I realized how much I’d changed in the nine months since my daughter’s birth just the other day. Down on the carpet in the living room, on a carpet covered with toys, I noticed a nick in the leg of the coffee table. A weak, far away feeling struggled to the surface: dammit! the coffee table! And then it faded. Looking at my smiling daughter and the catastrophic mess that has become our home, I quickly accepted a simple fact of parenthood. I will never, ever have order, cleanliness or nice things. Ever.
And I’m cool with that.
But it doesn’t come easy. There’s the kitchen that somehow gets filthy in a heartbeat, but takes entire weeks to clean. When it’s a matter of keeping the cabinet stocked with baby food and supplies, and keeping said baby clean and fed, well, there’s just not that much time left in the day for housecleaning. (Sounds like a cop out, I know, but really, where do the hours go?)
Obviously, there’s a part of me that wants to impose order, to make sure that the coffee table never has drool smeared on it, and the carpet is free of wet pieces of paper I had to fish out of my daughter’s mouth. And I wish that I could sometimes put on a coat that didn’t have baby socks in the pockets. And I wish I had gone for more than just one run in two months. But hey, I’m a Dad, and I love my kid more than order, cleanliness or nice things. And in a weird way, realizing that fact caught me by surprise. Wait, I really am cool with all this nice grownup stuff I’ve collected getting damaged in the transition to familyhood? Yes. One hundred million times yes.
So we’re those people now. And we may never have the energy to restore order. And as long as my daughter keeps smiling, laughing and impressing the pediatrician with her progress, I’m a happy man.