Editor’s note: Brien is a well traveled Army Veteran who loves Irish History, reading, writing and sports. He provides a lot of NFL stories for the site in addition to his occasional takes on “stuff” Follow him on Twitter @ODonalsVanguard
By Brien O’Donal
Sometime this week the final phase of my youth shall pass away into the mists of time. The birth of my son will mark the moment I must officially grow up and understand I won’t be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want. The same can be said for my wife. We are both nearing 36 so you would think we passed that point a long time ago. The truth is, without a child dragging you down there’s no age you can’t be selfish. I’ve had a good run though. I’ve travelled the world, made many friends and enjoyed a ton of hobbies and entertainment. It was great while it lasted. Just recently I spent the night with some friends at a Tom Petty concert while my wife sat home catching up on her TV shows. Only a few days left for that type of behavior.
Everyone keeps asking me: “are you ready to be a father?” or “are you excited about being a daddy?” The answer to both is always a calm “I guess.” I mean really; how can anyone know what to expect just because so many others around you have done it and given you their advice? The only thing I think about is being there. It’s my offspring so I know that he’s going to learn life his own way and all I can do is explain as much as I can as he grows up. It’s hard to do anything else really.
Of course; I have in my mind an image of how it’s going to play out. First of all, he’s going to be a badass. The last ultrasound images show him sporting a full beard wearing a flannel shirt holding a bottle of whiskey with an animal carcass draped over his shoulder. He might have already gotten a tattoo of a heart with an arrow and the word “Mom” on it. All kidding aside, I’ve already done my best to get him listening to good music and liking good stories. For Christmas I bought my wife headphones to place on her belly bump. I filled the playlist full of classical and folk music and even recorded myself reading the story of Cú Chulainn (the Irish equivalent of Achilles). Hopefully all that music and literature has made him smart and cultured.
What I do know for certain: very little I have planned will actually turn out that way. I know there’s nothing I can do about it either. I’m ok with that. I feel comfortable knowing that the days of doing what I want when I want to are going to end. I will be on my son’s schedule. He will be my priority and there can be no selfishness. My time in the military has prepared me for that mentality, but this will not be a simple one year deployment. I’ve heard raising children is like fighting a war so at least I have that going for me. On the other hand; this will be an 18 year battle. Nothing prepares you for that. I’ll do my best and I think that’s all anyone can ask.
As for doing those things that keep me sane like reading, writing, and watching TV? I will have to make time for that when I can. I truly don’t know how other parents have done it and I think that’s the point. No one knows how any other parent does it. They all do it their own way. I look forward to start raising my little badass my way sometime this week. Wish me luck.