that pit in my stomach

Dear Parker

When we started the adoption process, I'm not sure we we're prepared for all of the hoping, praying, tears, unexpected calls, calls that never came, scams, waiting, worrying, more tears, wishful thinking, anxiety, paperwork, social worker visits, more tears, nervous conversations, panic, sleepless nights, research, FBI background checks, thumbprints, insecurities and fears. Monkey, it was all worth it (and forgotten) the day you were born and we became Dad and Papa.

I remember the day we took you home from the hospital, and I had to get you into the car seat for the first time. Your birth parents, your Dad, the nurse and other hospital staff were watching. You were crying, no screaming hysterically. And, I had no idea how the seat belts on your new car seat were supposed to work. In that moment, you were 7 pounds, 12 ounces of frightening cuteness. 

I couldn’t think, my stomach was in knots, it was hard to breathe, and my normal cognitive skills wouldn’t work. It was a pit in my stomach like nothing I’ve felt before. “They are going to think you aren’t a good Papa,” was all that I kept thinking to myself in that moment. We figured you were hungry, but I told your dad, “Just get outta here! We can pull over outside of the hospital.” I didn’t want anyone changing their mind or deciding we were unfit.

That pit has never left. I’m keenly aware of it’s existence, and I’m afraid it’s going to be a chronic reminder that I now officially hold the title of papa (a job I never thought would be possible for me). It’s an all-consuming and overwhelming feeling. Is he breathing? Am I engaging him enough? Is he developing at the right pace? Is he eating enough? Why’s he crying? He won’t make eye contact, does he hate me? Will he have good manners? Should we put him into modeling? Is he going to be good at sports? What the heck is that rash? 

While you are the reason for this constant discomfort, I hope you know that I’ll never blame you for said pit. I just need you to know it may impact you from time to time. And, I’m sorry to say, it may embarrass you once or twice. I also need you to know that it is a welcomed feeling, and I am so grateful that it is there.

I (we) have gained a little confidence since that day we brought you home from the hospital (I think). We’ve officially decided that I will be #SAHP (stay-at-home Papa) and your dad will continue to work full time. And, the pit is stronger than ever. You see, this wasn’t supposed to be me. Your dad is #SAHD material. He’s superbly stylish, exhaustingly organized, wicked creative, insanely confident and remarkably social. I’m simply the other child in his life. He’s constantly picking up after us, making our doctor’s appointments and helping us know which shoes go with what outfit. Now, I have to plan out your meals, find imaginative ways to simulate your growth and development, help you develop social skills (of which I have none), and make sure you grow up to be the silly, happy, sweet and wonderful human being that I see in front of me. I want to say good luck, baby boy. I’ll try my best to not eff it up. Yep, there’s that pit.

Before I start this journey as a writer and we start this blog (Dad&Papa), I want to address you directly. I want you to know how much you are loved and adored. We’re going to write this blog, because it’s our way of processing through this life change. I never dreamed as a young gay kid that I would ever realize my dream of being your Papa, much less have the opportunity to stay at home with you. So, while I may disclose glimpses of our life together (and perhaps some embarrassing moments), I promise you that I will do my best to make you proud of this blog. I don’t want you resenting us later in life. There’s that pit again.

Here are a couple of promises that I make to you:

  • I’m going to be open and transparent about life as the #SAHP, but I’ll be cognizant of over-sharing. For example, I might talk about the decision to circumcise your son. Sorry buddy, it’s an uncomfortable topic. But, I’ll try to do it in a way that respects your privacy. I’ll pay for your therapy if I disclose anything that causes you to spend some time on the couch.

  • I’ll try to live up to the exceptionally high standards set by some of my role models. I’m going to share lots of stories about your grandparents, your Dad, your Grounded Angels, and other families that are doing their best to make this world a better place. There’s so much good in this world. That’s what I want to share through this blog. 

  • I’ll use my writing to capture the life lessons that I hope you carry with you and share honest stories about where I fall short. I want you to grow from my mistakes. It’s not my intent to be preachy, all-knowing, or exploitative. Writing is just my own form of therapy.

  • I promise to fight (every day) against that pit in my stomach to be the kind of Papa you deserve!

Now, I realize you’re going to read this someday (maybe). I hope you are proud of your Dad and Papa. You’ve captured our hearts, and this is just our way of sharing that love. So, let the fun begin!

One last note. To your Dad (and the best thing that has ever happened to me): thank you for everything that you are sacrificing to give Parker and I this time together. I will try my best to be productive while he naps, keep the house from falling apart, and organize play dates with strangers that we meet at music class. Excuse me while I suppress that pit in my stomach yet again.