Posted by: Andy | March 26, 2009

having children changed me

No, not giving birth, because Jen did all the work there, but the metaphor & posession part of “having”.

[Warning: May contain mush and cheese.  Viewers may not want to have full stomachs.]

So right, “duh” right? It changes everyone. This I know, but some of the changes are more interesting, from an internal perspective, than others.

When each of my sons were born, there was a noticeable “cracking” of something internal.  I’d like to think it’s my “reservoir of love” (cheesy as fuck I know, but roll with me here crowning crowd) growing – I never thought I’d have enough to love my family as much as I do.  OK that sounds weird, but I’ll elaborate a little if you can hold your stomachs:

I love my wife more every day.  Seriously.  No BS.  Each day we continue to survive ( 😉 ) together the bonds binding me to her grow thicker and tighter.  Every so often I’m like “Seriously?  I can love anyone this much?  How is there room in my heart?”  – and that has continued for years.

Then Z came and I was like “Wow, there’s room to love him immensely as well.”  Truthfully I was kind of surprised, because I’m not sure how that all fits in here.  And now with M…even more.  I look at them and sometimes it’s like I’m exploding; it’s hard to focus on it without being overwhelmed.

Something like an actualization of the old alchemical/Biblical metaphor of the “refiner’s fire”.

As a side effect of that I suspect, I’m much more prone to emotional response in general. This one is a bit more visible as I know Jen has commented on it as well.  I’m much more susceptible to stupid cheese moments with children in movies/tv. NO that doesn’t mean I’ll watch them on purpose, but if I happen to accidentally catch the death/harm/kidnapping/etc. of a child on something I’m more likely to be visibly affected.  This is kind of annoying at times, as most of the tripe really isn’t worth the emotional output.  But you know what – I’m ok with it. No need to be trapped in outdated 50s masculinity metaphors – I can cry and still kick your fucking ass if need be.  Maybe even while I’m crying.  But I’ll also be laughing at you.

What else?

Well, I have more patience that I would have thought humanly possible 10 years ago.  Things that I know would have drove me crazy years ago now just roll off (lack of sleep, son smashing your groin over and over and over and over, kids’ toy & general messes,  lack of free time, various marital scuffles, etc.).  Not to say I don’t get annoyed or bitchy – because the stress level has ratcheted up pretty damn high as well, but I can notice the difference internally at least.

My pain tolerance seems to have gone up as well, but I suspect that’s a side effect of the patience – or maybe just repeated injury.

I can sleep in stranger places.  Chairs, weird angles on couches.  Floors (true – sometimes I have to lay down on the floor next to Z’s crib to get him to go to sleep & I have to be careful not to get stuck in there for more than a few minutes or I’m likely to be gone as well).  When I catch myself falling asleep mid-word while reading to Z  I have to crack up a little.

Mostly it’s the love that amazes me though.  What will 3 or 4 children be like?  Equally incomprehensible I suspect.  Maybe we’ll find out.



  1. I love it.
    Of course, I could share stories about Joshie crying during Corrina, Corrina (though that has much more to do with his own childhood…) but instead of playfully tease him, I’ll just recount the evening after Ezzie and I came home from the hospital when I held him up in front of me while he slept. For well over an hour. Just staring at him. This unfortunately was a tad despairing too because I knew something that beautiful to me was going to make me maniacally protective.
    But I remember when I started to wonder, where is that ridiculous love everyone talks about? I’ve been conscious of Ezzie’s existence longer than anyone else and I don’t feel that stupid, “I can barely get through my day, I love you so much”. But then I remember the first time I was scared for him and how you know in your mind, “I don’t actually want to die” but you have zero choice in the matter. If a decision needs to be made, you would suffer through the worst pain imaginable to keep them from hurting. I remember the night he woke up crying and I realized (worse than Josh did, it seemed) that the idea that he had been scared, that there was nothing I could do about those moments that had already passed, that feeling of hopelessness he’d had before I got there – I cried. Actually.
    Maybe I shoulda written a response entry instead…

    • No reason you can’t respond & response. 🙂 I know I know, not a proper verb. Don’t care!

      The individual instances of over-protectiveness/love/fear pile up daily. Mostly at random moments. Z going over to the corner like he’s in trouble for no reason. M ripping out a huge adult chug-a-chug fart. Z holding M’s hand, or poking at his stomach. Jen sleeping, or holding one of them.

      Deserving a special place in the ranks of parental pain/guilt/failure is Z’s fall down the stairs – which nearly broke me by showing me just the edge of what it would be like to lose him. Yes, I was internally over-reacting – but I really had no idea how durable babies are. Still, the visual was so troubling that I doubt I could have reacted less even knowing what I know.

  2. PS. Everyone I know knows that it takes me forever to fall asleep and that I have to be comfortable to do so. Night Ezra was born and they told me to sleep when he sleeps because he was a small baby and had to be fed more than often? In the middle of my trying to explain the kind of high maintenance sleeper I was… I fell asleep. Guess childbirth was a touch more tiring than I’d thought!

  3. *blinks*
    (fights against adding *back tears* to that first part because I am not a pansy!)
    Nevermind- here’s some mush of my own: I can’t believe you still have some love for me in that reservoir of yours because I have been a scary megabitch lately. But I’m glad that you do. Life is good. 🙂
    And re: overprotectiveness, etc- every night I go to sleep worrying about Z and Mad’s safety. Every single night. It freaks me out to think of anything happening to them, and it also freaks me out to think that there’s literally nothing I wouldn’t do to keep them safe.

    • I do, always. And life is pretty, damn good. Weather aside :).

      It’s funny. The boys’ snores are the ONLY snores in the world that can actually relax me. I mean, it can be really annoying at the same time BUT…but the other night I was sleeping on the couch with M & I could hear Z snoring from his room and it was very comforting to just have that access to both of them and knowing they were both OK at the same time.

  4. Oh, and I love you too 🙂


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