AmIJonah
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AmIJonah

Tomorrow is Coming

Tomorrow is coming.

Because I’m annoyingly optimistic about everything, the concept of “tomorrow” usually is a positive thing in my rose-tinted brain. Tomorrow is supposed to bring up something new, something exciting, something fun. Tomorrow is the start of something, not the end of anything. Tomorrow adds to the story and would never dare to close the chapter.

The problem I now face is that tomorrow is day that my girl takes herself and a crate full of shoes to college. I’ve known that tomorrow has been coming for some time now, but I have completely disavowed its existence. Heck, I think I even deleted it from our shared family Google calendar. Tomorrow has been coming for 18 years now — a fact that should have been exceedingly obvious for me when her first spoken words were “I do it MY”. The futility of voluntary fatherly ignorance has never reached greater depth in the sand, but I guess all parents dread this tomorrow.

Two days after she was born, I remember us leaving the Greensboro Women’s Hospital. I got in and closed my car door, Shannon closed her car door, and then the nurse who made one last check that we had actually managed to install the car seat correctly closed the rear door. First time ever I remember having a third door close on my car, and man did that door have an echo. In my head, the movie sound track of that door closing would be a E minor chord so low on the keyboard that pianist might not be able to reach the sustain pedal. That door closed and all I could think of was “WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY DOING LETTING ME DRIVE AWAY WITH A CHILD I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING”.

Tomorrow, once we leave NC State, only two car doors will close. Cue the same chord played 18 years ago.

I know only as much as any father can know about the pain of childbirth. Yet the passage of a child leaving the safety of a womb to existence of life on its own feels a whole lot like the pain of now passing along the optimism of tomorrow to her. For Jensen, tomorrow is a day she’s been looking forward to for years. Tomorrow is new, exciting, and the start of everything for her. Even with all that is unknown, she can not wait for tomorrow. That’s the optimism that I usually embody — and now it is outside my body. That’s the ironic plot twist in this parenthood story. If I cherish my optimism so much, can I handle it when it passes me on the journey?

Parenting (at least as far as we understand it) is task of preparing them for the day they don’t need you. Parenting is about working yourself out of your job. The fear that i wasn’t as good at my job as I could have been combine with my desire that she would always be that five year old kid who wore Veggie Tales overalls and make me think that she’s not ready.

Too late — tomorrow is here.

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These offerings are here to provide comfort for the bothered, and bother the comfortable — it’s what little brothers do.

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Hal Atkins

Hal Atkins

Living in Fuquay-Varina, married to my best friend.

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