It was late when I clicked the button on the side of my cell phone to check the time.
With an allen wrench in my hand, and crib in pieces, I stood in the middle of a room reserved for a baby boy scheduled to arrive in a few months. I looked at the pieces I was preparing to assemble and the dresser I just finished.
And then I froze.
It’s really happening. I am about to become a father.
There are moments along the way that help the realization sink in. There was the moment I first found out my wife, Tenille, was pregnant. I was standing just outside Washington’s locker room. The Huskies had just won their season opener. And, when coach Chris Petersen passed, I wonder if he noticed my ear-to-ear grin.
There was the moment we first heard the baby’s heartbeat and the day each finger and every toe was counted on the ultrasound.
A process that started in Seattle now continues in South Florida. Each day draws closer to the new arrival. For weeks, there have been other things to keep our attention – a cross-country drive, closing on our house, moving in and personalizing our home.
But now that we’re some semblance of settled, reality hit me like a wave. With each turn of that wrench, as the crib came together, I thought about all the firsts, all the little things you need to know and everything you can’t understand until you’re responsible for a child.
It would be easy to panic. Three weeks into our new life in the sun, I don’t have a job. I’ve started the process, but it takes time. I’m confident I will sort that out soon enough, but right now, I’ve started thinking about becoming a parent. I held my siblings when they were babies. I’ve changed a diaper or two. But now I’m the parent. I’m responsible for every diaper, ensuring he gets everything he needs and learns the lessons that will help him become toward a happy, and healthy life.
Will I be a good father? Will I know what to say? How to act and react?
I asked myself each of those questions as I attached the base of the crib and, when it was finished, I’m not so sure I had any answers. But I’m excited to find out.
Petersen once told me that, “no job is more important” than being a father.
“You want to change things,” he said. “You want to change the world, be a great dad, be a great husband.”
So that’s the goal. That’s what I’m working toward. And I supposed part of the process is assembling furniture for the nursery, no matter how frustrating it is to use an allen wrench.