house Fenway escaped. MJ didn’t even have time to turn around before that crazy Dalmatian was out of sight and long gone. So I hopped back in the car (extremely pissed off at this point) and drove back home to start looking for Fenway. I walked all around the complex, through the woods but to no avail.
Luckily my phone rang and a very nice guy called me to tell me he found Fenway about a mile away. She had to cross a main road to get where she was and she could’ve easily been hit by a car. It took everything in me to stop from screaming at MJ for being careless, but I managed.
Of course I get back home with the dog and Will is still screaming his bloody face off. It’s humid out and the poor guy is so hot, so MJ suggested a bath. Except…she wanted me to give it to him.
Giving Will a bath is the only thing I’m still afraid of. I’ve conquered my fear of holding him without hurting him, changing filthy diapers, operating the stroller, feeding him and dressing him. But a bath? With water he can drown in? And no diaper which means he could let loose at any time? It was a little too much for me.
But I sucked it up and faced my fear. And yes, I’m fully aware that I’m a 28-year-old grown man and I have no business fearing a 15-pound infant, but that’s the way it is so shut up! And while I was there, I figured I was hot too so I jumped in with him. Dad and son, taking a bath…
At first we were both a little nervous and still feeling each other out. I didn’t really know what to do and he didn’t know what to make of the situation. MJ left us even though I begged her to stay. There was a lot of initial kicking and me trying to hold onto him, deathly afraid of his head slipping underwater. It was a little awkward. But then, the coolest thing happened…
I stopped gripping him for dear life and he stopped kicking like a madman. We both locked eyes and kind of stared each other down for a few seconds. Then I ran my hand and some water over his chest and he cooed. He returned the favor with a slight smile and just continued staring at me. I smiled back and all of a sudden he broke into this sh*t eating grin, as if to say “See dad? This is what it’s all about. And you were afraid of this??”
Then I sang a made up song about Daddy and Will splashing in the tub and he ate it up. I’ll never be a rockstar in front of 100,000 screaming fans, but for a few minutes today I was a dad who was at the center of my son’s universe. I wouldn’t trade the latter for anything in the world.