It’s been two and a half months since our daughter was born and this is the first I’m writing about it here. I’d say it’s by design, but that’s not the case. I haven’t written about it here because I haven’t had the words, honestly. That’s the thing they don’t tell you about new parenthood- not only do you not know what you’re doing, really, but you also don’t have the vocabulary to accurately describe the insane range of the things you are feeling so deep inside you. They don’t tell you about that lack of vocabulary because they know it’ll be lost on you, that you couldn’t possibly comprehend it before you experience it.
The last two-plus months have been the most uniquely complex and deeply hard experience I’ve ever been through, and I know it’s all just starting. It’s been all the things I could have ever hoped for, a few I was hoping the books I skimmed and that class we took were wrong about, a whole lot I couldn’t have ever imagined, and a large number that I thought were really memorable at the time but have since been eaten by the blur that is keeping a small human being alive in its earliest days. It’s been everything, all at once, every day, turned up to 11.
I was prepared to love a small, new human being, but I wasn’t prepared for how overwhelming that love would feel from the first moment I laid eyes on her. I was prepared to help my wife out as much as possible, to provide as much love and support as I could muster and change as many diapers as our little girl would run through, but I wasn’t prepared for just how much our love has grown since we became parents, how much closer we’ve gotten, how much we’ve learned about each other, and how damn much I admire her every single day for everything she does- without any hesitation, ever- in service to our daughter. I was prepared, I thought, to be a dad (I was VERY READY to tell Dad Jokes, you guys), but I wasn’t prepared for the flood of feelings being in that role begets, for the crushing, overwhelming feeling of responsibility at every moment or for how hard it is to cope with the feeling that you haven’t lived up to your own expectations of yourself in that role that day.
I was prepared for the good stuff, and even some of the bad (I mean, you have to go in knowing you are going to get pooped on), but I wasn’t prepared for the fact the good and the bad were sometimes separated only by a few seconds or, really, sometimes were the same thing. And I damn sure wasn’t prepared for the number of times my brain knew logically, and without any doubt, that something wasn’t my fault or wasn’t in my control but my heart said otherwise. It’s been the hardest and best few months of my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
So, how does this playlist below play into it? These songs all sound like fall to me, sure, but a lot of these are the tunes that got me through, ones that will forever be tied to this thing that has totally changed my life and marriage. I remember driving home the morning after our daughter was born, calling my best friend to talk about the whole experience, and then putting on ‘Strangest Thing’ for the first time and crying as it all hit me. I remember my trip back to the hospital that day being soundtracked by ‘Motion Sickness’ almost exclusively. I remember my wife not listening to much music at all for the first month or so but how she got back from her first solo trip out and let me know she just listened to ‘Universal Sound’ on repeat. I remember ‘When the Wall Comes Down’ showing up the week after I went back to work and becoming the only thing I listened to on my commute for about a week. And I remember listening through that new album by The National for the first time and how after finishing ‘Dark Side of the Gym’ I knew a) I wasn’t prepared to listen to that album again anytime soon and b) my wife for sure wasn’t prepared to listen to that album anytime soon.
These songs have been along for the ride the last few months, some showing up before the baby did, some showing up recently, but all of them adding a little bit more to the story. I tried numerous times to put them into some order, to make a regular mix, but I learned over and over that it was impossible. So, this season, and maybe going forward, you get a smattering of songs that sound like the season in no particular order. A playlist, not a mix. Put it on shuffle, skip around, listen straight through- it doesn’t matter, I don’t think, because they all sound like golden hours, afternoon pots of coffee and dark beer.
I’ll keep adding to the playlist throughout the season, so go ahead and follow/subscribe to it on Spotify if you’d like by clicking here. Thanks for reading, and enjoy.