Discovering the Discovered World

I had a thought the other day that new parenthood is just like being Christopher Columbus: I have discovered a land that is new to me but otherwise fairly well settled with other people who have been there a very long time. I only think I understand the natives with their foreign customs and culture. And now I want to go tell everyone what I have found.

I am very much still a rookie to this whole parenting business, having only recently formulated the thought that this is forever and there is no going back. I don’t lament anything about the transition nor the new life, but you’d have to be a nuts or a robot to not have a “HOLY SHIT” moment wrapped within the thirtieth trip around the dining room table trying to lull a child into sleep. It’s just a natural thought bouncing forth from the wandering lucid moments of a generally unrested brain. The magnitude of the life change can’t be acknowledged otherwise, I reckon.

My office is now dominated by pictures of The Son and his haphazardly documented life in this digital world. It’s the product of suddenly mindful moments when I remember to snap a picture and send it to The Grandmothers, a service I provide them on a daily basis. (My Mother remarked on a series of daily sleeping baby pictures I sent last month saying that, while she understand the respite that comes with a sleeping baby, she would like to see her grandson with eyes open every once in a while.) I do have some other pictures in frames to break up the first child pictorial landscape, but they are being swept into the minority with every frame that I buy and every picture I print.

At two months, it has been a remarkable age to witness. I’m watching a human being discover, well, everything for the first time. Fingers. Toys. Other people who are not Mom. It’s not like I (or for that matter, anyone) has memories of that time; it’s like you get to experience it vicariously through the baby. Basic human discovery that happens at the most personal level: one’s own body. It’s pretty wild to watch up close.

But, hey, listen to me, saying things that parents ahead of me (generations upon generations) have already discovered. And probably related the same thoughts, feelings, and observations to the people around them, actual interest in conversation content be damned. I presume that’s just part of the process as I take my place with the natives of this “new” land and await the next set of new arrivals. But I’m happy to be a passenger as The Son develops and discovers the world. And eventually, I hope he’ll know what it is like to embark on a similar journey.

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