For nine months leading up to the birth of our first child, I obsessed over the unknown. Who will he look like? Will he inherit his mother’s kindness? Will he inherit my insecurity, and if he does, will I be able to help him handle it? Am I really cut out to be someone’s dad?
Witnessing my son’s birth was like being grabbed by an invisible hand before carelessly walking into a busy intersection. Pay attention. Keep your eyes up. You matter. The moment I laid eyes on Gabe and heard his first cries, I knew my purpose in life. I started looking both ways.
The second pregnancy was different. I didn’t obsess over it. I knew how to be a dad. I knew the struggles and the rewards. It was more operational. That worried me.
People love a leap of faith, but mostly retroactively. Arriving at the hospital Tuesday morning, hoping to feel an equally strong connection with our second child after a relatively melancholy pregnancy made me nervous. When Gabe was born, I cried my eyes out. Sitting next to my wife in the delivery room, I hoped our second child would generate the same response. Anything less would seem unfair to him.
At 12:07 p.m. I heard Cooper’s first cries. It didn’t hit me the way it did with Gabe. It was different.
There were tears of joy when I met Cooper, but like everything in my life, they were more controlled than when Gabe was born. I no longer walk carelessly into traffic. I am a better man, confident in my ability to raise these boys to one day be good men.
When the nurse wrapped Cooper in a blanket and handed him to me, his crying began to calm as I softly whispered, “It’s going to be OK. Daddy’s got you.” And with those words, calmness washed over me as well.
I love being a dad. I love leaps of faith. And I am absolutely in love with Cooper Lee Friis.