Elsie-May has cast a spell over me. I’ve only known her a very short time, but I talk to her every day and I think about her a lot. She’s never said a word back to me.
My darling wife has noticed changes in me I’m sure of it – she knows about Elsie-May and my growing infatuation with her.
Still, my wife, a strong and independent woman – far from a Stepford wife – stays with me, and loves me more every day. She has even embraced Elsie-May in our lives, and is actually very close to her.
Elsie-May is my newborn baby. Our first child. She arrived on my birthday and she’s by far and away the best birthday present I’ll ever receive, and one I’ll be eternally grateful for.
We already have a lot to be thankful for. For starters, the pregnancy was a breeze compared to some stories you hear. No morning sickness, no major dramas, straight-forward appointments with the obstetrician and the hospital, easy.
Of course, for me, that means not much changed in the lead-up. And there it is – my casual selfishness coming to the fore.
While my wife got bigger, less comfortable, struggled to sleep, and became anxious about what was ahead of her, for me, nothing much changed. I still went to the gym, to work, to golf, to the pub if I wanted, and I still invited people over for dinner at will. Because for me, aside from having to attend a few parenting classes and making some purchases to set up the nursery, it was business as usual.
I didn’t need to monitor what I could and couldn’t eat, I didn’t require daily supplements to give another dependant person the best chance at life, I didn’t suffer from constant indigestion or a lack of sleep.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t an absentee partner. My point is that for us blokes, the real work of parenting doesn’t really start until we’ve got something to get our hands on. In the meantime, we’re merely a support act.
I knew that was all going to be knocked for six, and that my preoccupation with self was due to be almost entirely substituted for a manic passion to put someone else first.
And now that it’s upon me, it’s even better than I had anticipated. As I edged closer to the day that I actually became a dad, I thought more and more about Elsie-May and what she might want or need, ahead of what I do. I was happily sabotaging my own selfishness, bit by bit, as if training myself for the inevitable.