On being a new dad

by Mike on January 9, 2012 · 4 comments

There’s no arguing that when you become a parent, your daily life changes.  But how much do you change? Intrinsically, are you the same person, just living under different circumstances, or are those circumstances groundbreaking enough to change the person you are?

Max and Mike, Rehoboth Beach, DE - July 2011

I know I am different. I worry more, I sleep less, and … I’m more productive.

I’m typically a pretty simple dude. Give me a Steelers win, an afternoon playing Lord Of The Rings Risk, or a cheesesteak, and I’m golden. But since Max was born? All of the things that happen to parents, the things necessary to fulfill your responsibilities to your family, happened to me. These were non-negotiable. Now, I DVR the Sunday NFL games and fast forward to the big plays later, my recreational games usually consist of blocks (Max calls them “Ups”) and toy cars, and my wife and I are usually heating up frozen dinners or slapping together sandwiches on the fly.

SleepingI’m not saying they were easy changes. I’ve come to the realization that getting up early in the morning will always suck for an actor, nobody likes to be a worrier, and being more productive is rewarding, but stressful. The thing is, I don’t think that these changes were intrinsic changes. I think they were always there within me, just waiting to be put in motion. Parenthood was the spark.

So how have I changed? I don’t know if I can put my finger on it, but I can feel it when I hold my son, and when I kiss my wife. Every night when I get home, I look up at the night sky, do a quick survey of the stars, and then look at our home knowing that Max is asleep and Ang is waiting to catch me up on the day. I’m more thoughtful. I’m more appreciative. I’m a little more sentimental. When I play with Max, and I see him discover the world, I see it again, renewed, and for a moment, I am in touch with something deeper. Children are closer to the source. That’s just the way it is. The source of what, I don’t know. Whatever or wherever they come from. Whatever or wherever we come from. Maybe it’s grace. The older and more jaded we get, the further removed we are from it. My son is a reminder of it. He brings me closer, and that’s important, because it makes me live harder, with more urgency, with more intention, and with more appreciation.

Red Rock Canyon with MaxI’m different. I can feel it and I know it, even if I can’t put it into words. This is the me that Max knows. What about the me I was before he was here? Will he ever know that guy? I don’t know. I don’t know if he can? But that’s a subject for another time.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

collincouv January 9, 2012 at 4:13 am



Frank D'Amato January 10, 2012 at 5:40 am

Wow, Mike, that is indeed profoundly beautiful. Thank you for putting for so eloquently putting to words a simply beautiful message.


Ron January 10, 2012 at 6:49 am

Speechless! Awesome post.


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